AWELS:  1st Workshop on

Adaptive Web-Based Education and Learning Styles, at IEEE


July 5-7, 2006,  Kerkrade, The Netherlands

Chairs: Alexandra Cristea and Natalia Stash


Best Paper Award goes to Elizabeth Brown, Craig Stewart and Tim Brailsford for their paper entitled

‘Adapting for visual and verbal learning styles in AEH’



For the runner up information and for the rest of the papers please visit our:

Programme: click here


You can find the statistics of the workshop here, as well as some comments.


Motivation of Workshop:

Learners are individuals. Web-based educational research is slowly starting to take that into consideration, moving away from the “one-size-fits-all” approach of educational broadcasting. The move is faster in the research field, where many adaptive educational systems already take into account different learner features like goals/tasks, knowledge, background, hyperspace experience, preferences and interests. In the commercial sphere, giant learning management systems like Blackboard and WebCT don’t yet offer personalization. However, SME’s already are on the lookout of the future market of personalized distance education. Standards, like LOM, SCORM or IMS LD specification move already towards introducing snippets of adaptation on a larger scale.

Learning Styles (LS) and their effects on learning have been examined most carefully in Coffield, F. (Learning Styles and Pedagogy in post-16 learning: A systematic and critical review. This 182 page report “reviews the literature on learning styles and examines in detail thirteen of the most influential models. The report concludes that it matters fundamentally which instrument is chosen. The implications for teaching and learning in post-16 learning are serious and should be of concern to learners, teachers and trainers, managers, researchers and inspectors.”

Learning styles (or cognitive styles), as well as the best ways of responding with corresponding instructional strategies, have been intensively studied in the classical educational (classroom) setting. Researchers in this area suggest that matching users’ cognitive styles with the design of instruction is an important factor with regard to learning outcome. A number of experiments indicate that the users’ performance is much better if the teaching methods are matched to the preferred cognitive style. There is much less research of application of learning styles in the new educational space, created by the Web.

Moreover, authoring applications are scarce, and they do not provide explicit choices and creation of instructional strategies for specific learning styles. Authoring of Adaptive Web-courses has been long considered as secondary to adaptive course delivery. The authoring task is however not trivial at all. There exist some approaches to help authors to build adaptive-hypermedia (AH) -based systems, yet there is a strong need of high-level approaches, formalisms and tools that support and facilitate the description of reusable adaptive web-courses. Only recently have we noticed a shift in interest, as it became clearer that the implementation-oriented approach would forever keep adaptive web-courses away from the ‘layman’ author. The creator of adaptive courseware cannot be expected to know all facets of this process, but can be reasonably trusted to be an expert in one of them. It is therefore necessary to research and establish the components of an adaptive courseware system from an authoring perspective, catering for the different author personas that are required. This type of research has proven to lead to a modular view on the adaptive hypermedia. It also becomes more and more clear that for Adaptive Web-Environments that it is necessary to consider not only the learner’s characteristics, but also the pedagogical knowledge to deal with these characteristics.

Finally, the web learning environment offers an excellent testing bed for the appropriateness of using learning style-based education, due to its potentially extremely large pool of learners.

In conclusion, application of learning styles in adaptive web-based systems is timely, due to the fact that now, both interest in these applications has risen, as well as the initial hardware and software problems have been overcome.

Therefore, this workshop focuses on authoring, design, implementation, delivery and evaluation of Learning Styles in Web-based Education.

This workshop is organized within  the PROLEARN Network of Excellence.


Main questions:

  • Can learning styles be applied in current web-based systems?
  • What are the main issues when applying learning styles in web-based systems?
  • Can learning styles be authored in current web-based systems?
  • What are the main issues when authoring learning styles in web-based systems?
  • Can learning styles-applications improve the efficiency of learning in web-based systems?
  • Can learning styles- applications be tested in web-based systems?


Target Audience

The workshop is targeted at all people working towards the application of personalization in web-based environments with special focus on learning styles. This includes researchers that are active in all these fields, as well as representatives of larger projects, companies or networks dealing with these issues. We encourage these researchers to submit papers to the workshop on their latest results and ideas.

Moreover, the workshop is also targeted at people who are interested to apply personalization in web-based environments, and want (need) to hear about the possibilities that exist. 

