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From learning objects to knowledge nuggets [Elektronische Ressource] : contextual model for workplace learning on-demand in practice / Pei Wang-Nastansky

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349 pages
From Learning Objects to Knowledge Nuggets Contextual Model for Workplace Learning On-demand in Practice PhD Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Business Administration, Business Information Systems and Economics Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften University of Paderborn Pei Wang-Nastansky, M.Sc. 33100 Paderborn, Germany Paderborn, July 2007 Acknowledgement I give sincere thanks to my thesis referees, Prof. H.-Hugo Kremer and Prof. Joseph W. Holland, and the thesis committee members, Prof. Peter F. E. Sloane and Prof. Bernd Hellingrath, for their openness to accept me as myself, support for my work, and their patience. During the course of this thesis, I own many thanks to my colleagues at the Groupware Competency Center (GCC) of the Department of Business Information Systems, University of Paderborn, Germany. Bernd Hesse, Holger Ploch, Ingo Erdmann, Olaf Hahnl, and many more at GCC have offered me their insights, chances for open debate and discussion, and humor during my research work. I thank you all for your support. Howard Almond has done an uncompromised job at proof-reading and editing my work. His diligence is deeply appreciated. Finally, this thesis is a dedication to my parents for their belief in me and unconditional love. Paderborn, July 29, 2007 Pei Wang-NastanskyOverview of Content I Overview of Content Overview of Content ..............................................................................
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From Learning Objects to Knowledge Nuggets
Contextual Model for Workplace Learning On-demand in Practice


PhD Thesis
Submitted to the Faculty of Business Administration,
Business Information Systems and Economics
Fakultät Wirtschaftswissenschaften

University of Paderborn



Pei Wang-Nastansky, M.Sc.
33100 Paderborn, Germany


Paderborn, July 2007

Acknowledgement
I give sincere thanks to my thesis referees, Prof. H.-Hugo Kremer and Prof. Joseph W. Holland, and
the thesis committee members, Prof. Peter F. E. Sloane and Prof. Bernd Hellingrath, for their openness
to accept me as myself, support for my work, and their patience.
During the course of this thesis, I own many thanks to my colleagues at the Groupware Competency
Center (GCC) of the Department of Business Information Systems, University of Paderborn,
Germany. Bernd Hesse, Holger Ploch, Ingo Erdmann, Olaf Hahnl, and many more at GCC have
offered me their insights, chances for open debate and discussion, and humor during my research
work. I thank you all for your support.
Howard Almond has done an uncompromised job at proof-reading and editing my work. His diligence
is deeply appreciated.
Finally, this thesis is a dedication to my parents for their belief in me and unconditional love.

