Personalize Training Solutions through Ontology-Based Optimization

26 July 2023

‘Ontology-based optimization’ may seem like a mouthful, but it’s worth knowing, especially considering its immense potential in transforming online training solutions and learning management systems. 

Derived from the world of computer science and information technology, the word ‘ontology’ refers to a model that organizes data into a set of concepts or entities within a specific domain. It’s a way of representing knowledge that includes categories, properties, and the relationships between them.

An ontology is especially useful when paired with an algorithm that can leverage the model to streamline decision-making or problem-solving processes on a specific topic. In online training systems, ontologies allow artificial intelligence to 1) generate pinpointed learning profiles based on a learner’s inputs and 2) customize learning paths aimed at getting a user to a specific skill goal as efficiently as possible.

The Problem with One-Sized Training Models

Traditional approaches to teaching and training are broken, and have needed a new system for a long while. Many organizations are finding this success in personalization. Classical course models have targeted the masses rather than the individual, ignoring different learning styles and the challenges some may face.

Clyde K., a founder at Techinnov, explains that part of this issue is the traditional scalability challenges associated with personalisation. Instead, classical approaches attempt to standardize courses and learner behaviors, and fail to account for individual differences. 

“This kind of training puts everybody in the same box. You see the red light, you stop. You see the green light, you go. People think that works for everybody. But it does not,” Clyde said.

This one-size-fits-all approach falls short in accommodating different learning needs and unique situations. For instance, in the example Clyde provides, someone with color vision deficiency (“colorblindness”) or cognitive issues may need more than just visual cues to understand instructions. 

According to Clyde, “Not everybody’s the same. That’s why the training doesn’t work. That’s why anywhere you go, the training is imperfect because it targets the masses.” The cost factor also plays a role in this issue, as creating personalized training for each individual can be expensive. 

Clyde points out that through scientific approaches like ontology-based optimization, online training solutions are quickly expanding the possibilities by catering to individual learning needs. He believes these kinds of tools are becoming increasingly important for training coordinators, managers, and decision-makers, and they need to be aware of which systems and leverage their capabilities. 

“No one even talks about this stuff,” Clyde said, “They’re still in the classical, one size fits all type of training.” 

In a world where personalization is becoming increasingly important, it’s time for organizations to break away from the traditional mold and adopt more adaptable, individual-focused training methods. Clyde says his company is one of a few select forerunners in this regard, and he wants to raise awareness about what is possible.

Techinnov’s Ontology Model

Over the past six to seven years, Techinnov’s team of innovative engineers and thought leaders have progressively developed its own proprietary ontology-based model, which is helping the company scientifically re-imagine the training solutions industry.

The project was completed through numerous proposals for government funding and in collaboration with researchers at the HEC Montréal, the graduate business school of the Université de Montréal, developing advancements in artificial intelligence and optimizing an ontology-based model.

This ontology model has provided the foundation and precedent for Techinnov’s innovative approach to training solutions, including enhanced personalized learning experiences and course paths.

Personalized Learning Experiences

The goal of this ontology-based model for Techinnov was to create an automated way to build comprehensive, diagnostic learner profiles for a French-English learning management system, and ultimately to help promote bilingualism for Canada’s two official languages.

Any language can be essentially broken down into a tree diagram, with the broadest concepts beginning at the top, and a web of various concepts and principles branching off of it from there. The farther down the diagram goes, the more detailed and complex the model becomes, and the more algorithms can use the model to form very specific, nuanced, and intelligent decisions.

“This is essentially something you would typically get from a live tutor in a one-on-one session,” Clyde stated.

For example, an individual seeking a role as an engineer with the Canadian government must speak French at a certain level of proficiency determined by human resource officials. This candidate enrolls in a language tutoring program to begin training to pass a second language evaluation and undergoes an entry evaluation where an instructor asks a series of questions.

“That instructor could say your conversation skills are good, but your verb conjugation is poor and you struggle with distinguishing past and future tenses,” Clyde said. “Based on this, your tutor now has a diagnostic profile for where you are in French fluency and how to help you improve.”

Techinnov’s ontology-based model empowers its online learning system to generate similar personalized learning profiles without the required human interaction. 

The model also bases decisions and maps proficiency using questionnaire results. It does this by — just like the in-person tutor — examining language and grammar accuracy, identifying deficiencies, and then using a proprietary algorithm to map those results within the context of the French ontology provided.

This is just one example of how an ontology can optimize personalised profiles and decision-making for a training system.

Adaptive Individual Learning Paths

Adaptive learning paths is the next area where ontology can help infuse personalised features into a training solution. Techinnov has been able to adapt and fine-tune its ontology model while developing training solutions for the Department of National Defense.

This training is based on an app-based language role-playing game where service people respond to prompts and write appropriate answers in a second official language to encourage and retain fluency.

Instead of simply providing yes-and-no results and diagnostic reports, Techinnov’s ontology is able to identify language deficiencies and profile a learner’s language abilities, and then use those results to automatically rebalance and redirect the game to orient the learner towards activities that contact elements they need to master.

Not only does this require an ontology to be able to make intelligent decisions based on user interactions, but it requires the ability to frame learning modules and elements within a system’s content library that will be relevant to the learner’s needs.For instance, if the learner struggles with French verbs and adverbs, instead of simply providing them a score and informing them of incorrect answers, an ontology will empower a training system to map the learner’s needs and then push them to exercises that emphasize verb and adverb forms.

Because of ontology optimization, all learners are essentially fed a different path and play a different version of the same game.

Find an Innovative Training Solutions Development Partner

This advanced and innovative approach by Techinnov exemplifies their capacity for innovation and commitment to revolutionizing the training solutions industry. Their ability to harness the power of ontology, and apply it in a practical and impactful way, is a testament to their forward-thinking mindset and technical prowess.

If you’re looking for a forward-thinking partner to help your organization navigate the complexities of training and development, consider Techinnov. Their unique, innovative approach to personalized learning could be the key to unlocking your team’s full potential and answer to creating a comprehensive on-boarding and training solution. Don’t get left behind in the one-size-fits-all past. Embrace the future with Techinnov’s tailored training solutions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Ontology-Based Optimization?

Ontology-based optimization is a strategy in online training systems that leverages the power of ontologies, which are models that organize data into concepts and relationships.It involves using algorithms and artificial intelligence to analyze learner inputs and then accurately building a profile based on their proficiencies needs.

Why is Ontology-Based Optimization Important for Training Solutions?

Ontology-based optimization is revolutionizing training solutions by enabling adaptive, individualized learning experiences that enhance learner engagement and knowledge acquisition.

How Does Ontology-Based Optimization Improve Training ROI?

Ontology-based optimization has a positive impact on training return on investment (ROI) by maximizing the effectiveness and efficiency of training programs. By personalizing learning experiences and tailoring content to individual needs, learners are more engaged, motivated, and able to grasp concepts faster. This leads to improved knowledge retention and application in real-world scenarios.


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