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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Proposing an Epistemology for Evaluation in Designing Computer-based Learning Systems

Christian Medeiros Adriano, Matthias Rudolf Brust.

Evaluation, as a human activity conceived from a diversity of epistemologies, is a complex and multidisciplinary process for classifying and giving feedback. Since evaluation is inherent to any learning and teaching initiative, it is of vital importance that its principles, techniques, and uses be understood under an ample basis. From the design point-of-view, we have a growing mismatch between designer and student/parents/government intentions. This situation leads to numerous system-designs that cannot match real needs. Mostly severe is the fact that technological methods play a secondary role in oppose to evaluation assumptions. The diversity of inspiring epistemologies, nevertheless a good research opportunity, is the great source of confusion. Moreover, the introduction of computer-based learning systems in education contributed to enlarge the spectrum of possibilities and raise even more debate.

Our main question is whether it is possible to gather and study aspects involved in evaluation, in a general way, so that an ample and clean basis of study can be obtained by selecting, combining or discarding aspects. The results aimed at this paper are (1) to offer a basis to solve the problem of intentions/assumptions mismatch and (2) to enable the exercise of shifting from one evaluation method to another while being able to analyse direct consequences and side effects for system design.

Our methods of investigation brought us to a generic approach of evaluation named evaluation-space-theory and aims to bridge epistemological areas. We suggest a standpoint of study that comprises (1) localising evaluation methods within dimensions, (2) justifying the choice for a specific evaluation and (3) analysing the choice in respect to unmentioned or underestimated aspects. The theory provides early basis to investigate design issues and anticipate consequences while conceiving and implementing a computerized evaluation method. An evaluation space consists of ideological entities, epistemologies, and transition systems etc. Furthermore, the evaluation-space-theory permits to devise new evaluation spaces and study interactions among them. Existing evaluation methods can also be qualified, giving the designer the precise differences between evaluation methods.

The theory can have an important impact on all evaluation-directed processes and contribute to computer-based learning system design as our two practical experiences demonstrate.


Christian Medeiros Adriano  (Brazil)

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.

  • Computer-based Training
  • Computer
  • System
  • Environment
  • Learning
  • Evaluation
  • Epistemology

(Virtual Presentation, English)