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  Home > EU Projects > Science Education projects > UNFOLD - Understanding New Frameworks of Learning Design  

Unfold - Understanding New Frameworks of Learning Design

The Unfold project is addressing the implementation and use of eLearning standards.
The key aspect for the development of eLearning is that it supports better learning, but progress depends on the adoption of open standards. So far these have limited eLearning to a relatively simple, single learner, ‘deliver-and-test’ approach, and are a step backwards if considered from a pedagogic perspective alone.

A major advance was marked by the recent Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Learning Design specification which enables flexible and sophisticated pedagogical approaches to eLearning, by providing support for:
• multiple as well as single learners and their coordination
• a wide range of present, as well as future, pedagogical models
• learning activities and learning services, as well as content.
Thus UNFOLD promotes better eLearning by supporting the implementation and use of pedagogically strong open standards. UNFOLD will focus on the IMS-LD specification, and participation from people involved in similar developments is welcome.

Project Aims
The project aim is to promote and encourage the development and use of eLearning systems that implement a wide range of pedagogic approaches as represented by the IMS Learning Design specification.
UNFOLD will:
-reduce the time taken in realizing the benefits of flexible open eLearning standards in Europe;
-create an engine for the continuing development of European eLearning practice;
-provide a model for the rapid realization of the full benefits of any other eLearning specification.

The core activity of UNFOLD is to support and facilitate Communities of Practice (CoPs), and so provide a space where people can collaborate to support open standards. Three new communities of practice are to establish:
-For System Developers: in order to create a mutually supportive community helping with the development of new eLearning systems and tools and to ensure that these are interoperable;
-For Learning Activity Creators:  who will develop new courses and programs of study that exploit the new tools;
-For Learning Providers who will use new tools to deliver courses via eLearning.
An informal community of practice already exists around the IMS Learning Design specification, as a result of collaboration in the creation of the specification an in the initial development of tooling.
It includes members of:
- the Open University of the Netherlands (creators of Educational Modelling Language - EML)
- Bolton Institute (home of Centre for Educational Technology Interoperability Standards - CETIS, who were key players in the transformation of EML into IMS Learning Design)
- the Valkenburg Group (a grouping of commercial and academic organizations which has established a reference architecture for IMS Learning Design, and is collaborating in the development of tooling).
UNFOLD provides support for collaboration in this existing network, and makes their expertise available to the wider Learning Technology community by inviting all those working with IMS Learning Design to join one of our Communities of Practice, and participate in our on-line forums, workshops and seminars.

The Project comprises four partners: The University of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, which is the  coordinating partner of UNFOLD, The Open University of the Netherlands, Bolton Institute, UK and the European Continuing Education Network (EUCEN), Belgium. UNFOLD is 2 year project founded by European Commission under the Information and Society Technologies Coordination Action.

For more information visit the project website: http://www.unfold-project.net

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