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Durham e-Theses
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Promoting Informal Learning Using a Context-Sensitive Recommendation Algorithm For a QRCode-based Visual Tagging System

COOK, HENRI (2010) Promoting Informal Learning Using a Context-Sensitive Recommendation Algorithm For a QRCode-based Visual Tagging System. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

Structured Abstract

Context: Previous work in the educational field has demonstrated that Informal Learning is an effective way to learn. Due to its casual nature it is often difficult
for academic institutions to leverage this method of learning as part of a typical curriculum.

Aim: This study planned to determine whether Informal Learning could be encouraged amongst learners at Durham University using an object tagging system and a context-sensitive recommendation algorithm.

Method: This study creates a visual tagging system using a type of two-dimensional barcode called the QR Code and describes a tool designed to allow learners to use these ‘tags’ to learn about objects in a physical space. Information about objects features audio media as well as textual descriptions to make information appealing.
A collaboratively-filtered, user-based recommendation algorithm uses elements of a learner’s context, namely their university records, physical location and data on
the activities of users similar to them to create a top-N ranked list of objects that they may find interesting. The tool is evaluated in a case study with thirty (n=30) participants taking part in a task in a public space within Durham University. The evaluation uses quantitative and qualititative data to make conclusions as to the use
of the proposed tool for individuals who wish to learn informally.

Results: A majority of learners found learning about the objects around them to be an interesting practice. The recommendation system fulfilled its purpose and
learners indicated that they would travel a significant distance to view objects that were presented to them. The addition of audio clips to largely textual information
did not serve to increase learner interest and the implementation of this part of the system is examined in detail. Additionally there was found to be no apparent
correlation between prior computer usage and the ability to comprehend an informal learning tool such as the one described.

Conclusion: Context-sensitive, mobile tools are valuable for motivating Informal Learning. Interaction with tagged objects outside of the experimental setting
indicates significant learner interest even from those individuals that did not participate in the study. Learners that did participate in the experiment gained a better
understanding of the world around them than they would have without the tool and would use such software again in the future.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Science
Keywords:Informal Learning, Learning, Education, QRCodes, Two-Dimensional Barcodes, Barcodes, Tagging, Visual Tagging, Recommendations, Recommendation Algorithm
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Science > Engineering and Computing Science, School of
Thesis Date:2010
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:02 Dec 2010 11:30

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