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Creating a Learning Design using the CADMOS tool

The philosophy of the CADMOS tool


CADMOS is a graphical tool that can be used by a teacher who wants to easily design a unit of
learning (a course module, a seminar, etc). CADMOS is an acronym of the words Courseware
Development Methodology for Open instructional Systems.

The tool belongs to the category of the graphical learning design (LD) tools. It has also been designed
to help teachers/practitioners/course designers import existing IMSLD designs (created by another
tool such as Reload) as well as export their own designs in IMS LD format (Level A, B) while, at the
same time, trying to be designer friendly thus hiding the technical details of the IMS LD specification.

It advocates the concept of the separation of concerns for the design of a unit of learning. This
concept comes from architecture and the web engineering field and says that in order to create a
design one should create various design models which will be specific views of the product under
design.

CADMOS suggests the creation of two design models for a unit of learning: the conceptual model and
the flow model.

The Conceptual Model (LD ConceptualModel) defines the learning tasks that a student or a
group of students must perform as well as the support tasks that a teacher/tutor must do
during the learning process. Each of these tasks is associated to a learning resource (digital
asset) like text files, music files, video etc., or a learning service such as forum, chat, voting
system, etc.
The conceptual model of a unit of learning looks like a concept map or a tree structure,
whose root is the title of the unit of learning and its children are the learning & support
tasks. A learning or support task might be simple (simple task) or composite (composite
task). A composite task consists of many simple tasks that all are assigned to the same actor
e.g. a student, a teacher, a pair of students, etc. So a composite task and its simple tasks
should be assigned to the same actor. Of course, a composite task must consist of at least
two simple tasks.
A composite task has the following properties:
1. Title
2. Description
3. Actor
A simple task has the following properties:
1. Title
2. Description
3. Actor
4. Type (informative, theory, example, assessment, feedback, scaffold, simulation-
modeling, communicative)
5. Learning Goal
6. Prerequisite
A resource has the following metadata:
1. Title

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2. Description
1. Type (hypertext, audio, video, assessment, forum, quiz)
3. Author
4. Copyright
5. Resource File

The Flow Model (LD FlowModel) defines the sequence of the execution of the tasks specified
at the conceptual model. In particular, it consists of swim lanes, one for each actor specified
in the conceptual model. Each swim lane defines the order in which the correspondent actor
performs the tasks. The simple tasks that belong to a composite task are grouped inside a
frame so as to be obvious their association.
The order of execution (i.e the flow) might be associated to various factors/conditions like
time -a task should be completed by a specific date-, the prerequisites a task cannot start
before another task is completed- as well as specific rules that the designer might specify.
Additionally the teacher may divide the flow into phases.

Using CADMOS, a designer starts creating the conceptual model of a learning unit by arranging the
learning and support activities on the design canvas and defining all the necessary
properties/metadata. Then, the tool automatically creates the flow model by putting the specified
activities the one after the other in the swim lane of the corresponding actor. The simple tasks of a
composite activity are grouped together in a specific frame. The sequential order of the learning
tasks of a specific actor in a swim lane, accords to the way they were drawn at the conceptual model,
i.e. from left to right. In fact, the designer can change their order in the flow model. Rules can also be
added in the flow model. A designer cannot delete an activity from the LD flow model because they
are aligned to the activities specified at the conceptual model.

In the following section, an example of how to use the CADMOS for creating a learning design is
given.

Using CADMOS Tool


CADMOS is a windows-based standalone design tool that was built using Adobe FLASH 8 and action
script 2. Here we present CADMOS tool version 1.8.
Starting the CADMOS tool the designer has three options: New, Open, Import IMS LD (Figure 1). By
making the first choice (New) the designer starts designing a new lesson from scratch. By making the
second option (Open) the designer opens an existing learning design (LD) made by CADMOS. If the
designer clicks on Import IMSLD, the tool opens an existing IMS LD manifest file and converts it to a
learning design using the notation/symbols of the CADMOS tool.

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Figure 1 Initial screen of CADMOS

Creating a New Learning Design


When the designer chooses to create a new learning design the following screen (Figure 2) appears,
where the designer may choose to create his/her own learning design or to select one of the
following learning strategies: TPS, JIGSAW, PYRAMID or POE. If s/he decides to create a new LD then
the third screen (Figure 3) appears in which s/he has to define the title, a short description and the
learning goals of the unit of learning to be designed. It is obligatory to complete the title field as well
as at least one learning goal in order to proceed to the next screen.

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Figure 2 Second screen of CADMOS

Figure 3 Third screen of CADMOS

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In the following screen (Figure 4) the designer can give the prerequisites of the unit of learning that
will be designed. However there may be no prerequisites. Also in this screen the designer must
specify the actors who will perform tasks in the unit of learning. CADMOS proposes learner, group
and staff roles, but the designer may create his/her own roles as we can see in Figure 4.

