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PhD Thesis


Platform supporting Interconnection of Communities of Practice (ICP). Application to tutoring with TE-Cap.


Our research work related to Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) is more specifically turned towards tutoring, a fundamental activity in education. However, the existing definitions of tutoring are unsatisfactorily and this practice is very poorly institutionalized. Very few training courses to become a tutor exist and it is hard to find helpful tools to practice this activity, while paradoxically, computer mediated teaching is becoming more and more popular, requiring the students to be monitored by one or several tutors.

Starting from the analysis of the tutors’ needs defined during a theoretical and a ground study, we suggest designing the TE-Cap (« Tutoring Experience Capitalization ») platform, based on the concept of Communities of Practice (CoP). We adopt a co-adaptive design approach which allows us to develop the platform little by little, as needs become clearer. This platform enables the tutors to exchange and confront there experiences. They are thus brought to develop skills and expertise, in an informal and creative way by mutual aid and collaboration. These exchanges will also enable the tutors to find new approaches to solve problems. Built on a model of Interconnection of CoPs (ICP) and proposed as an extension of the concept of Constellation of CoPs (CCP), the platform uses a knowledge classification inspired by the Knowledge Management and Web 2.0 principles.

This ICP model is applied to tutoring in the TE-Cap platform but can also be applied to any set of actors practicing the same activity. Our system is made to accelerate knowledge creation in the actors’ local context (the educational institution or the company) as well as at a global level of the activity. The human-machine interface displays the knowledge base in a spatial and interactive way so as to allow the users to add and retrieve knowledge in an efficient way. This is possible thanks to an indexation model adapted to the identified community. Two experiments were conducted within the tutoring domain to trial the platform with tutors from different disciplines and countries.


PhD defended the 3th November 2008, at INSA Lyon.

Monique Grandbastien, Professor (Université Henri Poincarré de Nancy), Reviewer
Richard Hotte, Professor (TÉLUQ, Université du Québec À Montréal), Reviewer
Alain Derycke, Professor (Université Lille 1)
Alain Mille, Professor (Universite Claude Bernard Lyon 1)
Sébastien George, Associate Professor (INSA de Lyon), Director
Patrick Prévôt, Professor (INSA de Lyon), Director

Download the manuscript PDF (3,9 Mo)