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Ph.D. THESIS

ADAPTIVE METHODOLOGY FOR COLLABORATIVE EVALUATION PROCESSES IN LEARNING ENVIRONMENTS

Author: Raquel M. Crespo García. Telecommunication Engineer.

Supervisor: Abelardo Pardo Sánchez. Ph.D. in Computer Science.

Year: 2007.

 



 ABSTRACT

 

The evolution of the Information and Communication Technologies is causing deep social changes. This transformation raises new educational challenges, stemmed from the necessity to train the individuals for the Knowledge Society.

In parallel, current pedagogical trends emphasize three key factors in the learning process. On one hand, the active role played by the student, main character of his/her own formative development. On the other hand, the social nature of learning, insisting on the importance of interactions among the students and collaborative learning. Finally, the need to adapt the learning process according to student's characteristics, in response to cognitive learning models.

According to novel pedagogical models, the introduction of Information and Communication Technologies in the educational context gives new chances, making easy student monitoring, access to personalized contents and interaction among the different actors involved in the process, generating scenarios in which students' active participation and initiative prevail.

Therefore, during the last decades the educational activity has been experimenting deep changes, reflection of the social transformation, the evolution of the pedagogical theories on which it is based and the introduction of new technologies. Evaluation, as an inherent part of the educational process, is also affected by this evolution. Thus, a peak of alternative evaluation models, characterized by active participation of the students and a strong formative propose, can be witnessed.

Among them, peer review fits naturally in the current pedagogical framework, making the students take the responsibility of evaluation and facilitating knowledge exchange by means of collaboration between authors and reviewers. % Nevertheless, application of peer review in educational environments usually follows a non-differentiating approach, ignoring the guidelines about adaptation promoted by the very same schools of pedagogy on which it is based.

This thesis tackles the problem of integrating adaptation to the student, essential for current pedagogy, in the educational peer review methodology.

As a result of the study of pedagogical models, it is proposed the influence of the student's cognitive profile in the results of the peer review process, and the consequent need for adapting such process depending on students' characteristics. The analysis of the activities and learning mechanisms related to peer evaluation leads to identify the author-reviewer matching process as the characteristic mechanism of the methodology in which the adaptation should be integrated.

Based on the previous premises, a generic, flexible, expressive and intuitive model has been proposed for specifying the criteria to be applied for matching the reviewers. In order to facilitate the adoption of the proposed methodology, a reviewers assignment system has been developed which, based on the latter model, allows to consider pedagogical and adaptive criteria in the process of reviewers selection, in addition to the validity requirements intrinsic to the process.

Finally, a main objective of this thesis has been its empiric evaluation, which has led to the application of the proposed methodology to real educational environments. Its application to two completely different subjects has allowed to contrast and adjust the theoretical ideas proposed, and to evaluate the validity, capacity for generalization of the proposed model as well as the developed system. Experimental results validate the hypothesis on which this thesis is based, confirming the influence of the student's level of knowledge and the effect of the reviewers matching criteria in the process results.



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