Figure 4 Fourth screen of CADMOS

The designer has the possibility to change the metadata of the unit of learning at anytime, by clicking
on the Course Info button (shown in Figure 5), as we will discuss later.
The following screen shows the design canvas where the designer will create the learning design
starting from the LD Conceptual Model (Figure 5). On the left of the canvas there is the conceptual
model toolbar. In the middle of the canvas we can see the icon with the title of the lesson that the
designer gave in previous step. Over the canvas two tabs exist that show which model the design is
working on, i.e. LD Conceptual Model or LD Flow Model. The designer can move from one model to
the other by selecting the appropriate tab.

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Figure5 Design Canvas of CADMOS with the title of the unit of learning

The Conceptual Model toolbar consists of the following elements:

1. Activities

It contains the composite activity icon and the simple activity icon .
By choosing the composite activity icon, the designer inserts a composite activity on the
canvas. The designer sets the title of the composite activity. Then by right clicking on the icon
of the composite activity inserted and choosing the command Composite activity
Properties the designer can define its description and the associated actor. actor Next, by
choosing the simple activity icon, the designer inserts in
n the canvas a simple activity and its
title can be specified. Then
hen by right clicking on the simple task and choosing the command
simple Activity Properties
Properties the designer can add descriptions for the following metadata:
metadata
A short description of the task
The type of the task (informative,
informative, theory, example, assessment, feedback, scaffold,
simulation-modeling,
modeling, communicative)
communicative
The actor of the task (required)
The learning goal of the task
The prerequisite knowledge for this task

The designer must at least specify the actor of a simple activity (compulsory field) in order to
close the dialog box of the activity properties. A simple activity can be connected to a
composite activity if they have the same type of actor (e.g. learner),
learner), which means that all the
simple activities that are part of a composite activity must have the same actor, actor too.
Otherwise, CADMOS will show a warning message.
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2. Resource

By clicking on the specific icon the designer inserts a resource onn the canvas and sets
the title. Then the designer can right click on it and choose the command Resource
Properties in order to fill in the following resources metadata:
Description
Type (hypertext, audio, video, assessment, forum, quiz)
Author
Copyright (free, proprietary)
pr
Resource File
3. Links
The designer can connect the title of the lesson with a simple or a composite
compos activity as well
as a composite activity with the corresponding simple activities by using the link icon
. For associating a simple activity with a resource, the designer can use the link icon
.
4. Actions
For deleting an element that appears on the canvas (i.e. an a activity,, a link,
li a resource) the
designer should click on the element (for choosing it) and then click on the delete button
of the toolbar.
toolbar The same happens if the designer clicks Delete
Delete or Backspace
from the keyboard after having chosen the element to be deleted.
deleted Also the designer can add

any comment in the design by using the comments button .

In order to add an element on the canvas, the designer just clicks on it in the toolbar. If s/he
wants to link two items s/he clicks on the corresponding line, s/he goes on the icon of the first
item and when the mouse pointer is converted to a hand, s/he clicks, drags and drops over the
icon of the final item.

The following Figures show:


show i) an example of a learning unit that consists of a simple activity
connected to a resource (Figure
Figure 6), ii) the dialog box with the properties of a simple activity
(Figure 7), iii) the dialog box with the properties of a resource (Figure 8)) and iv) an elaborated
version of a conceptual model of a learning unit (Figure 9).

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Figure 6 A simple activity with the corresponding related resource

Figure 7 Properties of a simple activity


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Figure 8 Properties of a resource

Figure 9 Learning Design Conceptual Model of the unit of learning entitled


Programming Fundamentals
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After having completed the design of the conceptual model, the designer can click on the LD Flow
Model tab and the flow model will be automatically created by putting the activities of each actor in
a swim lane, the one after the other, in the order that have been set in the conceptual model from
left to right (Figure 9). The
he flow model is created, only if all the activities of the conceptual model are
connected to the root and the actor field is set for all the learning activities. Otherwise, a warning
message appears on the screen.
Figure 10 shows in the Pair Group swim lane, two simple activities which are placed inside a frame
since the designer has specified in the conceptual model that they are parts of the same composite
activity. On that frame, the sequence
sequence button is shown in order to indicate that the two simple
activities will be executed in a serial order, i.e. the one after the completion of the other. The
designer can change this rule to selection
by clicking on that button in order to define that the
activities can be executed in the order that the actor freely wishes.
wishes

Figure 10 Learning Design


esign Flow Model of the unit of learning entitled Programming
Fundamentals

On the left of the canvas of the LD Flow Model, a specific toolbar appears which consists of the
following elements:
1. Links
This element contains an arrow icon with which the designer connects the
activities.
2. Phases

This element contains an icon with which the designer can draw a horizontal line
which divides the flow of the activities into different phases. For example if the design of a

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learning unit is based on the TPS (Think, Pair, Share) strategy
ategy the designer might want
wa to
group the activities into the three different
d phases.

3. Rules
This element contains three buttons for defining the rules that can be added into the flow
model:

User-Choice - when the designer wants to state that a specific activity will
be completed when its actor wants to, the user-choice button should be clicked in
order to put on n the canvas the icon of this rule.
rule Then
hen the designer should link this
icon to the related activity.

