Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Online Marketplace for Modularized and Measurable Educational Goods and Services

Technology #5259

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Yaoyun Shi
Managed By
Drew Bennett
Associate Director - Software Licensing 734-615-4004

E-Learning The huge demands on tutoring and supplementary instructions are currently met mainly local and in person interactions, while a huge online potential supply is left untapped. The E-Learning or online education market has grown rapidly in higher education and industry, yet most online portals attempt to mirror the traditional face-to-face classroom experience with generally less than favorable results or lack the ability to measure the progress of individual students in the content provided. An integrated solution is required to capture a large share of the rapidly growing $18.2 billion e-Learning market.

Learning Management Systems Researchers in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at the University of Michigan have developed a method for creating an online marketplace for educational goods and services. Modularization and Measurability are the two key features that differentiate our system from existing online marketplaces. Modularization means that each goods/service is listed under a piece of “Atomic Knowledge”, which may correspond to a concept, an object, a procedure, a chapter in a typical textbook, the content of a typical lecture, etc. The goods/services include online or local tutoring, lecture videos, animations, games, etc. Modularization is to standardize the substances and the goals of those goods/services. Measurability means that the system provides tools for quantitative and accurate measurement on the command of the knowledge. For each piece of atomic knowledge, the system has a test library. A student may use the library for self-assessment before and/or after a learning episode. The cumulative statistics on a product are used to measure the effective of the product. The system is able to generate tests for a collection of knowledge, simulating a term exam or a standard test such as SAT.

Applications • E-Learning marketplace • Learning Management Systems

Advantages • Modularization breaks down the learning process into incremental stages, sharpens the goal for each stage, and defines unambiguously the objective of the offered goods/services. Advantages over current options. • Modularization creates a leveled playing field for vendors to compete, and leads to specialization so that the most competitive vendors on that specific module excel. • Modularization maximizes flexibility on the students to choose the best combinations. • Measurability provides effective tools for the students' self-assessment. • Measurability provides accurate signals to the buyer on the product quality, thus removing • The uncertainty in quality expectation that often deters a buyer from making purchase.