Send in your ideas. Deadline October 1, 2024
Theme fund: NGI0 Discovery
Start: 2019-08
End: 2022-10
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Verticals + Search
Data and AI


Deep search on open educational resources

The Explain project aims to bring open educational resources to the masses. Many disparate locations of learning material exist, but as of yet there isn’t a single place which combines these resources to make them easily discoverable for learners. Using a broad array of deep content metadata extraction techniques developed in conjunction with the Delft University of Technology, the Explain search engine indexes content from a wide variety of sources. With this search engine, learners can then discover the learning material they need through a fine-grained topic search or through uploading their own content (eg. exams, rubrics, excerpts) for which learners require additional educational resources. The project focuses on usability and discoverability of resources.

Why does this actually matter to end users?

Every search starts with curiosity. You want to know the meaning of a word you had never heard before, find the news story behind that titillating headline you just caught on the television, or read up on that book your colleague kept raving about. You type in a few search terms, find the results you are looking for, and that's that. But what if you want to learn more about a certain topic, a complex issue, a cutting edge technology? Where do you begin, how do you get an overview of what is important and what is trivial, what should you read to stay up to date?

Users can find a wealth of open educational resources online, study material, tests and other content that can help you learn about a specific subject or topic. But just like a teacher in a classroom, you need some sort of guide to help you get started, to know where to go, to stay curious. The project Explain is that guide for anyone eager to learn from open educational resources, but is unsure how or where to begin. Explain provides users with an interface that connects and organizes resources from noteworthy educational repositories around the world to make them easily searchable. Users can also upload documents like exams, excerpts etcetera to Explain themselves to help other curious students. Now Explain aims to become a better guide through improving how material is indexed, how quickly and intuitively users can search and finally how intuitive the platform is for people to use. Ultimately this will contribute to what we believe is the core purpose of open educational resources: educate those who are curious, regardless of their background.

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This project was funded through the NGI0 Discovery Fund, a fund established by NLnet with financial support from the European Commission's Next Generation Internet programme, under the aegis of DG Communications Networks, Content and Technology under grant agreement No 825322.

This project is archived. Due to circumstances, the project as planned did not take place. This page is left as a placeholder, for transparency reasons and to perhaps inspire others to take up this work.