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Overview

The Collaboration Technologies group has been dealing with different aspects of e-learning for several years. Our main interest is collaboration in e-learning, and how our collaboration technologies could be of help to e-learners.

Already in 2001, we were working on integrating ReachOut into IBM's WebLecture service, by attaching a ReachOut applet to every page and allowing students to ask questions and have discussions with their peers in different contexts, such as a single slide, a course, or a whole curriculum.

In recent years, we became interested in work-based learning. People in the workplace learn all the time, while performing their jobs. They encounter problems and seek solutions; they have to adapt themselves to new technologies, etc. The challenge in work-based learning is that it is mostly informal and unmoderated. It is our belief that collaboration is a key point here -- where peers serve as informal sources of knowledge and as the people to ask questions and discuss with, in the lack of a moderator.

In 2004, we conducted a study of the use of blogs for work-based learning. We conducted four different pilots of using blogs for learning. Our goal over these pilots was twofold: 1) We wanted to corroborate our hypotheses that using blogs for organizing and sharing study notes will improve the learning experience 2) We tried to collect comments and learn from the experience, in order to be able to enhance a blogging environment and adapt it for learning. Our experience and conclusions are summarized in a technical report.

In 2005, we are involved in a German project for Quality E-learning in Deutschland.