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Developing Agent Oriented Mobile Learning System

Developing Agent Oriented Mobile Learning System

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Published by ijcsis
Mobile learning through the use of wireless mobile technology allows anyone to access information and learning materials from anywhere and at anytime. As a result, learners have control of when they want to learn and from which location they want to learn. This paper suggest a multi-agent architecture where different agents named interface agent, information agent, mobile agent, learning agent deals with different environments like user environment, network environment and information environment. The purpose of this paper is to formulate a functional architecture that supports the m-learning objectives. This paper is focused on the use of agent technology integrated with hypermedia concept. Mobile agents is used to reduce the communication cost, especially over low bandwidth links. A mathematical model for the time parameters of mobile agent is proposed. The proposed model is analyzed with experimental results. Caching technique is used to reduce the time parameter of mobile agent.
Mobile learning through the use of wireless mobile technology allows anyone to access information and learning materials from anywhere and at anytime. As a result, learners have control of when they want to learn and from which location they want to learn. This paper suggest a multi-agent architecture where different agents named interface agent, information agent, mobile agent, learning agent deals with different environments like user environment, network environment and information environment. The purpose of this paper is to formulate a functional architecture that supports the m-learning objectives. This paper is focused on the use of agent technology integrated with hypermedia concept. Mobile agents is used to reduce the communication cost, especially over low bandwidth links. A mathematical model for the time parameters of mobile agent is proposed. The proposed model is analyzed with experimental results. Caching technique is used to reduce the time parameter of mobile agent.

