CRAWWLA progress

In the past couple of weeks, we have made some significant progress on the CRAWWLA project. This has been helped by some buttressing activities from within other projects at OHMES.

You may remember that a key tenet of the CRAWWLA Project was that of orthogonal data. Based on a concept originally raised here, the principle behind orthogonal data was not falling into the trap of merely making redundant archive copies of your data.

So we have now installed 3 services that help to integrate information across different educational software platforms. We have an instance of Learning Locker in place. This will be set up to accept data from 4 other sources, all looking at integrating information across a bunch of common software apps.

This will also tie into the progress being made by Michelle Cullen from the School of Nursing at the University of Calgary, on integrating different approaches to assessing learners, their communication and problem solving skills, in a professional nursing program.

Testing is ongoing – we should soon be able to make these tweaks publicly available.

OLab changing sites

Hi everyone,

We have been changing where we are hosting the olab.ca services over the next few days. We apologize to those of you who found that some things did not respond while we switched over. Or you may have received a (mildly alarming) message about a bad security certificate. We are gradually fixing all these issues, while continuing to develop our various tools and components in the platform.

The switch is partially complete, and it helps us to open up a bunch of new OLab services. This site, https://olab.ca, will be the main distribution point for services and projects related to our OLab4 educational research platform.

At https://demo.olab.ca/olab, we are running a demo version of our OLab4 virtual scenario platform. The player has been complete for some time and has been shown to be nice and stable. The authoring interface for creating new scenarios is still in progress, I’m sorry to say, but we are now making great progress.

There will be 3 other platforms and 3 other services linked into this. More info as we gradually integrated them.

OLab4 development update

Sigh. Things always take longer than anticipated in software development. We have been caught by the same upgrade traps as many other application developers. So, where are we up to?

The main structures and data architecture for OLab4 remain sound through our testing phases. Because the underlying data schema in OpenLabyrinth v3 is pretty solid and stable, we have not made extensive changes here.

Probably, the biggest change here, which seasoned OLab authors will welcome, is much better ability to reuse existing objects within your cases. In the past with OLab3, it was relatively common practice to reuse of copy items like images or questions or avatars from one map to another. But this often broke the portability of a case.

With OLab4, we have introduced Scoped Objects, which will make such reuse much more rational and extensible. See http://olab.ca/olab4-scoped-objects/ for a better description of how these work.

We have put a lot of effort in making xAPI and Learning Record Store integration into a more integrated component of OLab4. We already have pretty decent xAPI functionality in OLab3 but now is the time to make this more accessible across a range of educational tools and platforms. In learning analytics, activity streams are much more useful than focusing on content aggregation.

Our biggest delays have been in redesigning the authoring interface for OLab4. Experienced OLab users know how powerful and flexible it is. But the creation of scenarios and cases has remained daunting for new users, mostly because our interface is pretty ugly and old-fashioned.

We have been working with the OLab community, and a team of UX designers, to improve the usability of OLab4 for beginning authors. And yet, we also hope that our power users will also find the new authoring approach to be a more efficient and effective use of their time.

CRAWWLA Project update

Competence, Resilience, and Adaptability With and Without Learning Augmentation (CRAWWLA)

This project was slow to get off the ground… apt for its name. Supported by the Taylor Teaching Scholars program, the aim of this project was to explore how teachers and learners adapt to increasing and decreasing availability of various learning augmentations.

The concept of ‘learning augmentation’ tends to focus on information technology but we should remember that there are many other forms of augmentation. So what happens when we lose it?

Do we just ‘lose it’? …as in meltdown, tantrum, go off in a huff etc.

Even the web site for this project, http://crawwla.space, took so long to get up and running that it was no longer useful to engage teachers or learners and we had generally moved on. An interesting example of the ‘Without’!

However, the project has been progressing with all sorts of work behind the scenes. Watch this space for a series of updates over the coming weeks.

OLab4, xAPI and playing nice with each other

As our various projects progress, we just want to give you an update on how OLab4 can be made to play nice with other xAPI-aware applications.

We are gradually building an extended educational research platform, with OLab4 at the core, where these various modules, functions and applications can communicate with each other via our GrassBladeLRS.

So far, we have the following in the mix:

  • OLab4
  • WordPress
  • H5P widgets
  • Moodle
  • LearnDash
  • GrassBlade Companion

As well as sharing activity statements in the common Learning Record Store (LRS), we are also sharing state, actor and context metadata.

If you are interested in exploring this with us, please contact us.

Using xAPI to support blended simulation

OLab and OpenLabyrinth have always been good at providing the contextual glue that holds together various simulation modalities. Here are some examples of projects where OpenLabyrinth has supported blended simulation activities:

  • Virtual Spinal Tap – uses haptic simulation to model the feeling of needle insertion
  • Rushing Roulette – timed tasks with a $30 Arduino lie detector!
  • Crevasse Rescue – multiple teams & disciplines, with high & low fidelity simulators
  • R. Ed Nekke – bookending around Laerdal mannequin scenario

But now with xAPI providing the background data linking to a Learning Record Store, it is much easier to do this across a wider range of tools and platforms. Some of the above mentioned projects used a very sophisticated gamut of high-speed networks, at considerable cost.

Doing this now with xAPI is proving to be much more flexible, scalable and cost effective. To support haptic projects, like Virtual Spinal Tap, we are now working with the Medbiq Learning Experience Working Group on an xAPI Haptics Profile. Check it out and give us feedback.

Hello OLab4!

Welcome to OLab4, our education research platform.

This free, open-source, software grew out of OpenLabyrinth (openlabyrinth.ca), an application that was originally designed to create virtual patients. OLab4 has grown far beyond these roots and now supports a wide range of educational activities.

All of these activities can be tracked and analyzed, which opens up many research opportunities.