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Sylvain Dehors

Phd Student in the ACACIA team

thesis: Semantic Web and E-learning

E-learning is a very broad term encompassing many different usages of computers in a learning situation. Not only affecting distance learning, computers are now a classic medium for education at any level. Still there is much to be done to fully understand and take advantage of the introduction of this new communication channel in the learning situation.
In parallel the development of the World Wide Web gives us access to an overwhelming mass of information. However this information is not really "understandable" by computer programs. On the contrary in the vision of a "semantic web", human and machines share knowledge and data across the web using standard formalisms.

From the beginning the semantic web vision is seen as very promising for many application domains, especially learning. My PhD work focuses on how this can be effectively the case. Relying on W3C standard formalisms and the experience of the Acacia Team in the area of Knowledge Management, I propose in this work a sustainable approach, benefiting from semantic web technologies, to tackle a standard e-learning problem of accessing on-line learning resources.

Some technological aspects of this work are supported by the Corese semantic search engine. This software developed by Acacia, answers SPARQL queries on an RDF base of annotations, and ontologies in RDF(S) and OWL-lite. The integration of this engine allows to quickly deploy high quality semantic web application.

Current and past research activities:

Following the spread of the web in education areas, a mainstream idea (the Learning Object paradigm) and emerged and stated that a course could be created from heterogeneous bits and pieces found on the Web. A big effort was spent to offer a metadata scheme that would be used to describe the objects and thus allow search, selection and combination to create tailored courses. To evaluate the resulting IEEE LOM standard, I loaded its RDF binding in Corese (considering this model as an ontology) and set up an on line tool to annotate potential learning objects guided by this scheme. The application can be tested at http://ubaye.inria.fr:8080/biblio_test/ . Unfortunately the standard defines very few pedagogically-related concepts, which reduces greatly its interest.

A first experiment of accessing on-line courses, has been conducted in 2005, with a signal analysis introductory course for first year computer engineering students. The experimental application gives access to course content through an "active" reading. This system called QBLS for (Question Based Learning System) is described in several publications and is freely accessible at http://ubaye.inria.fr:8080/exp_weblearn/cours (login:invite,password:invite).

In the context of the Knowledge Web Network of Excellence, I am involved in WP3 "education area". The aim of this project is to set up a learning community about the semantic web. Several scenarios and user profiles have been defined. An on-line repository stores learning material contributed by many partners, and this is to be extended by a demonstration platform (ASPL for Advanced Semantic Platform for Learning) by useful services based on themselves on semantic technology. I offer the QBLS service to ease access to resources on the repository. Resources are annotated by a domain vocabulary and a pedagogical ontology.

A large scale experiment has been conducted from sept05 to jan06 using a java course for computer engineering students. Course content was entirely accessible on-line and annotated by a domain vocabulary expressed in SKOS and a pedagogical ontology. This work exemplifies several contributions on both the methodological and technical aspects of semantic web technologies for learning. The interface can be accessed through http://ubaye.inria.fr:8080/prog101/cours; however in this demo the adaptation features are not available without a login.


  1. PDFS.Dehors, C. Faron-Zucker, R. Dieng-Kuntz, QBLS:Semantic Web Technology for E-learning in Practice , In 15th International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Knowledge Management, Czech Republic, 2nd-6th October 2006.
  2. PDFS.Dehors, C. Faron-Zucker, R. Dieng-Kuntz, Reusing Learning Resources based on Semantic Web Technologies, In 6th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, ICALT 2006, Kerkrade, The Netherlands, July 2006.
  3. PDFS.Dehors, C. Faron-Zucker, QBLS: A Semantic Web Based Learning System, In World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications, ED-MEDIA 2006, Orlando, June 2006.
  4. PDFDehors Sylvain, Faron-Zucker Catherine, Giboin Alain, Stromboni Jean-Paul (2005). Semi-automated Semantic Annotation of Learning Resources by Identifying Layout Features. In International Workshop on Applications of Semantic Web Technologies for E-Learning, AIED2005, Amsterdam, juillet 2005.
  5. PDFBuffa Michel, Dehors Sylvain ,Faron-Zucker Catherine, Sander Peter (2005). Towards a Corporate Semantic Web Approach in Designing Learning Systems: Review of the TRIAL SOLUTION Project. In International Workshop on Applications of Semantic Web Technologies for E-Learning, AIED2005, Amsterdam, juillet 2005.
  6. PDFPoster école d'été EIAH 2005
  7. PDFDehors Sylvain, Faron-Zucker Catherine, Giboin Alain, Stromboni Jean-Paul (2005). QBLS : web sémantique de formation pour un apprentissage par questionnement, In Environnements Informatiques pour l'Apprentissage Humain, EIAH 2005, Montpellier, mai 2005.
  8. PDFDehors Sylvain, Faron-Zucker Catherine, Stromboni Jean-Paul, Giboin Alain (2005). Des Annotations Sémantiques pour Apprendre : l’Expérimentation QBLS. In Actes Journée Thématique WebLearn sur le Web sémantique pour le e-Learning, plateforme AFIA 2005, Nice, 31 mai 2005.
  9. PDFBuffa Michel, Dehors Sylvain, Faron-Zucker Catherine, Sander Peter (2005). Vers une approche Web Sémantique dans la conception d'un système d'apprentissage. Revue du projet TRIAL SOLUTION. In Actes de la Journée thématique WebLearn sur le Web sémantique pour le e-Learning, plate-forme AFIA'2005, Nice, 31 mai 2005.
  10. PDFDehors Sylvain, Faron-Zucker, Catherine, Giboin Alain, Stromboni Jean-Paul (2005). Un web semantique de formation par questionnement, In Actes de l'Atelier Extraction et Gestion des Connaissances dans les EIAH, EGC2005, Paris, janvier 2005.


do not hesitate to contact me: sylvain.dehors@sophia.inria.fr

tel : +33 (0)4 9238 7767
Batiment Borel, BS11
équipe ACACIA
Inria Sophia-Antipolis - 2004 route des lucioles
B.P. 93

updated 06/05/06

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