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The IEEE Standard for Learning Technology Systems Architecture (LTSA)

The IEEE Standard for Learning Technology Systems Architecture (LTSA)

  By: Dr Hamid Mukhtar

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering (IEEE) is world’s largest professional organization that has millions of members world-wide both from academia and industry. In additional to promoting cross-cutting research, IEEE defines standards for new and emerging technologies. One of such standards is related to the use of IT in learning.

The Learning Technology Systems Architecture (LTSA) is a draft standard from IEEE that specifies a high-level architecture for information technology-supported learning, education, and training systems. It also describes the high-level system design and the components of these systems. Overall, the standard is pedagogically-, content-, culturally-, implementation-, and platform-neutral. Understanding the standard will facilitate the development of guidelines for general learning technology systems including computer-based training, computer assisted instruction, intelligent tutoring, etc.

As an example, while developing a Learning Management Systems such as Moodle or Blackboard, one can identify the necessary and sufficient components, their interconnection, placement, access, storage, etc.  Thus, students in MS-ITE should have adequate understanding of the architectural design which is generic and applicable in a variety of situations and scenarios.

Figure 1 shows the LTSA system components. Here, the ovals represent processes, the rectangles represent stores for saving information and the arrows represent flow of data/information among the processes and stores. As can be seen, the learner entity (student in general) is connected to the process of delivery and evaluation involving a coach (a teacher, mentor or other similar role). The coach uses the process of delivery from the learning resources store. The evaluation process keeps history of the learner through learner records store which is accessible to the coach as well.

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Figure 1. The LTSA system components

The draft also describes the learner-environment interaction through learner’s acquisition, transfer, exchange, formulation, discovery, etc., of knowledge and/or information through interaction with the environment (Appendix C of the document.)

As a take away lesson, the ITE students need to understand the system design at an abstract level. When designing any system or application, this can be used as a reference point. In addition, when developing systems for industry, conformance to such standards leads to better acceptance in the market.

Resources:

IEEE Standard for Learning Technology—Learning Technology Systems Architecture (LTSA). IEEE Std 1484.1™-2003. Available online: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/mostRecentIssue.jsp?punumber=8897. (This resource is accessible from within NUST.)

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