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Network-Based Learning and Assessment Applications on the Semantic Web

Innovate: Journal of Online Education Volume 1, Number 4, ISSN 1552-3233


Today's Web applications are already “aware” of the network of computers and data on the Internet, in the sense that they perceive, remember, and represent knowledge external to themselves. However, Web applications are generally not able to respond to the meaning and context of the information in their memories. As a result, most applications are insensitive and unresponsive to users' teaching and learning needs, and they are unable to decide when to abstract from interactions in order to synthesize new knowledge. As the Web becomes a distributed computing environment for eEducation applications that can dynamically share and update one another's information, however, future network-based learning and assessment applications have the potential to fill in these gaps. This dynamic sharing or interoperability of programs across the Web has the potential to turn the Internet into a single computer. Future applications will move beyond today's access and sharing of textual information to full interoperability of algorithms and data using the Semantic Web (SW) architecture. In a way that is analogous to the mark-up of text for surface features such as bold and italics, the markup language of the SW encodes the meaning of data fields as well as the contents of those fields. Emerging global agreements on terms, fields, and content types, arising naturally in the SW ecosystem of online interactions, will allow the new applications to work at a more complex level of machine inference than is possible today. This will lead to several advances in e-learning applications. The article attempts to show how teaching, learning, and assessment might look with these advances fully elaborated in the future. As a forecast, this article is likely wrong about some details, but the basic picture is solid enough to demonstrate that a sea-change is about to happen in how people conceive of the Internet in eEducation–from the global reservoir of information to the global intelligence of multiple interacting knowledge communities. Keeping SW architecture in mind, one can envision a future with network-based resources, guidance, and assessment applications that will facilitate a significant increase in the number and speed of learners who travel full circle from consumers to creators of knowledge.


Gibson, D. (2005). Network-Based Learning and Assessment Applications on the Semantic Web. Innovate: Journal of Online Education, 1(4),. Retrieved March 24, 2019 from .