ELEWA: Towards Technology Support for 21st Century Education

Student Name
Jente Rosseel
Thesis Type
Master Thesis
Thesis Status
Academic Year
2016 - 2017
Master in Applied Science and Engineering: Computer Science
Olga De Troyer

The digital revolution is producing an enormous transformation in how we live and work. Skills that determine effectiveness and success of individuals in this time, and the near future, are completely different than those in the recent past. They are called 21th century skills(Voogt & Roblin, 2012). Even though we do train citizens on mastery of this different set of skills, education has remained largely the same as about a hundred years ago. This results in a dire need for innovation in education.

In addition, in developing countries, education plays a crucial role on the way out of poverty. There is a direct correlation between learner outcomes, as measured by test scores, and individual earnings and productivity (The Global Education Monitoring Report team, 2005). Furthermore, well-educated citizens help building social and institutional capital. In turn, this increase has a strong impact on business capital and national growth (The Global Education Monitoring Report team, 2016). Education is thus one of the engines that can help lift a developing region. When we improve learning outcomes, we fuel that engine.

The integration of ICT in education holds great potential when it comes to improving learning outcomes and to teaching 21th century skills (Chai, Koh, Lim, & Tsai, 2014). An effective and meaningful integration of new technologies can furthermore produce the much needed innovation in education on a global scale. One form in which ICT is used in education, is through learning management systems. Such systems support all the aspects of learning in a single environment. However, mainstream eLearning systems suffer from a series of usability and integration challenges that hinder their uptake and impact.

We therefore present research that investigates the specific needs of Kenya’s educational sector, the types of technologies used in education, and modern learning theories. This knowledge is synthesized in the design of the Elewa LMS, a system that addresses the educational needs of a developing country, as well as the need for innovation for addressing the 21th century skills. To improve on traditional LMS systems, we dealt with their usability problems introduced the concept of knowledge graphs, which we based on the Connectivist learning theory and provide a framework for 21th century learning.