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Department of Psychology
University of Graz            



ELEKTRA - Enhanced Learning Experience and Knowledge transfer

ELEKTRA (www.elektra-project.org) is a Specific Targeted Research or Innovation Project (STREP) funded by the European Commission. In this project nine partners from six European countries are involved.

Consortium Members:

Laboratory for Mixed Realities, Germany
Klett Verlag, Germany
ORT, France
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
University of Liége, Belgium
University of Graz, Austria
Center for Advanced Imaging, Germany
broadview.tv GmbH, Germany

Team members at CSS:
Prof. Dietrich Albert
Dr. habil. Jürgen Heller (until November 2006)
Mag. Michael D. Kickmeier-Rust
Dipl.-Psych. Stephanie Linek
Mag. Birgit Mayer
Dipl.-Ing. Claudia Repitsch

ELEKTRA will develop an innovative design and development methodology for producing e-learning experiences. This methodology will be derived from combining State of the Art (SoA) research in cognitive science, pedagogical theory and neuroscience with best industrial practice in computer game design and e-learning software design.
As a demonstrator ELEKTRA will produce a 3D virtual reality based virtual learning environment, in which learners can experience learning experiences as rich as gaming experiences. These enhanced learning experiences will improve the knowledge transfer of the learner through innovative knowledge representation and visualisation: The learners will be able to actively interact with and visualise the relationships between concepts and engage in multimodal approach of concepts. The anticipated outcome of ELEKTRA is new approach to design and development of e-learning experiences that is underpinned and supported by research and evaluation findings.

The aim of the ELEKTRA project is the creation of an e-learning game that is apt to overcome the main problems of the existing SoA e-learning games.
• SoA e-learning games use traditional learning methods that are ineffective and do not motivate the learner
• SoA e-learning games do not offer an immersive and coherent learning experience. They lack a holistic approach that combines the actual learning with the gameplay in one immersive and interactive environment (gameworld).
• In general SoA e-learning games can not be used in class room or for classroom related homework.

In response to these problems ELEKTRA’s interdisciplinary research and development work will utilize design elements and concepts of SoA computer games in order to combine the motivating and immersive game experience in such games with e-learning techniques that are required for knowledge representation and transfer.
The main research challenge for ELEKTRA is the successful enhancement and integration of both worlds – SoA computer games and SoA e-learning techniques - in one virtual learning environment.
Therefore the following design concepts and elements used in SoA computer games on the one hand and SoA e-learning techniques on the other hand will be adopted for their integration in ELEKTRA’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE):

SoA computer game elements that will contribute to ELEKTRA’s VLE:
• Visualization (appealing 3D-graphics and animation)
• Interaction and Navigation (User centric perspective, intuitive navigation in a 3D-environment, dynamic gameplay, simulation and interactivity)
• Storytelling & Emotion ( dramaturgical elements and narrative scenes in games, that enrich and drive the gameplay by means of using NPCs )
• Inherent didactic design (challenge, goals, adventure & discovery, etc.)

SoA e-learning elements that will contribute to ELEKTRA’s VLE:
• Learner modelling and assessment (learner model, assessment and adaptivity)
• Knowledge representation (knowledge structure; concept maps and ontologies)
• Learning content (Learning object modelling, Meta data for learning objects)

The integration of these elements for ELEKTRA’s VLE will take place in the development of ELEKTRA’s framework. This development will be based on pedagogical, cognitive and neuroscientific research that enframes the overall development work with a design methodology for game-based VLEs.
The ELEKTRA framework will be used as a demonstrator by providing a platform upon which research can apply the pedagogical learning game scenarios and build a playable learning game based on ELEKTRA’s methodology for game-based VLEs.

Image courtesy of LMR

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