Software agents support for personalised learning:Negotiating and e-contracting with multiple providers

UoM administered thesis: Phd

  • Authors:
  • Godwill Imbonzugah Vegah


AbstractE-learning is increasingly adopted to support face-to-face classroom-based learning orimplemented as a complete standalone learning system. It's inherent adaptable natureand ability to provide learning anywhere, everywhere and anytime makes it a versatiletool for access to basic, professional and higher education.This research proposes and develops an adaptable e-learning approach, focusing on thelearner's requirement specification and negotiation of course with multiple providers toimprove online learning. This addresses issues of inflexible learning model, narrowcoverage of subject domains in existing systems and ineffective use of educationalresources, using design research methodology (DRM).The proposed Intelligent Learning approach provides learning support by applyingcollaborative and deliberative capabilities of software agents to e-learning systems.Designated learning support agents negotiate with providers on behalf of the learner forcourses, matching specified requirements. This is achieved through agent negotiationstrategies, devising dynamic learning plans (DPLAN) and online learning contract (or EContract)between the system and a range of providers, to harness the changing needsof the learner, hence, providing an Adaptive Agent Learner Plan (ADALP) approach. Itdevelops and applies a "Basic Requirements Learning" model, addressing specificlearning objectives, supported by a two way evaluation process that enforces learningflexibility, empowering learners and accommodating a wide spectrum of learning needs.Unlike traditional Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS), learning objectives are not fixedand are constituted dynamically from learner specifications. The ADALP approachprovides multiple provider support options, generating learner feedback for goaloriented, but flexible learning. This deviates from the traditional "top-down" approach,where instructors and designers create fixed models of different categories of learnersand their needs.The prototype of multi-agent system (MAS) demonstrates contributions of the approach,applying Multi-issue-Negotiation and Contracting Courses with Multiple Providers;devising dynamic personalised learning plans and learning commitment (or e-contracts)between learners and providers. It implements designated agents which generate tasksand sub-tasks corresponding to the learners' goals and objectives; "biding" for learningand tutoring resources from multiple providers to deliver on the derived tasks.Personalised learning plan aligned with online learning contract is generated for eachlearner based on the specified requirements and learning goals, as a result. It is arguedthat the ADALP approach empowers learners and improves on similar approaches, incomparison to existing adaptive learning systems.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date1 Aug 2012