Time-Limit - when the designer wants to state that an a activity should be


completed by a specific time, the time-limit
button needs to be clicked so as to put
on the canvas the icon of this rule.
rule. The designer should link the icon of the user-
user
choice rule to the related
rela task. With the right click on the rule icon, the designer can
set the time (years, months, days, hours, minutes, seconds) when the specific task
should be completed.

Insert Yes/No Conditions - when the designer wants to add a score condition
(if then-else
else rule) this icon should be clicked in order to place a rhombus shape on
the canvas. The designer can right click on this icon and set the condition/clause.
condition For
example, if the actor has scored at least 60% at a specific assignment she/he
s can
continue with the next task otherwise the assignment should be re-submitted.
re Thus,
the designed should link the rhombus both with the appropriate task tas when the
condition is met (Yes sign) and the appropriate task when the condition is false (No
sign).

Insert True/False Conditions - when the designer wants to add a True/False


condition this icon should be clicked in order to place a rhombus shape on the
canvas. The designer can right click on this icon and set the True/False
condition/clause. Thus, the designed should link the rhombus both with the
appropriate task when the condition is true (True sign) and the appropriate task
when the condition is false (False
( sign).

No-Repeat
Repeat Condition - when the designer wants to state that a role is
not allowed
llowed to re-do
re do an activity after it is defined as completed, the no-repeat
no
button should be clicked in order to put on the canvas the icon of this rule. Then the
designer should link this icon to the related activity.

The following screen (Figure


Figure 11) shows the design of the aforementioned learning unit which
is divided into two phases: the first one is named Study Phase and contains the tasks
during which the student studies learning resources and the second one is named Exercises
Phase and contains the tasks where the student does exercises and tests. The activities of
the three different roles have been moved in the vertical axis, in order to show their
chronological order, e.g. In the beginning each student studies some theory and then the
students create pair groups in order to complete a composite activity.
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Figure 11 LD Flow Model being divided into phases
Figures 12, 13, 14 and 15, 16 show the flow model after the addition of the aforementioned rules.

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Figure 12 LD Flow Model with the rule User Choice

Figure 13 LD Flow Model with the rule Time Limit-properties

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Figure 14 LD Flow Model with condition rule

Figure 15 LD Flow Model with condition rule-properties

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Figure 16 LD Flow Model with no-repeat rule

4. Actions
For deleting an element that appears on the canvas (i.e. a task, a link, a resource) the
designer should click on the element (for choosing it) and then click on the delete button
of the toolbar. The same happens if the designer clicks Delete or Backspace
from the keyboard after having chosen the element to be deleted.
The designer can also add comments on the flow model by clicking on the corresponding

comments button .

Save a CADMOS learning design


After having completed the two models the designer can save his design as a .cdm file. This file
contains two xml files, each for every model. If the designer chooses to save the design before having
built the flow model, only the conceptual model will be saved.

Open a CADMOS learning design


When choosing to open an existing CADMOS.cdm file, the designer will be transferred to the canvas
with conceptual model. By choosing to see the flow model, the tool will open the last saved model,
unless the designer has added or deleted a task or has changed the actor of one task. In that case the
flow model is being built from the beginning, losing any changes that have been made. It should be
noted though that any change of the resources or the names of the activities has no impact to the
flow model, which is only related to the range of the tasks.

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Print a CADMOS learning design
The designer can print the model that is currently active on the canvas (LD conceptual model or LD
flow model).

Export IMS-LD learning design


When the designer chooses the command Export to IMS LD, the CADMOS tool creates a folder
named IMS LD which contains the manifest xml file, being built according to the specification of
IMS LD and accompanied by all the necessary metadata. The designer can open and run the manifest
to any IMS LD editor or player. In current version CADMOS v1.8 can create learning designs that
conform to the LD level A/B specification.

Statistics
By choosing the command Statistics, the designer can see some statistics about the learning design
created, e.g. number of composite tasks, number of simple tasks categorized by their type, etc.

Course Info
The designer can choose the command Metadata activated only in the conceptual model- in order
to return to the initials screens of the tool and change the properties/metadata of the unit of
learning under design.

Zoom Out/Zoom In
The designer may choose to zoom out the design in case it is too big to fit the canvas or zoom in to
restore it in the original size.

Learning Strategies
If the designer chooses to open a learning strategy, then opens the corresponding conceptual model
(Figure 17), with the learning activities and the resources. Then the designer may alter the names of
the items and define the metadata as s/he wants.

S/he can also see the corresponding flow model (Figure 18). It is important to note that if the
designer adds a new activity, deletes an existing activity, creates a new composite activity or
changes the actor of an activity, the flow model is being built from the beginning.

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Figure 17 LD Conceptual Model of TPS Learning Strategy

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Figure 18 LD Flow Model of TPS Learning Strategy

In conclusion CADMOS is a graphical design tool, which is friendly to teachers-designers that have
basic knowledge in computers. It can be downloaded for free from the following url

http://cosy.ds.unipi.gr/cadmos/ .

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