Paderborn, July 29, 2007
Pei Wang-NastanskyOverview of Content I
Overview of Content
Overview of Content ...................................................................................................................I
Table of Contents .....................................................................................................................III
Abstract................................................................................................................................... VII
Keywords / Tags..................................................................................................................... VII
1 Introduction............................................................................................................................1
1.1 Scenario – Research Setting.....................................................................................................1
1.2 Purpose of the Thesis...............................................................................................................9
1.3 Methodology..........................................................................................................................11
1.4 Justification............................................................................................................................14
1.5 Proceeding Structure..............................................................................................................15
2 The Emergence of Learning On-demand in Virtual Workplaces ........................................17
2.1 Where Are You If Not Online? – IT Transformation of Work and Organizations................17
2.2 IT Effects on Learning...........................................................................................................29
2.3 Workplace Learning On-demand...........................................................................................37
2.4 Features of Learning On-demand ..........................................................................................48
2.5 Summary................................................................................................................................74
3 Learning Objects – Challenges to a Modular Design Approach for Information and
Knowledge...........................................................................................................................75
3.1 Introduction............................................................................................................................75
3.2 Definition - in the Eyes of Beholders.....................................................................................80
3.3 Granularity or Aggregation Model ........................................................................................91
3.4 Context Information...............................................................................................................99
3.5 Technical Interoperability of Learning Objects ...................................................................109
3.6 State-of-the-Art of Learning Object Repositories................................................................128
3.7 Summary..............................................................................................................................145
4 From Learning Objects to Knowledge Nuggets and their Contextualization for
Workplace Learning On-demand.......................................................................................148
4.1 Extending Learning Objects to Knowledge Nuggets...........................................................148
4.2 Re-Thinking Granularity in the Context of Workplace Learning On-demand ....................150
4.3 Contextual Model for Workplace Learning On-demand (CM-WLOD) ..............................157
4.4 Reflecting on Tags and Tagging as Essential Building Blocks of CM-WLOD...................183
4.5 Summary......193
5 Implementation of CM-WLOD .........................................................................................194
5.1 Introduction..........................................................................................................................194
5.2 Technical Implementation of CM-WLOD...........................................................................202
5.3 Employee/Learner-Driven Contextualization of K-Nuggets ...............................................233
6 Benefits of Implementing CM-WLOD on a Knowledge Management System................270
6.1 Multiple Aggregations and Sequences by Granulating Context..........................................271
6.2 Reusing, Re-Purposing and Referencing .............................................................................279
6.3 Interoperability.....................................................................................................................284
6.4 Facilitating Bottom-Up Collaborative Learning in the Workplace Context........................289 II Overview of Content
6.5 Summary..............................................................................................................................292
7 Summary and Conclusion..................................................................................................295
7.1 Focal Point of this Thesis.....................................................................................................295
7.2 Summary......296
7.3 Recommendation for Future Research.................................................................................299
Literature .....................................................................................................................................i
Abbrevations...........................................................................................................................xxx
List of Figures........................................................................................................................xxxi
List of Tables.......................................................................................................................xxxvi
Table of Contents III
Table of Contents
Overview of Content ...................................................................................................................I
Table of Contents .....................................................................................................................III
Abstract................................................................................................................................... VII
Keywords / Tags..................................................................................................................... VII
1 Introduction............................................................................................................................1
1.1 Scenario – Research Setting.....................................................................................................1
1.1.1 The Days of Changes..................................................................................................1
1.1.2 The Convergence of Learning and Knowledge Management ....................................3
1.1.3 The Indispensable and Challenging Role of Context at Workplace Learning............5
1.2 Purpose of the Thesis...............................................................................................................9
1.3 Methodology..........................................................................................................................11
1.4 Justification............................................................................................................................14
1.5 Proceeding Structure..............................................................................................................15
2 The Emergence of Learning On-demand in Virtual Workplaces ........................................17
2.1 Where Are You If Not Online? – IT Transformation of Work and Organizations................17
2.1.1 Global Access to Communication and Knowledge ..................................................17
2.1.2 IT Effects on Work ...................................................................................................21
2.1.3 IT Effects on Productivity.........................................................................................23
2.1.4 IT Effects on Organizational Structures - Decentralization......................................24
