How it Works?

How do the Rebooting Applications Work?

Building engagement

Recent studies have shown that motivational trajectories for language learning shift according to the age of the learners. In particular, younger learners tend to engage in activities that provide them with a sense of accomplishment. The “Rebooting” approach utilizes the young learners’ natural affinity to technology and adopts several elements and features found in popular video games to build engagement and motivate learning (i.e. gamification). Each level of the application uses different techniques and methods for building engagement, according to research findings for each individual age group.

Technology is invisible

The history of educational technology is full of examples of advances in technology that created expectations for revolutionary developments in education, which were subsequently never fulfilled. Instructional designs prioritized integrating new technological assets and features over their actual usefulness in the learning process. In the “Rebooting” applications, technology is practically invisible and exists only to accommodate specific purposes in the learning design. The result is a content-first approach to development, where the implementation of technological features is guided by pedagogy, rather than the other way around.

Targeting multiple audiences

The instructional design for the “Rebooting” project is flexible and dynamic, in order to accommodate both individual learners and groups in a classroom setting. The content is structured in such a way that provides the necessary scaffolding for learners who do not have easy access to Greek school and who will use the “Rebooting” applications as their major method of instruction. Furthermore, the flexibility of the design makes the applications compatible with most existing curricula used for teaching and learning Greek, extending their usability as a complementary learning resource in community classrooms in the Diaspora.

Communities of Practice

The “Rebooting” project extends beyond the development of applications targeting heritage learners of the Greek language, by including the development of digital platforms targeting Greek language teachers. These digital platforms facilitate the emergence of communities of practice among educators, where experiences, resources, and learning material will be shared and support will be provided to all the members of the community. The overall aim is to continuously promote best practices and advances in pedagogy and content for teaching the Greek language.

Main Principles of the Instructional Design

High Production Value assets and resources

One of the major focal points of the ‘Rebooting’ approach is the investment in aesthetically appealing assets and learning resources, since the first step towards a successful instructional intervention is building and reinforcing learner engagement. Furthermore, the artistic elements incorporated in the instructional design do not serve only motivational purposes, as they also constitute learning resources that provide the cultural context which is so important in learning a heritage language. All the videos, images, songs, and texts included in the applications are the fruits of collaboration of an expert team of designers, animators, writers, and educators, each one of whom contributing their unique vision and experience to the project.

Micro-learning

The content of the ‘Rebooting’ applications is organized and presented in small chunks of learning material, which correspond to specific learning goals and can be completed in short learning sessions of 15 – 20 minutes. These nodes of learning objects have hierarchical relations to each other, with simple skills leading to more advanced ones. In this way, learners work gradually to achieve an overall complex linguistic goal that constitutes the final, end-node for the particular unit. This micro-learning approach and the organization of the material in skill trees provide the necessary scaffolding for the learners to complete complex linguistic tasks, in small manageable steps. It also allows for multiple learning paths that avoids blocking the learner’s progress, as is the case in linear approaches.

Targeting multiple audiences

The instructional design for the “Rebooting” project is flexible and dynamic, in order to accommodate both individual learners and groups in a classroom setting. The content is structured in such a way that provides the necessary scaffolding for learners who do not have easy access to Greek school and who will use the “Rebooting” applications as their major method of instruction. Furthermore, the flexibility of the design makes the applications compatible with most existing curricula used for teaching and learning Greek, extending their usability as a complementary learning resource in community classrooms in the Diaspora.

Learning analytics and student modeling

Virtual learning environments are augmented with tools that collect anonymized unobtrusive data of the learners’ interactions with the system, in order to create detailed learning profiles for each individual student. These features become available under the learner’s permission and are not used on any other capacity. These profiles provide information on the learner’s current knowledge state, their overall learning behavior, successful and unsuccessful learning strategies, time management patterns etc. A constantly trained and updated prediction algorithm offers advice and suggestions to learners at risk of failing or dropping the course.

Content Structure

The learning material for the platform is organized according large thematic entities, called modules. A module constitutes the core, organizing element for the entire learning platform that exists independently, but in hierarchical relationships with other modules within the learning space of the instructional software. Each module has a specific internal structure, which consists of smaller learning entities called nodes. The nodes are connected to each other in a tree-like formation with arcs, which denote hierarchical relationships between nodes. For each module, there is a variety of initial nodes, but always one terminal node, also referred to as the end node of the module.

The structural schema then has the following major characteristics:

  • Each module has an end node, which corresponds to the complex target learning task that is the object of that specific module and it is related to its thematic identity. It appears on top of the hierarchy.
  • A top-down approach is followed when creating a module hierarchy. The initial point of analysis is the complex task. All the other subtasks or sub goals derive naturally from these.
  • A bottom up approach is followed by the learner when they navigate the hierarchy. The learners begin at the initial nodes at the bottom of the hierarchy and, as they complete prerequisite nodes, they gain access to nodes further up the hierarchy.
  • When learners first access a module hierarchy, only the initial nodes are unlocked and accessible to them. The nodes unlock as the learners complete the prerequisite nodes. The algorithmic rule that determines how the learners progress in the hierarchy is that a node becomes unlocked when all its prerequisite nodes are completed.
  • When an end node is completed, the whole module is considered complete and the learner may proceed to other modules. The algorithmic rule that determines how the learners progress in the hierarchy of modules is identical to the one governing progression in the hierarchy of nodes.
This structural schema presents a number of advantages. First, it is an accurate visualization of the knowledge space for each module in the learning platform, as it represents all its constituent parts, as well as the relationships between them. All the instructional goals are mapped to the nodes inside the module hierarchy. Therefore, teachers are able to identify goals, as well as the learning material connected to them, and integrate the use of the learning platform seamlessly in their teaching practice. Also, the tree-form representation of the content structure can be used to accommodate multiple purposes: (1) a navigational tool, through which the learners access the content; (2) a representation of the learner’s knowledge state, where completed, in progress and non-accessed goals appear and; (3) a goal setting tool, to be used by the learners in order to plot future steps in their learning.