Online learning is an emerging paradigm. Having gained success in the wake of social networking and video sharing tools, it is inherently dependent on an e-learning system.
The World Wide Web or Web 2.0 can be considered as a repository of resources that can be harnessed for educational purposes. Also, tweaks can be added to enhance its efficiency in the learning pedagogy.
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Semantic web is a connotation used to describe protocols that allow machines to decipher the meaning of information present on World Wide Web. Crucial to understand is the fact that web that we use is tailored for human consumption. It is, on a principle level, machine readable but not ‘understandable’.
This represents a limitation of sorts with regards to progress that is being seen in the online education paradigm.
The need for semantic web
Semantic web tools such as Resource Description Framework (RDF), Web Ontology Language and Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) can be used to build a concrete e-learning management model that presents information in a manner a machine can interpret.
Some online educational aspects have been able to use such informatics to beneficial use. Healthcare is an ideal example of an area where semantic web has been put to good effect. Virtualization has led to heterogeneous data sources emerging, indicating the need for semantic web.
There are some successful models in the status quo that show semantic web can succeed at the data management infrastructure level. Pennsylvania is one of the states that took an early initiative in this regard. It laid down protocols for information integration within semantic web and how it can impact various stakeholders such as educational institutes and businesses.
This can be seen with the development of electronic health records (EHRs) and how they are advancing the profession of nursing. A specific ‘Semantic Web for Health Care and Life Sciences Interest Group’ was initiated few years back to capitalize on the advancement.
The impact of EHRs and other new technologies can be seen in the accelerated nursing programs in PA, the demand for which has increased in just the last few years. Such programs also focus on decision-making and communication skills, establishing the ever-important connection between improved web integration and better online education.
Benefits of semantic web for e-learning
Semantic web represents a newer generation of world wide web use, and provides numerous advantages. First of all, it can improve the metadata that is linked with e-learning resources. Secondly, it can also expand the existing opportunities for e-learning customization.
The semantic web integration process presents an adaptive concept of composing new learning materials. From the device point of view, different specialized pedagogical information resources become accessible to all.
This approach also equips machines with an intelligent learning model, enhanced reasoning and optimal management of learning material. The connection of online resources present on the web and its affiliation with the end user is a unique relationship, which can be enhanced using semantic web.
Using semantic web, an ontology based e-learning method can be generated. It allows the program controller to add aspects such as student management, teacher management, security management, course management and ontology management. All of these aspects are linearized and fed unique responses based on the connection with the respective user. “Piazza” is a data management infrastructure built on the principles described above. It epitomizes the benefits of utilizing metadata and improving ‘understanding’ of machines.
Based on the analysis that has been provided above, it is clear that the impact of online learning can be greatly enhanced with the help of optimal web usage. With a large segment of the population looking to virtual tools for enhanced learning, semantic web can offer significant assistance.