D5.1 Social Semantic Network: Concept and Prototype 1

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Executive Summary

The main objective of WP5 is to develop a Social Semantic Network that enables situated and contextualized learning. Specifically, the objectives of WP5 are

  • O5.1 Creating an infrastructure that allows for social negotiation of semantic meaning and
  • O5.2 Enabling meaningful learning

To achieve this goal WP5 has developed an informal learning service framework called the Social Semantic Server (see Section 5.2). In order to establish more meaningful relations and to provide more meaningful actions on these relations, the idea of the social semantic network was realized as an Artifact Actor Network (Reinhardt et al., 2009). Artifact Actor Networks combine both person-based social networks (e.g. Facebook) and artifact network approaches (e.g. Wikipedia). We have chosen that approach to represent each of the following informal learning interactions: person-based help-seeking (WP2), as well as content-based interactions (WP3) and interactions with physical artifacts (WP4). The Artifact Actor Network represents each of these entities, and tracks the usage/ manipulation/ interaction with all of these entities. With this approach at hand the social semantic server is able to capture the shared meaning (and hidden) that underlies all of these interactions.

Using an Artifact Actor Network that consists of users, resources and relations between those entities, WP5 has developed a number of novel services that enable meaningful learning. These include guidance services (e.g. scaffolding), aggregation services (e.g. modeling user events) and Meaning Making services (e.g. discussing content). The main research challenge we have identified in year one is scaling – not only on the architectural level – but also on the service and interface level.

In order to set work in WP5 firmly into the application domains and the design-based work coordinated in WP1, WP5 has been actively involved in all design teams that evolved in the beginning of the year at the Helsinki Design Conference. WP5 particularly focused on the design team BITS & PIECES where we contributed to the main idea and developed a Sense Making interface that is based on some of the key services in the Social Semantic Network and which is currently tested with the end users in the pilot cluster in the Healthcare Sector in England (see Section 6.3).

Last but not least, WP5 has actively coordinated the development of a novel model of scaling the support for informal learning to which all other WPs have actively contributed and which represents the overarching and guiding model for the whole Learning Layers project to meaningfully scale informal workplace learning.

Overall, WP5 achieved the following results during year one:

  • A novel model of scaling the support for informal learning. Parts of this work have been published and were presented at the European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, 2013 in Paphos, Cyprus. The overall results are presented in Chapter 4.
  • A novel prototypical implementation of a framework called the Social Semantic Server for scalable informal learning. Parts of the results have been published and were presented at the I-SEMANTICS Conference, 2013 Graz, Austria. The overall results of this work are featured in Chapter 5.
  • A number of novel services for the recommendation for tags were developed to contribute to the generation of meaning making. Parts of the results have been published and were presented at the ACM Conference on Knowledge Technologies, 2013 in San Francisco, USA. The overall results of this work are featured in Chapter 5 & in the Appendix Section 8.1.
  • A novel prototypical implementation of a scalable sense making interface. Parts of this work have been published and were presented at the International Workshop on Collaborative Technologies for Working and Learning, 2013 in Paphos, Cyprus. The overall results of this work are outlined in Chapter 6.

Finally, we identified a number of future promising research directions and questions. Based on these findings, WP5 plans a number of activities for Y2, which includes the further adoption and validation of the Model of Scaling the Support for Informal Learning, the further improvement and validation of the design idea and the further development and evaluation of the Social Semantic Server in respect to the model, the architecture and service orchestration.

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