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The failure of the IMS Learning Design: Recommendations for a revised version (Sense formatted)

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Daniel Burgos
20 November 2012

The work presented in this paper summarizes the research performed in order to implement a set of Units of Learning (UoLs) focused on adaptive learning processes, using the specification IMS Learning Design (IMS-LD). Through the implementation and analysis of four learning scenarios, and one additional application case, we identify a number of constraints on the use of IMS-LD to support adaptive learning. Indeed, our work in this paper shows how IMS-LD expresses adaptation. In addition, our research presents a number of elements and features that should be improved and-or modified to achieve a better support of adaptation for learning processes. Furthermore, we point out to interoperability and authoring issues too. Finally, we use the work carried out to suggest extensions and modifications of IMS-LD with the final aim of better supporting the implementation of adaptive learning processes

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Michael Derntl
9:06am 10 December 2012


The chapter deals with adaptive learning scenarios and their support in IMS LD. The author bases the analysis methodology on a sound classification of adaptation that is embedded in literature. It is however not clear whether the 5 mentioned UoLs were modelled based on / for "real-world" courses, or whether they are hypothetical. It is also not clear how they relate to the identified 22 issues reported later, or the "further analysis" section.

The chapter dives into some quite technical issues of the IMS LD specification, so most parts of the body of the paper will be relevant only to a small audience. It could therefore be worthwhile to include somewhere at the end of the chapter a brief executive wrap-up for non-IMS LD people.

I don't quite follow item #7 on page 7, where it says that there are no communication services between teachers and learners other than properties. This may be misinterpreted, since there can be conference services set up to allow communication between those roles. Also the formatting of the issues in this section is not optimal.

In the recommendations table: I don't understand what this means: "M.07 There is no synchronization input point in the manifest". Also how the suggested GOTO would solve this with "direct guiding" (without killing the built-in end-of-act synchronization). The table would be easier to grasp if there were a concrete example for each A/M issue.

There have been other suggestions that contradict the argument in this paper, e.g. to simplify IMS LD (SLD 2.0, by the Downes group). There have also been other proposals related to adaptation support, e.g. in König & Paramythis (EC-TEL 2010). This existing work should be mentioned.

There is no discussion on what the recommended changes mean for the current state of tooling. It would probably break all tools. Is it worth it? This question is addressed in http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/TLT.2011.25, section 5.3 (sorry for the self-citing, I usually do not do that in a review :-)

The text mentions "grey-colored" columns of the tables. But there is no grey coloring. There are several hyphens where they don't belong. e.g. "Properties can be used as varia-bles, local or...", but there isn't any line break. There are also several typos / grammar errors and the formatting is sub-optimal.

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