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Title: Enhancing e-learning by integrating knowledge management and social media
Author: Alkinani, Edrees
ISNI:       0000 0004 7224 7491
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Knowledge management (KM), e-learning, and social media are three academic research fields with several concepts in common. In e-learning, a competence is what students will be able to do by the end of the course. A competence consists of, at least, a capability verb and subject matter content. Students undertaking e-learning are usually given an assignment or task that corresponds to a competence. Thus, a learning task involves a number of competences, and achieving them results in completing the task successfully. Providing students with an ontological structure of the learning task could improve their learning, and the ontological structure of the task competences is considered to be a KM technique. The ontology will be constructed from various categories of subject matter that are linked to related competences. The learning task or assignment could be achieved collaboratively through introducing additional components to a teaching and learning situation. These are called collaborative working competences, and will be developed ontologically. They serve as the capability for collaboration in a social media context. Students can study both what is required for a given task or assignment and what is required for group working, then form and manage their own groups. There will be an application using a social media tool, such as Facebook, to support collaborative working on assignments and facilitate group formation. Thus, the integration of KM and social media may be expected to enhance e-learning. The student needs to undertake a number of activities, such as establishing the task competences, the collaborative working competences and the student skills, then selecting group members based on the available competences. Through these activities, a research conjecture is set up: if competences, including collaborative working, are ontologically structured through a social media application, then the students would achieve better learning results. More significantly, the research aims to contribute its Social Media Competence (SMC) application in order to provide students with ontologically structured competences to accomplish given assignments successfully. The SMC application supports better collaborative working and more professional group formation procedures by generating content from Facebook users’ profiles to compare their competences. The methods of constructing ontologies for task competences and collaborative working are described, and the design and implementation of the SMC application are presented. The application is integrated with a Facebook group in order to support collaboration. Besides exploring competences, students can contribute to the knowledge base by adding their own resources to a specific competence in a structured and organised manner. Experiments were carried out to evaluate the SMC application by asking students to answer given assignments collaboratively under two conditions: using the SMC application (app users) and using paper-based documentation (non-app users) in plain text format. In addition, students’ satisfaction was measured in a number of dimensions, such as evaluating ontologically structured competences and the actual groups’ collaborative working. The results revealed that the SMC application both enables groups of students to obtain higher results in given assignments and supports better collaborative working among them. In addition, the groups of students who used the SMC application were positively satisfied with its content. The ontologically structured competences were applied to teaching in order to improve teaching performance. The opinions of instructors were measured. The results showed that instructors would teach better by using ontologically structured competences in their teaching. Furthermore, the teaching and learning environment was investigated by using Facebook Groups. The opinions of instructors were measured in order to confirm whether it could enhance the teaching and learning environment through creating groups for module activities. The results revealed that instructors’ opinions positively confirmed that doing so would enhance the teaching and learning environment. This research contributes to the tasks of both learning and collaboration competences that are ontologically structured. The ontological design for learning tasks was based on subject matter categories, and enables students to achieve better learning results in a given assignment. This reflects the effective design of the ontology in terms of structuring classes, and analysing the competences and subject matter to be fitted into the ontology in an appropriate presentation. In addition, the research contributes ontologically structured competences for collaborative working. The ontology design for collaborative working was based on commonly available social skills, with related roles of performing each skill. It enables students to conduct their group work or a given assignment more effectively when using Facebook as a social media tool. Moreover, the research contributes to better group formation by reading the social information, such as professional skills, from students’ Facebook profiles in order to compare their competences in both the learning task and group work. Furthermore, the research contributes to teaching by applying ontologically structured competences to improve teaching performance. Finally, the research contributes to enhancing the teaching and learning environment by setting up Facebook groups for module activities.
Supervisor: Gilbert, Lester Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available