Towards building an adaptive educational hypermedia system for modern distance education

Samuel Ping-Man Choi and Sze-Sing Lam
The Open University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong SAR, China

An adaptive educational hypermedia system (AEHS) is an e-learning system that offers learners a personalized learning experience through hypermedia. Rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach, an AEHS considers an individual learner’s characteristics (such as prior knowledge, ability, interests, preferences and learning goals); and it utilizes the information to personalize the learning content and guide the learning process. The objective of AEHS is to maximize learner satisfaction, learning efficiency and educational effectiveness. AEHS is particularly beneficial for modern distance education due to its use of e-learning as a primary teaching method and the diverse backgrounds of distance learning (DL) students. While building a sophisticated AEHS requires tremendous effort, DL institutes typically have already established an abundance of teaching resources, including a complete set of course material and a tutoring system to support the students’ learning. However, the same resources are offered to all students without considering their learning needs and this may lead to information overload and ineffective learning. In this paper, we will discuss how DL institutes can adapt and evolve the existing tutoring systems and course material into an AEHS. In particular, we will explore how to make use of well-established computational approaches and machine learning techniques to design and develop the three main components of AEHS, viz. the domain model, user model and adaptation model. The roles and participation of various stakeholders, including students, teachers, course developers and administrators, for implementing a successful AEHS will also be illustrated. We will then discuss how to apply the AEHS framework to identify further improvements for electronic tutoring systems developed in the Open University of Hong Kong.