2.1.5 Emerging Virtual Workplaces and Collaborative Team Work.................................26
2.2 IT Effects on Learning...........................................................................................................29
2.2.1 The Return of Lifelong Learning..............................................................................29
2.2.2 Bottom-Up Decentralized Learning..........................................................................34
2.3 Workplace Learning On-demand...........................................................................................37
2.3.1 From Training to E-Learning On-demand at the Workplace....................................38
2.3.2 Benefits of Learning On-demand at the Workplace .................................................45
2.4 Features of Learning On-demand ..........................................................................................48
2.4.1 Services - Just-in-Time at the Workplace................................................................48
2.4.1.1 Support of Just-in-Time Learning and the Self-Managed Learner...........48
2.4.1.2 Facilitation of Collaborative Learning Activities and Processes at the
Workplace.................................................................................................50
2.4.2 Technology – Knowledge Management Integration and Collaboration...................53
2.4.2.1 Knowledge Management and Integrated Learning Delivery at the
Workplace53
2.4.2.2 Sharing and Collaborative Tools for Learning .........................................57
2.4.2.2.1 Folksonomy...........................................................................58
2.4.2.2.2 Wiki ......................................................................................60
2.4.2.2.3 Blog / Weblog.......................................................................62
2.4.2.2.4 Podcasting and RSS Feeds....................................................65
2.4.2.2.5 Summary...............................................................................68
2.4.3 From Content-Centric to Context-Driven Learning in Workplace...........................69
2.5 Summary................................................................................................................................74 IV Table of Contents
3 Learning Objects – Challenges to a Modular Design Approach for Information and
Knowledge...........................................................................................................................75
3.1 Introduction............................................................................................................................75
3.1.1 Learning Objects: The Enthusiasts … ......................................................................75
3.1.2 … and the Skeptics ...................................................................................................78
3.1.3 Summary80
3.2 Definition - in the Eyes of Beholders.....................................................................................80
3.2.1 Voices from Individuals............................................................................................81
3.2.2 Academic Institutions ...............................................................................................83
3.2.3 Industry Practitioners................................................................................................85
3.2.4 Summary87
3.2.5 In Search of a Metaphor88
3.3 Granularity or Aggregation Model ........................................................................................91
3.3.1 Granularity Based on Text Book Sequencing...........................................................92
3.3.2 Based on Content Domain.....................................................................96
3.3.3 Granularity Based on a Multi-Layered Model..........................................................97
3.3.4 Summary...................................................................................................................98
3.4 Context Information...............................................................................................................99
3.4.1 The Influence of Context in Reusing Learning Objects ...........................................99
3.4.2 The Context and Content Paradox ..........................................................................101
3.4.3 Organizational Context – One Aspect of Learning Context...................................104
3.4.4 Design Tactics for Context .....................................................................................106
3.4.5 Summary.................................................................................................................108
3.5 Technical Interoperability of Learning Objects ...................................................................109
3.5.1 Metadata Functions.................................................................................................111
3.5.2 Metadata Standards112
3.5.2.1 Cost of Implementing Learning Objects Standard .................................117
3.5.2.2 Summary118
3.5.3 Specifications from Different Organizations ..........................................................119
3.5.3.1 IMS Content Packaging..........................................................................121
3.5.3.2 The Sharable Content Object Reference Model – SCORM ...................122
3.5.4 Sharing and Intellectual Property Rights Management ..........................................126
3.5.5 Summary.................................................................................................................127
3.6 State-of-the-Art of Learning Object Repositories................................................................128
3.6.1 MERLOT Learning Resource Repository ..............................................................129
3.6.2 iLumina Digital Library..........................................................................................134
3.6.3 MIT OpenCourseWare ...........................................................................................136
3.6.4 Apple Learning Interchange ...................................................................................139
3.6.5 Summary143
3.7 Summary..............................................................................................................................145
4 From Learning Objects to Knowledge Nuggets and their Contextualization for
Workplace Learning On-demand.......................................................................................148
4.1 Extending Learning Objects to Knowledge Nuggets...........................................................148
4.2 Re-Thinking Granularity in the Context of Workplace Learning On-demand ....................150
4.3 Contextual Model for Workplace Learning On-demand (CM-WLOD) ..............................157
4.3.1 Foundation ..............................................................................................................157
4.3.2 Composition of a K-Nugget....................................................................................162
4.3.2.1 A Narrow Interpretation of Context: Single Context Information Set ...164 Table of Contents V
4.3.2.2 A Broader Interpretation of Context: Multiple Context Information
Sets .........................................................................................................166
4.3.2.3 Structuring Context Information Sets.....................................................167
4.3.2.4 Strongly-Connected and Loosely-Coupled Relations ............................178
4.4 Reflecting on Tags and Tagging as Essential Building Blocks of CM-WLOD...................183
4.4.1 Issue of Number of Contextual Parameters in CM-WLOD....................................183
4.4.2 Other Workplace Learning On-demand Approaches..............................................184
4.4.3 Tagging Continuum ................................................................................................187
4.5 Summary..............................................................................................................................193
5 Implementation of CM-WLOD .........................................................................................194
5.1 Introduction..........................................................................................................................194
