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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Redesigning Computer-based Learning Environments: Evaluation as Communication

Matthias Rudolf Brust, Christian Medeiros Adriano.

Computer scientists in the field of evaluation research live constantly upon dilemmas and conflicting theories. Evaluation is differently perceived and modeled among educational areas. To be trapped in dilemmas reflects an epistemological weakness. At the same time designing and developing a computer-based scenario is also tuff work. Advancing further, with end-users probing the system in a realistic setting, is even harder.

Computer science research in evaluation is an immense challenge, mostly to its localization among conflicting and controversial research fields (i.e., psychology and philosophy, social sciences and engineering). Has the science of abstracting and building an adequate epistemology for such a challenge? Were the CBTs (Computer-based Training) the far we could go? We believe not, but deep changes must be made in our field.

The first task is to relocate our field by building upon recent results from philosophy, psychology, social sciences, and engineering. In this article we locate evaluation in respect to the very broad field of social sciences, the communication studies. Evaluation goes beyond the statement of how much, but rather to concern itself with the question of “what value?”. It seeks to cope with the tutor and student questioning of “what progress am I making?”. Evaluation, therefore, presupposes a definition of goals to be reached - objectives that have been set forth [Remmers, Gage & Rummel. 1943].

Recalling the phrase of Lucy Suchman [Suchman 1995] “How people work is one the most kept secrets of America”, we suggest evaluation is by many means a silent communication between teacher-student, peers, and institutional entities. If we accept that evaluation can be viewed as set of invisible rules known by nobody, but somehow understood by everybody, we should add anthropological inquiries to our research toolkit.

The paper is organized around some elements of the social communication and how they convey new insights to evaluation research for computer and related scientists. We found some technical limitations and offer discussions on how we relate to technology at same time we establish expectancies and perceive others work.


Matthias Rudolf Brust  (Germany)

Christian Medeiros Department of Computer Science
University of Trier

Matthias Rudolf Brust obtained a BA degree in Computer Science at the University of Trier, Germany, in 1999. He continued his postgraduate studies at the University of Trier and at the Technological Institute of Aeronautics, Brazil, and in 2002 obtained his Master of Science.

Christian Medeiros Adriano  (Brazil)

  • Design
  • CBT
  • Computer-based Training
  • Computer
  • Learning
  • Environment
  • Evaluation
  • Communication

(Virtual Presentation, English)