Enabling Technologies to Design, Produce and Exploit Flexible, Electronic Learning Materials

  • Martin Valcke
  • Paul Kirschner
  • Evelijn Bos


The base for this chapter is a large scale project, set-up at the Dutch Open University (OUNL) to re-design the current approach to design, produce and exploit distance education learning materials. The project has been influenced by two major paradigm shifts in the educational approach of the OUNL. These paradigm shifts are being described in the chapter of Kirschner, Valcke and Sluijsmans (see chapter 7 of this book).

The first paradigm shift was influenced by the results of a strengths-weakness analysis of the’ traditional’ approach oriented towards the production of printed books with some extra multimedia (called the’ second generation of distance education). This revealed shortcomings at four levels: economical, educational, technical and scientific. The analysis resulted in a re-engineering of the overall approach, founding a first level of the’ third generation of distance education’. This new approach implies the availability of tools that help to design, produce and exploit learning materials in a completely innovative way: electronic (multimedia), indexed with user (student) profiles, based on models (content model, didactic model, learning path, etc.), continuous updating and actualisation, etc. As such, large repositories of learning materials are available from which, just-in-time, on-demand and tailor-made subsets can be selected and published-on-demand (internet/intranet, CD-Rom and/or in print). Students receive materials that are in line with their needs or characteristics.

In this chapter we give an outline of the problem analysis, the design approaches of‘ generations’ of tools, and reflection upon research results involving students using the flexible electronic learning materials.

Key words

Tools Distance education Flexible learning materials 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Valcke
    • 1
  • Paul Kirschner
    • 2
  • Evelijn Bos
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GentBelgium
  2. 2.Open UniversityUK

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