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Published by: ijcsis on May 17, 2012
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Developing Agent Oriented Mobile LearningSystem
Rajesh Wadhvani
Computer Science DepartmentNational Institute of TechnologyBhopal, IndiaEmail: wadhvani rajesh@rediffmail.com
Devshri Roy
Computer Science DepartmentNational Institute of TechnologyBhopal, IndiaEmail: devshriroy@manit.ac.in
 Abstract
—Mobile learning through the use of wireless mobiletechnology allows anyone to access information and learningmaterials from anywhere and at anytime. As a result, learnershave control of when they want to learn and from which locationthey want to learn. This paper suggest a multi-agent architecturewhere different agents named interface agent, information agent,mobile agent, learning agent deals with different environmentslike user environment, network environment and informationenvironment. The purpose of this paper is to formulate afunctional architecture that supports the m-learning objectives.This paper is focused on the use of agent technology integratedwith hypermedia concept. Mobile agents is used to reduce thecommunication cost, especially over low bandwidth links. Amathematical model for the time parameters of mobile agentis proposed. The proposed model is analyzed with experimentalresults. Caching technique is used to reduce the time parameterof mobile agent.
Keywords:
M-Learning, Hypermedia, Mobile agent, Learn-ing agent,I. INTRODUCTIONElectronic Learning is a term that includes web-basedinstruction, online learning, and other technology-based train-ing. Some of the advantages of e-learning as compared totraditional teaching methods are assessing information fromdistributed database over network, constant updating of knowl-edge, providing learning to learners with different age, sex,culture, education background, personal interest etc. Severale-Learning systems are available, for example, Blackboardlearning system [1], Apex learning [2], eFront [3] and Moodle[4] etc. Our objective is to develop a system that is onestep ahead and provide e-Learning at the hands of usersi.e. mobile learning. Mobile learning is considered as a newform of learning by using the wireless mobile communica-tions network technology and wireless mobile communicationsequipment (such as mobile phones), personal digital assistants(such as PDA, Pocket PC), and so on to access education,information, educational resources and education services.Mobile learning’s goal is that students can learn anything atany time, any place. The intersection of online learning andmobile computing gives birth to m-learning.One of the major constraints of mobile learning is difficultto develop learning environment for mobile users, since wecan’t use mobile devices in the same way, we use desktopcomputers. Mobile devices have distinct capabilities, such aslimited computing powers and small size screens. On otherhand, mobile devices differ from each other by their hardwareand software capabilities like computing power (processorpower, memory size), screen size and resolution, operatingsystem, web browser, script languages, file formats, etc. Anumber of aspects need to be dealt with before the truepotential of m-learning environment can be exploited. Some of these aspects include development of interface compatible toall kind of mobile devices [5]. The major requirement for anymobile learning system for the availability of learning contentanywhere in time are listed below
Systematic organization of learning contents in data stor-age for fast retrieval of requested learning material.
Reusability of the existing content if and when it ispossible.
Ability to access requested learning content from WorldWide Web (WWW) if content is not available in datastorage.
Need of synchronization between mobile devices and theremote data storage systems.
Autonomy for system components to effectively performits task in different environments.
Flexibility to transport learning contents with its compu-tational entity from one host platform to another.
Improved navigation and the access to a vast amount of information.
A well define interface compatible to present informationon all kind of mobile devices (cell phones, laptops,PDAs).To achieved the above mentioned requirements m-learningstrategy cannot be based on the simple transmission of content.Therefore we have developed a mobile learning system basedon multi agent framework in which each agent performsspecific task. Fast retrieval of required material is one of majorissue in mobile learning. If the requested information is notavailable in the server, the mobile agent migrates to otherserver. On receipt of the requested information, mobile agentmigrate back to the client. The retrieved learning materials arestored in the information server for future use. Hypermedia
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 10, No. 4, April 201293http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
technology is used for knowledge delivery which works wellwith all kinds of mobile devices[6]. Focus of this paper is todiscuss about the time parameters of mobile agent which isresponsible for accessing learning content from distributed en-vironment. Some mechanisms are incorporated which reducesthe access time for required learning content.This paper is organized as follows. Literature review ispresented in Section 2. Section 3 introduces the agent-basedlearning system. Description of the proposed agent architecturefor m-learning system is given in Section 4. Description of proposed model is given in section 5. Result analysis of themodel is given in section 6. Section 7 is the conclusion.II. RELATED WORKConsiderable research work has been conducted in the areaof using agent technology for education during last severalyears. Mobile agent technology in e-learning[7], multiagentsystems[8] and others are example of such. By using suchtechnology the teaching process can be moved from humaninstructor to artificial agents. Qingping Lin developed an Intel-ligent Mobile Agent Framework for Large-scale CollaborativeVirtual Environment in heterogeneous internet, that make itpossible to create Collaborative Virtual Environment (CVE) inthe popular Internet and making it easily accessible to moreonline users. [9]. S. Stoyanov developed the middleware archi-tecture for a distributed InfoStation-based network establishedwithin a University Campus that support context-aware mobileeLearning services provision[10]III. MOBILE AGENT TECHNOLOGYIn the traditional client/server-based computing architecturewhich is based on Remote Procedure Call (RPC) the proce-dure is stored at server side. Procedure parameters are sentfrom the client to the server and result returned; so data istransmitted between the client and server in both directions.Stored procedures are basically static entities; once they areuploaded to a server they belong to that server. A storedprocedure cannot migrate from server to server. Hence it worksbetter in environments which have two tiers architecture whereclient sends request from first tier and server at second tierprocesses the request and send result back to the client side.In case when server is unable to process the request it senderror message to the client. Where as a mobile agent is aprogram (encapsulating code, data, and context) sent by aclient to a server. Unlike a procedure call, if server is not ableto return the results to the client, the request could migrateto other servers. It thus has more autonomy than a simpleprocedure call and works well in mobile environments [11,12]. Architectural difference between client/server and agentbased techniques is shown in Fig.1.Agent can be defined as autonomous, computational en-tity capable of effectively performing operations in dynamicunpredictable environments. The recently developed mobileagent technology adds a new dimension to distributed comput-ing. Experts suggest that mobile agents will be used in manyInternet applications in the years to come[13 ]. The mobile
Fig. 1. Architectural Differance(Client Server Vs. Agent based Technique)
agent technology seems an attractive paradigm for developingdistributed m-learning systems because it solves the problemof heterogeneity and low-bandwidth network, process datalocally instead of transmitting the data over a network. Itcould accelerate development by using agent components andenhance modularity, reusability, flexibility and reliability. Inshort Mobile Agents are computational software processescapable of roaming wide area networks (WANs) such as theWWW, interacting with foreign hosts, gathering informationon behalf of its owner and coming back to the starting pointonce the predefined duties have been completed.IV. PROPOSED ARCHITECTUREThe development of the proposed architecture based on theframework of [14] and supported by Hypermedia technol-ogy.The proposed system architecture has a 3-tier structureas shown in Fig.2. 1st tier of the architecture encompassesuser mobile devices (cell phones, laptops, PDAs), equippedwith intelligent agents acting as Personal Assistants to users.It provide a well define interface to present information instructured hypertext form to a learner. 2nd tier consisting of Base Stations, facilitating the users mobile access to servicesthrough Bluetooth and/or WiFi wireless connections. Theirrole is to maintain connections with mobile devices, createand manage user sessions. They provide interface to globalservices offered by the InfoServer, and host local services(the presence and use of local services allow reducing theworkload of the Base Station). 3rd tier consist of a servernamed infoserver. It is the core of the overall architectureresponsible for learning content storage and management. It isalso concerned with controlling the base Stations and with the
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 10, No. 4, April 201294http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500
 
