FULL TEXT freely available at http://doc.rero.ch/record/210109
Technologies are changing the world around us, and education is not immune from its influence: the field of teaching and learning supported by the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), also known as Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL), has witnessed a huge expansion in recent years.
This wide adoption happened thanks to the massive diffusion of broadband connections and to the pervasive needs for education, highly connected to the evolution in sciences and technologies.
Therefore, it has pushed up the usage of online education (distance and blended methodologies for educational experiences) to, even in lately years, unexpected rates.
Alongside with the well known potentialities, digital-based educational tools come with a number of downsides, such as possible disengagement on the part of the learner, absence of the social pressures that normally exist in a classroom environment, difficulty or even inability from the learners to self-regulate and, last but not least, depletion of the stimulus to actively participate and cooperate with lectures and peers.
These difficulties impact the teaching process and the outcomes of the educational experience (i.e. learning process), being a serious limit and questioning the broader applicability of TEL solutions.
To overcome these issues, there is a need of tools to support the learning process.
In the literature, one of the known approach to improve the situation is to rely on a user profile, that collects data during the use of the eLearning platforms or tool. The created profile can be used to adapt the behaviour and the contents proposed to the learner. On top of this model, some researches stressed the positive effects stimulated by the disclosure of the model itself for inspection purposes by the learner. This disclosed model is known as Open Learner Model (OLM).
The idea of opening learners' profile and eventually integrate them with external on-line resources is not new and it has the ultimate goal of creating global and long-run indicators of the learner's profile.
Also the representation aspect of the learner model plays a role, moving from the more traditional approach based on the textual and analytic/extensive representation to the graphical indicators that are able to summarise and to present one or more of the model characteristics in a way that is considered more effective and natural for the user consumption.
Relying on the same learner models, and stressing the different aggregation and representation capabilities, it is possible to either support self-reflection of the learner or to foster the tutoring process to allow proper supervision by the tutor/teacher. Both the objectives can be reached through the graphical representation of the relevant information, presented in different ways.
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