Formative Interfaces for Scaffolding Self-Regulated Learning in PLEs
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A Personal Learning Environment (PLE) is a software application (desktop or web-based) which allows students to organise learning resources and publish individual outcomes. Although PLEs are built for bottom-up personal use, they involve communication and increasingly social tools, promoting networked learning scenarios. Knowledge management, syndicating resources, trustworthiness and assessment on the assemblage of resources are actual research issues related to the improvement of PLEs.
Without a pedagogical value-add, PLEs cannot be viewed as educational tools, but perhaps advanced, user-friendly file management tools. Therefore, how can such a user-centric tool influence the study process so that meaningful and constructive activities are committed more often than rudimentary informal learning? In other words, how can self-regulation be scaffolded by a PLE? Based on research that points out the role of scaffolding in activating higher order learning competencies it is theorised in this paper that these competencies can be performed even by young users.
iClass is an integrated project which is partially funded by the 6th Framework Programme for Research and Technology Development of the European Commission. Although it started off to develop a user-centric intelligent tutoring platform, the educational vision of the project was updated during the third year and bringing support for self-regulated personalisation on mainstream virtual learning environments became the objective.
In this paper, formative features of the visual interface of the iClass Web-based RIA will be explained as signifiers of typical regulatory structures. Semiotic principles underlying each signification will be described and the role of visualisation in operant conditioning and empowerment will be discussed.