Exploring The Responsive Open Learning Environment (ROLE)


he Responsive Open Learning Environment, also known as ROLE is a project held by the European Union with the help of 16 research groups from 6 EU countries as well as from China. The technology is based around the concept that learners are capable of creating their own learning environment. This concept is called Self-Regulated Learned, or SRL.

1. Overview Of The Project

Responsive Open Learning Environment

ROLE consists of a set of widgets such as the language resource browser, the translator and the vocabulary trainer. All of these are obtained on the widget store and arranged on the user’s Personal Learning Environment screen. This program can be used in various ways. One can find some information he needs in an online text but not be familiar with some of the vocabulary of the concerned language. That is where the language resource browsers comes in – you may copy paste the link of the page and obtain information on terms you do not understand by selecting them; the translator widget will then a user to get a faithful translation of each word by putting the term in its context. The vocabulary trainer widget is used as a personal vocabulary list for terms one may find important and relevant to his future needs. The following part will be explaining ROLE’s relevance to education.

2. The Use Of ROLE In Education

ROLE is a set of tools that offers a new learning environment to its learners. It provides students with the Self-Regulated Learning concept making it learner-centered. ROLE is an alternative to the “one size fits all” model provided by teachers, enabling students to individually adapt their learning environment through a personalized tool. This can trigger a better motivation for students and provide a more efficient learning experience.

Here is a list of ROLE’s main educational objectives:

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    Individualize learning services

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    Provide accessible learning services, tools and resources in open learning environments

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    Expand ROLE results to more communities and a wider market

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    Create new methodologies so that learners and developers alike may contribute to ROLE

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    Develop a psychological and pedagogical framework

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    Develop an evaluation methodology in order to demonstrate ROLE’s effective educational concept

3. How Does It Work?

By exploiting the Cloud Computing Technology, ROLE bases its project on the idea of Personal Learning Environment. It uses external Web 2.0 sources such as Wikipedia, Youtube, Flickr and so on; allowing it to gather all existing and developing open educational content. ROLE’s infrastructure is built around the use of tools known as widgets and the collaboration with other learners. It is built in a way that it can extend the existing learning environment and is thereby able to draw an existing infrastructure and complement it by providing additional services to the teacher organization and student.

ROLE uses a Cloud based technology

ROLE wasn’t built from scratch with a completely new system for learners. It combines older programs with the use of widgets. The overall opportunity for the project is to enhance existing learning management systems and virtual learning environments so that they become more personalized, flexible, open and responsive. It gives an enormous potential to learners who want to be independent of an institutional organizational learning management system, extending to areas such as personal learning and community-based learning.

By following the trend of using a Cloud based technology, ROLE is able to extend the resources and support of any learning management system through its openly accessible tools.

4. Expanding Your Learning Environment

The ROLE widget store offers about 100 widgets as well as widget bundles which are sets of learning tools to support some particular learning goals and purposes. These widgets and widget bundles can be added to your personal learning environment.


“You know apps?  Those things that you get on your phone or that you automatically use on your computer.  That is what a widget is. It is as simple as that. All you have to do is download them and use them. “

Gillian Palmer, British Institute for Learning and Development

ROLE is ready to react to changes when new technologies are emerging. They are easy to integrate into the whole framework due to the communication facilities between the individual ROLE widgets. The project enabled people to think about drawing resources together in order to achieve a specific learning task. It is proven to be very responsive to individuals as well as very adaptive.

5. How Can You Benefit From Role?

Learners are given a tool that suits their individual needs. They can be provided with guidance on how to improve their learning. The widgets within the whole project are extremely flexible and blend with whatever system one is currently using. ROLE is the first time we are given the possibility to really customize our learning management system. Students, educators and companies alike have the possibility to create a very broad range of learning tools to assist their everyday learning needs.

ROLE is well suited for supporting lifelong learning beyond the borders of an institution. The project aims to develop the lifelong learning agenda so that one can integrate education and learning within the workplace as part of his normal everyday life.

“ROLE is essentially about enabling someone to become self-regulated, to become and independent learner by taking complete control over their learning process.”

Alexander Mikroyannidis, Open University UK.

6. What Are The Target Groups?

ROLE also serve as a support for teachers

ROLE does not only serve as a support for learners. It can also be used by people who are teaching and willing to receive a better feedback from the other side. It supports the teacher by collecting resources and sharing them with the students. Trainers and researchers also seem thrilled by the opportunity of building their own personal learning environment, taking ROLE tools, embedding them and using them actively for learning in the institutional learning management system. Everyone is able to make their own tools. The participation of developers or companies in the creation of tools can create a broad range suitable to everybody’s needs. One can pick and choose what he needs and leave out what he doesn’t.

7. How To Get Started?

By setting it up on your existing platform! All you need to do is go to the website, pick the widgets that you yourself want to use and put them together. It is web based and anyone can do it!

You may access ROLE’s official web page by clicking on this link: ROLE Project.

Ariadne ProjectExploring The Responsive Open Learning Environment (ROLE)