Flexible provisioning for adult learners

Henry Hermans, José Janssen, Hubert Vogten, Rob Koper

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    In adult education there is a continuous, growing demand for learning opportunities that fit the specific characteristics and preferences of particular learner groups or individual learners. This requires educational institutions to rethink their business and educational models, and develop more flexible online course solutions using ICT. An important downside of this trend is an increasingly complex logistic process that is very difficult to manage, in particular with respect to the provisioning process: which teaching and learning services and facilities should be made available, to whom, when, and how. Rather than implementing provisioning rules directly in the software applications that make up the online delivery environment, we propose a model for an educational provisioning system (EPS) that allows for highly flexible provisioning and reduces the workload drastically. This system is responsible for both expressing and processing provisioning rules that meet the demands of new (online) course models. It supports the use of so-called course access levels that enable to address and provision various learning target groups separately by means of a single course. For reasons of efficiency we suggest an architecture in which the EPS is loosely coupled to the applications in the teaching and learning environment. A first EPS implementation at the Open University of the Netherlands is presented and discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)206-222
    Number of pages17
    JournalJournal of Universal Computer Science
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2015


    • provisioning
    • adult learning
    • online courses
    • e-Learning
    • flexible delivery
    • technology enhanced learning


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