The other European project I’m involved in for CETIS is called ICOPER. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing some work improving the deliverable D2.2, mainly working with Jad Najjar. I flag it here because it uses some of the conceptual modelling work I’ve been involved in. My main direct contribution is Section 2. This starts with part of an adaptation of my diagram in a recent post here. It is adapted by removing the part on the right, for recognition, as that is of relatively minor importance to ICOPER. As ICOPER is focused on outcomes, the “desired pattern” is relabelled as “intended learning outcome or other objective”. I thought this time it would be clearer without the groupings of learning opportunity or assessment. And ICOPER is not really concerned with reflection by individuals, so that is omitted as well.
In explaining the diagram, I explain what the different colours represent. I’m still waiting for critique (or reasoned support, for that matter) of the types of thing I find so helpful in conceptual modelling (again, see previous post on this).
As I find so often, detailed thinking for any particular purpose has clarified one part of the diagram. I have introduced (and will bring back into the mainstream of my modelling) an “assessment result pattern”. I recognise that logically you cannot specify actual results as pre-requisites for opportunities, but rather patterns, such as “pass” or “at least 80%” for particular assessments. It takes a selection process (which I haven’t represented explicitly anywhere yet) to compare actual results with the required result pattern.
Overall, this section 2 of the deliverable explains quite a lot about a part of the overall conceptual model intended to be at least approximately from the point of view of ICOPER. The title of this deliverable, “Model for describing learning needs and learning opportunities taking context ontology modelling into account” was perhaps not what would have been chosen at the time of writing, but we needed to write to satisfy that title. Here, “learning needs” is understood as intended learning outcomes, which is not difficult to cover as it is central to ICOPER.
The deliverable as a whole continues with a review of MLO, the prospective European Standard on Metadata for Learning Opportunities (Advertising), to get in the “learning opportunities” aspect. Then it goes on to suggests an information model for “Learning Outcome Definitions”. This is a tricky one, as one cannot really avoid IMS RDCEO and IEEE RCD. As I’ve argued in the past, I don’t think these are really substantially more helpful than just using Dublin Core, and in a way the ICOPER work here implicitly recognises this, in that even though they still doff a cap to those two specs, most of RDCEO is “profiled” away, and instead a “knowledge / skill / competence” category is added, to square with the concepts as described in the EQF.
Perhaps the other really interesting part of the deliverable was one we put in quite a lot of joint thinking to. Jad came up with the title “Personal Achieved Learning Outcomes” (PALO), which is fine for what is intended to be covered here. What we have come up with (provisionally, it must be emphasised) is a very interesting mixture of bits that correspond to the overall conceptual model, with the addition of the kind of detail needed to turn a conceptual model into an information or data model. Again, not surprisingly, this raises some interesting questions for the overall conceptual model. How does the concept of achievement (in this deliverable) relate to the overall model’s “personal claim expression”? This “PALO” model is a good effort towards something that I haven’t personally written much about – how do you represent context in a helpful way for intended learning outcomes or competences? If you’re interested, see what you think. For most skills and competences, one can imagine several aspects of context that are really meaningful, and without which describing things would definitely lose something. Can you do it better?
I hope I’ve written enough to stimulate a few people at least to skim through that deliverable D2.2.