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Teaching and Learning Differently: Personalized E-Books for Learning (PEBL)

2017; IITSEC; Robson, E.;  Berking, P.

Although current eBooks are little more than print shown in an e-reader, as a mobile, connected platform, eBooks have the unrealized potential to support more pedagogical approaches than traditional books, including experiential, problem-based, dynamic, and social learning. To realize this potential, the Personalized eBooks for Learning (PEBL) project has developed a specification that enables new capabilities in eBooks while maintaining the advantages of the “book” format. The PEBL project, funded by the U.S. ADL Initiative, has extended the standard EPUB3 format to enable eBooks to communicate with other systems in live, virtual, simulated, and constructive environments; to embed and exchange data with simulations, games, and intelligent tutoring systems; and to serve as competency-based training environments. This paper describes new pedagogical approaches that are enabled by PEBL that go beyond the affordances of current eBooks, and outlines the modular and expandable structure of the PEBL specification. New capabilities include: book content triggered by the learner skills and competency levels; instructor-driven content brokering; dynamic individual and team progress dashboards and native analytics; and exercises in which learners communicate and collaborate with each other. These can each be separately provided by different learning technologies, but not all together in the convenient, media-rich, portable eBooks. To demonstrate these capabilities, this paper reports on a next-generation cyber security eBook that contains examples of many of the new features and functionality available through PEBL-compliant eBooks and eReaders. We discuss both the pedagogic approaches and technical implementations used in the Cybersecurity demonstration PEBL eBook, and how this eBook has integrated with other technologies using the ADL’s Total Learning Architecture (TLA). Finally, this paper outlines the possibilities for using PEBL-enabled eBooks in conjunction with virtual and mixed reality training, and we outline other implementations and specifications related to PEBL that have resulted from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Actionable Data Book Industry Connections activity.