5.1.1 Contextual Tools in the Physical World and the Virtual World .............................194
5.1.2 Choosing a State-of-the-Art System Layer for CM-WLOD Prototyping...............196
5.2 Technical Implementation of CM-WLOD...........................................................................202
5.2.1 Application Scenario and Overview .......................................................................202
5.2.2 Themes....................................................................................................................205
5.2.3 Title and Short Description.....................................................................................208
5.2.4 Keywords, being Organized in Separate and Independent Sets of Keyword-
Classes208
5.2.5 Categories ...............................................................................................................215
5.2.6 Access Control Parameters218
5.2.7 Workflow Parameters .............................................................................................222
5.2.8 Miscellaneous Other Parameters.............................................................................225
5.2.9 Contextual Signature – Contexts as Nuggets/Objects.............................................229
5.2.10 Summary.................................................................................................................232
5.3 Employee/Learner-Driven Contextualization of K-Nuggets ...............................................233
5.3.1 Application Scenario...............................................................................................233
5.3.2 Discovering and Acquiring Knowledge via Themes and Keywords......................235
5.3.3 Organizing and Linking Knowledge Nuggets for Personal Application Domains
via Categories .........................................................................................................237
5.3.4 kingts for Organizational Application
Domains..................................................................................................................240
5.3.4.1 Via Contextual Templates for the Content Part......................................240
5.3.4.2 Via Contextual Parameters for the Context Stub....................................243
5.3.5 Organizing and Customizing K-Nuggets for both Personal and Organizational
Application Domains ..............................................................................................246
5.3.5.1 Constructing Embedded Views ..............................................................246
5.3.5.2 Constructing the Personal Workplace Learning Dashboard -
Overview ................................................................................................249
5.3.5.3 the Personal Workplace Learning Dashboard - Details ....252
5.3.6 Dissemination, Collaboration and Application.......................................................256
5.3.6.1 Direct Messaging and Web Publishing ..................................................257
5.3.6.2 “Ad-Hoc Workflow” - Learning and Work Process Integration ............260
5.3.6.3 Asynchronous and Synchronous Contextual Collaboration ...................264
5.3.7 Summary.................................................................................................................268
6 Benefits of Implementing CM-WLOD on a Knowledge Management System................270
6.1 Multiple Aggregations and Sequences by Granulating Context..........................................271 VI Table of Contents
6.2 Reusing, Re-Purposing and Referencing .............................................................................279
6.2.1 Reusing ...................................................................................................................280
6.2.2 Repurposing............................................................................................................281
6.2.3 Referencing.............................................................................................................283
6.2.4 Summary.................................................................................................................284
6.3 Interoperability.....................................................................................................................284
6.3.1 A Flexible Model of Adopting Standards...............................................................285
6.3.2 Metadata Mapping ..................................................................................................286
6.4 Facilitating Bottom-Up Collaborative Learning in the Workplace Context........................289
6.5 Summary..............................................................................................................................292
7 Summary and Conclusion295
7.1 Focal Point of this Thesis.....................................................................................................295
7.2 Summary......296
7.3 Recommendation for Future Research.................................................................................299
Literature .....................................................................................................................................i
Abbrevations...........................................................................................................................xxx
List of Figures........................................................................................................................xxxi
List of Tables.......................................................................................................................xxxvi
Abstract VII
Abstract
This thesis contributes to the development and practice in facilitating e-learning effectiveness and
efficiency at the workplace. The demand of today’s workplace requires constant recurrence of learning
processes, inseparably interwoven with daily job tasks. To be agile in business, every knowledge-
intensive organization faces the challenge of supporting this non-classroom, non-instructional type of
learning on-demand. The author reviews the important role of information technology in increasing
the efficiency of knowledge creation processes at the workplace in a collaborative way. Approaches
having found wide adoption under the “Web 2.0” umbrella are reflected upon. Issues of learning
objects development are examined in detail because of their premises in supporting sharable and
reusable digital resources for learning at the workplace. Although job context drives what is to be
learned at work, the enterprise development of learning technology so far has followed the classroom
instructional model, a centrally organized process that is led by predefined content. Conceptually as
well as from the technology side this classical instructional model no longer satisfies current learning
and knowledge management needs sufficiently.
Against this the thesis presents a context-driven knowledge management model focusing on learning
through contextual collaboration at the virtual workplace (CM-WLOD). CM-WLOD comprises a
pragmatic meta-data model matching employees’ needs of both dealing with daily organizational
processes and learning endeavors in an integrated and collaborative fashion. The prototypical
implementation of this model denotes a decentralized, learner-generated learning process which is
driven by contextual collaboration with digital resources, peers, and experts in an organizational
workplace setting. The standpoint is that in addition to content, the enterprise information systems
shall provide the employees a set of tools seamlessly merging informational content with the context
of job and needs in learning together. CM-WLOD is implemented in a layered approach on top of
IBM Lotus Notes and K-pool, a knowledge management system. A variety of practical use-cases and
application scenarios is constructively examined. Especially, these cases deal with the ever changing
patterns of re-use and re-purposing of information and their underlying re-contextualization in an
effective way at the e-workplace.

Keywords / Tags
Blended learning, lifelong learning, e-workplace, on-demand, information management, knowledge
management, contextualization, meta data, content, learning objects, knowledge nuggets,
collaboration, tagging, granularization, re-use, IEEE LOM, Dublin Core DCMES, Lotus Notes