TARGET Project

eXact learning solutions Concludes Major R&D Project

Sestri Levante (IT), September 2012 - The research and development department of eXact learning solutions, a leading online and mobile-learning content-management solutions provider, is working on a state-of-the-art technology-enhanced learning (TEL) environment based on serious games that supports individuals' rapid competence development within the domain of project management.

This work is part of the EU project called Transformative, Adaptive, Responsive, and enGaging EnvironmenT (TARGET), which aims to research, analyse, and develop a new genre of TEL environment.

As a technical partner in the TARGET project, eXact learning solutions' R&D department is supporting learning via reflection through the Competence Performance Analyzer (CPA). This tool allows learners to review their learning experiences by presenting the playback as a video recording along with a graph that synchronously assesses learners' performance and depicts their competence scores.

Fabrizio Cardinali, CEO of eXact Learning Solutions' North America and Australia operations and Senior Vice President of the company's Global Business Development, explained, "Increasing global competition for highly skilled people has led organisations to accept the need - as a key business strategy - to retain and re-train their existing staff via tailored programmes that reduce the 'time-to-competence' (TTC) for each learner. Adding advanced learning personalisation features to our leading LCMS and DR technologies is core to our strategy and leading our current engagement within the EU R&D TEL agenda."

The TARGET platform consists of a set of innovative, advanced tools and services. The learner faces complex situations in the form of game scenarios and interacts with these results in enriched experiences leading to knowledge acquisition.

TARGET provides learners with three scenarios:

  • Stakeholder Management - training for complex and controversial decision situations; promoting understanding of the importance of external communication in projects, and dealing with involved stakeholders;
  • Social Architect - stimulating learning about how a project manager establishes a project team as a self-governing social system where all team members have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and are committed to the project;
  • Sustainable Global Manufacturing - performing a lifecycle assessment (LCA) in a global manufacturing enterprise that is producing household machinery, such as coffee machines.

TARGET separates the learning process in four phases:

  • Plan - when the learners decide their desired learning outcome in the form of a set of competences. This leads to the creation of an individual learning plan.
  • Execution - the learner selects and then enacts a role within a story, resulting in a learning experience. While engaged with the story, the system provides an environment where the learner engages with other characters (controlled by another learner or by a "non-player character") and the environment. These decisions change the context of the story. During a story, the system monitors the learner's actions, taking into account the desired learning outcomes - and, if necessary, making changes to the story.
  • Reflection - after the learner's story experience has ended, the learner receives an assessment of competence in the form of a timeline. Referencing the assessment at each point during the learning experience allows learners to reflect on and thus evaluate their performance.
  • Repertoire Building - through reflection and via engagement with others.

Fabrizio Giorgini, Head of eXact learning solutions' R&D department continued, "In addition to its work on the TARGET project, our R&D department is active in many European Commission projects. These include ICT research under the EU's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the Lifelong Learning Programme, and the Information Communication Technologies Policy Support Programme (ICT-PSP) of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). eXact learning solutions is also EC R&D advisory consultant for technology-enhanced learning digital contents programs."

He added, "Our projects focus on cutting-edge research areas on learning-content management, including

  • new-generation, open, modular software architectures based on cutting-edge technologies (web services, semantic web, 3g devices and networks) and oriented to a seamless integration of eLearning with content and knowledge-management systems with third-party software products;
  • highly interactive content production based on innovative pedagogical approaches (simulation, role playing, case-based reasoning, learning-by-doing, and collaborative learning);
  • new solutions for training services using blended environments, and
  • mobile (context-awareness and location-based services)."