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PERLS: An Approach to Pervasive Personal Assistance in Adult Learning

2013; IITSEC; Freed, M.; Yarnall, L.; Dinger, J.; Gervasio, M.; Overholtzer, A.; Pérez-Sanagustin M.; Roschelle, J.; Spaulding, A.

Adult learners in both military and civilian settings increasingly use mobile devices for "Pervasive Learning" (Banavar et al., 2000; Thomas, 2007), which occurs without classrooms, instructors, and training facilities. By expanding options for what, when, and how we learn, Pervasive Learning has the potential to remedy stubborn deficiencies of traditional instruction. The central feature of PERLS is a virtual personal assistant that supports self-learning by recommending specific content, general topics, and various learning actions based on learners' interests, available time, and location. PERLS is intended to guide learners to resources located in both formal (closed corpus) and informal (open corpus) repositories. In this paper, we present the pedagogical design, user interface, system architecture,initial concept validation results, and field test goals for PERLS, a prototype PERvasive Learning System. The concept validation and field-testing take place in one civilian corporate context. The concept validation indicated that adult learners in the corporate setting favored limited use of "push" reminders to engage in learning and broader use of adaptive lists of content that have been intelligently informed by contextual data about their interests and available time for learning. Planned field tests will examine system functionality, usability, and impacts on self-learning habits around corporate onboarding content for new hires.

Contract: W911QY-12-C0171

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