Furthermore, the workshop targets implementers of web-based education, in the sense of representatives of corporations and people in decision positions, which can determine the choices at a larger scale.

Finally, last but not least, this workshop is aimed at the users of personalized distance learning environments that want to keep abreast with the newest developments and will be better able to know what to request.



o       1 hour paper presentation (20 min per paper) and

o       ~ 1.5 hours discussions (panel).

After the paper presentations, the discussion based on these questions will begin. Both the presenters and the audience will be asked to contribute to the answering of these questions. These discussions and presentations will be open to all; not only those who have papers accepted at the workshop but also any other interested parties are welcome. The panel will consist of invited guest speakers and authors of papers, and will attempt to conclude on the presented papers, responding to the main questions of the workshop.



All papers will undergo a strict peer review done by 2-3 reviewers from the program committee (PC).

Selected papers will be invited to submit to a Special Issue of a selected Journal (TBA).

Authors are required to follow:

IEEE Computer Society guidelines (

Authors can also use Word Template ( and Format guidelines (

Manuscripts should be submitted in Word or RTF file formats:

  • Full paper: 5 pages
  • Short paper: 3 pages
  • Posters: 2 pages

Submit your paper to and  with Subject ‘AWELS workshop submission’.


Important Dates

Submission deadline: March 31, 2006

Notification of acceptance:  April 20, 2006

Final version due: May 5, 2006

Author registration: May 5, 2006

Main Conference: July 5-7, 2006


Outcomes of the workshop

The participants at the workshop are expected to leave not only with a better understanding of the application of learning style in state-of-the-art and beyond web-based education, but also with fruitful ideas for future research in this area.

Moreover, the best papers will be gathered to be included in an extended form in a Journal.



Alexandra I. Cristea received her IS Dr. title and worked at the University of Electro-Communications, Tokyo, Japan. She is presently Assistant Professor at the IS Group, Faculty of Mathematics & Computer Science, Eindhoven, University of Technology, The Netherlands. Her research interests include AEH and adaptive hypermedia authoring, UM, Semantic Web, AI, Neural Networks, Adaptive Systems, Concept Mapping, ITS, Web-based Educational Environments. She authored and co-authored over 100 research papers and course booklets. She is a member of IEEE, was program committee member of Hypertext, AH, ICCE, ICAI, IKE (a.o.) and was reviewer or session chair for many conferences and organizer of a series of successful workshops in the area of Authoring of Adaptive Hypermedia. She is executive peer reviewer of the ET&S Journal. Alexandra Cristea has been a successful editor of recent Workshops in the domain of Education and Adaptation such as:

-          2005: (co-)Editor Workshop Jodi (Journal of Digital Information), workshop on Personalization of Computing Services

-          2005: Editor Workshop ETS Journal, workshop on Authoring of Adaptive Hypermedia

-          2005: Editor Workshop ATL Journal, workshop on Authoring of Adaptive and Adaptable Educational Hypermedia

Further on, she is:

-          Associate Editor of the Journal of Advanced Technology for Learning,

-          Associate Editor of the ET&S Journal,



Natalia Stash is a PhD candidate at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), The Netherlands, as well as researcher in the CHIP project. Her research interests include adaptive hypermedia (AH), semantic web technologies, learning styles. She has been giving tutorials on AHA!, the best known adaptive hypermedia delivery environment existent. She is now in the process of finishing her thesis entitled “Incorporating Learning Styles in Adaptive Hypermedia”.


Program Committee (PC) (invited; to be extended):

Daniel Burgos, Open University (NL)

Paul Cristea, University ‘Politehnica’ of Bucharest (Romania)

Nian-Shing Chen, National Sun Yat-sen University (Taiwan)

Declan Dagger, Trinity College Dublin (Irland)

Kenji Hirata, Ph.D.  Sanno University (Japan)

Judy Kay, University of Sydney (Australia)

Kinshuk, Massey University (New Zealand)

Rob Koper, Open University of the Netherlands (The Netherlands)

Toshio Okamoto, University of Electro-Communications (Japan)

Simos Retalis, University of Piraeus (Greece)

Pilar Rodríguez, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain)

Marcus Specht, Open University (NL)

Vincent Wade, Trinity College (Ireland)

Demetrios Sampson, Information and Telematics Institute (Greece)