User Modelling as a key to Personalised TEL

User modelling lies at the heart of personalisation and adaptation of TEL, because it is centrally concerned with observing and understanding the learner as the user of technology in real-time. User modelling occupies an important place at the intersection of Artificial Intelligence, Human Computer Interaction and Cognitive Science, and it is crucial to both facilitating the design of technology capable of successfully supporting learning, and to better understanding teaching and learning processes. As such, user modelling constitutes both: a tool that guides the adaptation of the interaction to the individual learner, for example through appropriate feedback selection, and a mechanism for systematic collection of information about the learner for the purpose of enhancing our understanding of and improving practices related to human cognition, communication and educational technology design and use. Most TLRP TEL projects employ a form of user modelling and reflect the growing recognition of the importance of the field’s potential contribution to the enhancement of personalisation and adaptivity of educational technologies. By supporting projects that target a broad range of users, from adult learner to very young children, and that adopt several cutting-edge and emerging approaches to technology-enhanced learning, including haptics, multitouch, and physiological sensors, TLRP-TEL aims to redefine personalisation in a way that goes beyond mere preference setting and it provides a platform for an integrated, co-ordinated and systematic interdisciplinary research effort in this area.

Kaska Porayska-Pomsta, London Knowledge Lab

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