E-Learning and Self-Assessment for Hands-On Labs in Higher European Education

Fritz Laux, Thomas Connolly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


“Learning by doing” in Higher Education in technical disciplines is mostly realized by hands-on labs. It challenges the exploratory aptitude and curiosity of a person. But, exploratory learning is hindered by technical situations that are not easy to establish and to verify. Technical skills are, however, mandatory for employees in this area. On the other side, theoretical concepts are often compromised by commercial products. The challenge is to contrast and reconcile theory with practice. Another challenge is to implement a self-assessment and grading scheme that keeps up with the scalability of elearning courses. In addition, it should allow the use of different commercial products in the labs and still grade the assignment results automatically in a uniform way. In two European Union funded projects we designed, implemented, and evaluated a unique e-learning reference model, which realizes a modularized teaching concept that provides easily reproducible virtual hands on labs. The novelty of the approach is to use software products of industrial relevance to compare with theory and to contrast different implementations. In a sample case study, we demonstrate the automated assessment for the creative database modeling and design task. Pilot applications in several European countries demonstrated that the participants gained highly sustainable competences that improved their attractiveness for employment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-113
JournalInternational Journal on Advances in Internet Technology
Issue number3&4
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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