Regionally distributed architecture for dynamic e-learning environment (RDADeLE)
e-Learning is becoming an influential role as an economic method and a flexible mode of study in the institutions of higher education today which has a presence in an increasing number of college and university courses. e-Learning as system of systems is a dynamic and scalable environment. Within this environment, e-learning is still searching for a permanent, comfortable and serviceable position that is to be controlled, managed, flexible, accessible and continually up-to-date with the wider university structure. As most academic and business institutions and training centres around the world have adopted the e-learning concept and technology in order to create, deliver and manage their learning materials through the web, it has become the focus of investigation. However, management, monitoring and collaboration between these institutions and centres are limited. Existing technologies such as grid, web services and agents are promising better results. In this research a new architecture has been developed and adopted to make the e-learning environment more dynamic and scalable by dividing it into regional data grids which are managed and monitored by agents. Multi-agent technology has been applied to integrate each regional data grid with others in order to produce an architecture which is more scalable, reliable, and efficient. The result we refer to as Regionally Distributed Architecture for Dynamic e-Learning Environment (RDADeLE). Our RDADeLE architecture is an agent-based grid environment which is composed of components such as learners, staff, nodes, regional grids, grid services and Learning Objects (LOs). These components are built and organised as a multi-agent system (MAS) using the Java Agent Development (JADE) platform. The main role of the agents in our architecture is to control and monitor grid components in order to build an adaptable, extensible, and flexible grid-based e-learning system. Two techniques have been developed and adopted in the architecture to build LOs' information and grid services. The first technique is the XML-based Registries Technique (XRT). In this technique LOs' information is built using XML registries to be discovered by the learners. The registries are written in Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) format. The second technique is the Registered-based Services Technique (RST). In this technique the services are grid services which are built using agents. The services are registered with the Directory Facilitator (DF) of a JADE platform in order to be discovered by all other components. All components of the RDADeLE system, including grid service, are built as a multi-agent system (MAS). Each regional grid in the first technique has only its own registry, whereas in the second technique the grid services of all regional grids have to be registered with the DF. We have evaluated the RDADeLE system guided by both techniques by building a simulation of the prototype. The prototype has a main interface which consists of the name of the system (RDADeLE) and a specification table which includes Number of Regional Grids, Number of Nodes, Maximum Number of Learners connected to each node, and Number of Grid Services to be filled by the administrator of the RDADeLE system in order to create the prototype. Using the RST technique shows that the RDADeLE system can be built with more regional grids with less memory consumption. Moreover, using the RST technique shows that more grid services can be registered in the RDADeLE system with a lower average search time and the search performance is increased compared with the XRT technique. Finally, using one or both techniques, the XRT or the RST, in the prototype does not affect the reliability of the RDADeLE system.
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