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Recently there has been an increasing interest in exploring P2P technologies for developing groupware tools to support online learning activity. Among the many features that make P2P technology an important alternative to develop online learning systems is its fully decentralized nature as well as the possibility to customize the learning environments to the needs of groups of learners. In fact, in such systems, students can be more than mere clients by using their own computational resources for task accomplishment during online learning process. In this paper we evaluate the use of P2P technologies for supporting online learning. We will focus in the use of a JXTA-based P2P middleware, called JXTA-Overlay, to support learning scenarios, as part of its groupware tools. Scenario-based learning is one of the ways of achieving learning goals by putting the student in a real learning context that requires acquiring knowledge and practice skills to accomplish the learning task. In JXTA-Overlay groupware tools, the members of a small online team of students can create learning scenarios corresponding to common work projects arising in online learning; then, they can use the learning scenarios to define, assign and track a set of tasks within a learning scenario assigned to the members of the group. The aim is to support both asynchronous and synchronous collaboration modes in online learning. The results of this work showed the feasibility of using P2P technologies in the design and implementation of decentralized online learning systems.
Date of Conference: 14-16 Sept. 2010