Project deliverable Open Access

Defining a lingua franca for the ELIXIR/GOBLET e-learning ecosystem

Attwood, Teresa K.; Leskosek, Brane L.; Dimec, Jure; Morgan, Sarah; Mulder, Nicola; van Gelder, Celia W.G.; Palagi, Patricia M.


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    <subfield code="a">&lt;p&gt;Today, the term &lt;strong&gt;e-learning&lt;/strong&gt;&amp;nbsp;is widely used in a variety of contexts. Many of us are familiar with concepts like &lt;strong&gt;Massive Open Online Courses&lt;/strong&gt; (MOOCs), such as those provided by Coursera, Udacity, edX or MIT OpenCourseWare; &lt;strong&gt;Content&lt;/strong&gt;- or &lt;strong&gt;Learning-Management Systems&lt;/strong&gt; (CMSs, LMSs), like Moodle or Blackboard; &lt;strong&gt;Virtual Learning Environments&lt;/strong&gt; (VLEs), like EMBER; problem and tutorial portals, such as Rosalind and Train online; repositories for uploading and hosting &lt;strong&gt;Educational Resources&lt;/strong&gt; (ERs), such as that provided by GOBLET; &lt;strong&gt;ER aggregators&lt;/strong&gt; that harvest and disseminate training information, such as TeSS; and so on. Resources like these are seamlessly discussed under the umbrella term &amp;lsquo;e-learning&amp;rsquo;; however, they are heterogeneous and do not mean the same thing from user, developer, trainer or content-provider perspectives. Confusion can therefore arise if those using the term generically have not grasped each other&amp;rsquo;s specific meanings.&lt;/p&gt;

&lt;p&gt;In the context of ELIXIR, this situation came to the fore in preparations for the EXCELERATE project, whose training programme (WP11) includes an explicit e-learning subtask (11.1.3) as part of the commitment to build an ELIXIR training infrastructure. The ultimate deliverable of the subtask is to develop an ELIXIR e-learning policy and deploy e-learning platform(s) at the ELIXIR level. But what does an &amp;lsquo;&lt;em&gt;e-learning platform for ELIXIR&lt;/em&gt;&amp;rsquo; mean? Is it an instance of a &lt;strong&gt;MOOC platform&lt;/strong&gt;, a customised LMS, a bespoke VLE, an ER repository, an aggregator, or something else? Clarification of this question was important, because each of the possible answers has very different implementation and resource requirements.&lt;/p&gt;

&lt;p&gt;To try to address this question, and to facilitate communication both within ELIXIR, and between the ELIXIR and GOBLET trainer communities, an initial workshop &amp;ndash; &lt;em&gt;Defining an e-learning lingua franca&lt;/em&gt; &amp;ndash; was held in Ljubljana (SI), 15-17 September 2015. At one level, the aim was to develop an overview of some of the e-learning approaches and applications developed or used by representatives from ELIXIR, GOBLET and other organisations &amp;ndash; participants were therefore asked briefly to describe the systems they&amp;rsquo;d developed, to allow them, and their respective strengths and weaknesses, to be compared. At another level, the aim of the workshop was to try to converge on a common e-learning &amp;lsquo;language&amp;rsquo;, to help the ELIXIR and GOBLET trainer communities to communicate more coherently. To broaden the picture and gain a wider understanding of the challenges, a follow-up event was held during the GOBLET Annual General Meeting in Cape Town (ZA), 18-20 November 2015. Here, the outcomes of the first meeting were further discussed and refined.&lt;/p&gt;

&lt;p&gt;Gaining a clearer view of the current e-learning landscape, and consensus on what we collectively mean by e-learning, were the necessary first steps towards formulating appropriate e-learning strategies for ELIXIR and GOBLET, and suggesting solutions that can feasibly be implemented. In the event, the issues were more deep-rooted than we expected, and many additional discussions were needed. This paper reflects the results of those discussions and of the deliberations of the workshop participants.&lt;/p&gt;</subfield>
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