European Journal of Engineering Education vol:22 issue:1 pages:61-74
ARIADNE is a concept of computer-based and telematics-supported educational schemes. It relies primarily on a number of interconnected knowledge pools and suitable strategies for using them, in academic education—either classical or at a distance—and for certain types of corporate continuing training. In ARIADNE, the term 'knowledge pool' refers to a large, indexed, storage of pedagogical elements and the set of tools, methodologies and infrastructures necessary for maintaining and exploiting it, to build and distribute structured curricula. This concept is meant to address the weaknesses of many 'open' training schemes advocating the usefulness of unlimited and free access to the World Wide Web (WWW). In our view, this immense—but scarcely structured— document repository can all too easily become a maze and offers, in itself, little incentive to serious learning. On the other hand, ARIADNE will use a WWW based net-interface, suitable for—and inter-operable with—most platforms commonly in use by would-be learners. ARIADNE addresses two categories of users: those who contribute to the knowledge pool system and develop training curricula (professors and pedagogical engineers) and those who may enlist in and follow these curricula (students and trainees). The system's design accounts for the need for collaboration and communication between (a) trainers, to create, customize, share and reuse pedagogical documents; (b) trainers and learners, for coaching/tutoring activities and supervision of learning; and (c) students/trainees, in peer-supported learning or group work. Long-term survival of any such technology-supported education system depends primarily on motivated participants: teachers and trainers, students and trainees, academic institutions and corporations should all find some practical advantage in its use. In this paper (Part 1), we present an overview of the ARIADNE concept, describing its pragmatic educational approach and its specific approach to authoring of pedagogical material and construction of usable curricula. In a forthcoming paper (Part 2), we will address its technological approach and present a brief review of the tools needed to implement the concept as a viable computer-based and telematics-supported distance—but also open or even classical— educational system.