overall updating and synchronization of information across thesystem. Caching technique is used at all the tiers of the systemso that same information requested from different mobile userscan be delivered instantly.
Fig. 2. System Architecture
To achieve the functional requirements of proposed learningsystem Open hypermedia architecture is used with the aimof converting them to open systems and integrating theirfunctionality in any framework or application. Closed hy-permedia architecture like WWW browsers is avoided dueto the proprietary storage mechanism and very little or nointeroperability with all type of mobile devices. Fig.3 showsthe layered architecture of a generic open hypermedia system(OHS). Five types of conceptual entities are used which are:
Fig. 3. Layered Architecture
1) Interface: It is the frontend part of the system whichprovide structured hypermedia information to mobileuser. It takes input from the mobile device in the formof text strings or images and interprets user’s request forthe system.2) Input query processor: This part receive user requestfrom interface and translate it into data retrieval request.This request is then sent to the base station. If therequested learning content is available in the cache of the base station, it is delivered to the user. If it is notavailable in the base station, the data retrieval request isforwarded to the information server.3) Link service Provider: It is a computational entity whichhelps the input query processor when they resolvelinks endpoint. At the first tier of this architecture nocomputation is required to resolve the link endpointbecause data retrieval request may be satisfied by basestation if content is available at the cache. When thecontent is not available at cache of base station, linendpoints resolution occurs and computation is required.Link service Provider helps the input query processor toresolve the link endpoints when retrieval request goesto information server where it has multiple number of storage engines.4) Hyperbases: This part translates the generic data re-trieval request produce by input query processor into theprotocol used by the appropriate data storage engine.5) Learning content Storage Engine: At infoserver we havedatabases of learning content. Learning content storageengine may be any kind of process which searcheslearning content from these databases. In case whencontent is not available at infoserver, storage enginesearches required content from World Wide Web.Proposed architecture is based on multiple agent frame-works where agent is considered as a computing system thatsubstitutes a process to carry out an activity or to fulfil arequirement. An agent consists of two different parts. Oneis processing code, which is composed of the instructions thatdefine the behaviour of the agent and its intelligence, andthe current state of execution of the agent. And other is datawhich hold data and context in which data is used. Differentagents deal with different environments like user environment,network environment, and information environment. Insteadof user-initiated interaction via commands and/or direct ma-nipulation, the user is engaged in a co-operative process inwhich human and computer agents both initiate communi-cation, monitor events and perform task. This is due to thefact that a cooperative way facilitates the solution of manyteaching-learning problems. Proposed system has followingagents which work under above mentioned environments:1) Interface agent: The interface agents provide assistanceto the mobile user in accomplishing some simple taskslike allow the communication between user and rest of the system. The goal of this agent is to reduce theworkload of the user. This agent is proposed as anabstraction for end user to interact with front end mobile
(IJCSIS) International Journal of Computer Science and Information Security,Vol. 10, No. 4, April 201295http://sites.google.com/site/ijcsis/ISSN 1947-5500

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