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CONALI ontology. A framework for design and evaluation of constructively aligned courses in higher education: putting in focus the educational goal verbs

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conference contribution
posted on 02.09.2016 by Antonio Maffei, Lorenzo Daghini, Andreas Archenti, Niels Lohse
An increasing number of Higher Education professionals have embraced the Constructivism theory in contrast with the traditional transmissive pedagogy approach where the focal figure is the teacher. Constructivists emphasizes that the learners acquire, or construct, knowledge through their own activities and previous knowledge. Teacher role is to set up an environment that can provide a good learning experience for the students. In view of this the alignment of the intended learning outcome (ILO) with the teaching and learning activity (TLA) and the assessment task (AT) of the course becomes an important requirement for good learning. The driver of the alignment is the educational goal verb (EGV) that represents the educational goal underling a specific intended learning outcome (ILO). This verb should be elicited by the course’s TLA and be the base for the consequent AT. The convergence of constructivism with this concept generates the constructive alignment pedagogical paradigm. The CONALI ontology answers the requirement for a structured framework to describe the vast body of knowledge developed in such a field. The salient aspects of constructive alignment have been extracted and classified in a comprehensive taxonomy. The following description of the semantic relationships among the different classes resulted in the CONALI ontology. The chosen modelling language is OWL: this provides the possibility to describe in a computer understandable way a higher education courses to an unprecedented level of detail. OWL enables also the creation of a specific knowledge base by populating the model. The knowledge base can then be analysed and interrogated on many important issues concerning the alignment of the instantiated course. The CONALI ontology becomes an important tool to design and synthesize the related domain knowledge. This paper proves the usability of CONALI ontology as tool to represent the courses in an engineering program and evaluate the alignment of their activities. The specific instantiation is based on the Industrial Engineering program at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

26th CIRP Design Conference






765 - 772


MAFFEI, A. ... et al., 2016. CONALI ontology. A framework for design and evaluation of constructively aligned courses in higher education: putting in focus the educational goal verbs. Procedia CIRP, 50, pp. 765 – 772.


© The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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Presented at the 26th CIRP Design Conference, Stockholm, Sweden. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).






Stockholm, Sweden


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