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Ontology-based personalisation of e-learning resources for disabled students

Nganji, Julius T.


Julius T. Nganji


Mike Brayshaw


Students with disabilities are often expected to use e-learning systems to access learning materials but most systems do not provide appropriate adaptation or personalisation to meet their needs.

The difficulties related to inadaptability of current learning environments can now be resolved using semantic web technologies such as web ontologies which have been successfully used to drive e-learning personalisation. Nevertheless, e-learning personalisation for students with disabilities has mainly targeted those with single disabilities such as dyslexia or visual impairment, often neglecting those with multiple disabilities due to the difficulty of designing for a combination of disabilities.

This thesis argues that it is possible to personalise learning materials for learners with disabilities, including those with multiple disabilities. This is achieved by developing a model that allows the learning environment to present the student with learning materials in suitable formats while considering their disability and learning needs through an ontology-driven and disability-aware personalised e-learning system model (ONTODAPS). A disability ontology known as the Abilities and Disabilities Ontology for Online LEarning and Services (ADOOLES) is developed and used to drive this model. To test the above hypothesis, some case studies are employed to show how the model functions for various individuals with and without disabilities and then the implemented visual interface is experimentally evaluated by eighteen students with disabilities and heuristically by ten lecturers. The results are collected and statistically analysed.

The results obtained confirm the above hypothesis and suggest that ONTODAPS can be effectively employed to personalise learning and to manage learning resources. The student participants found that ONTODAPS could aid their learning experience and all agreed that they would like to use this functionality in an existing learning environment. The results also suggest that ONTODAPS provides a platform where students with disabilities can have equivalent learning experience with their peers without disabilities. For the results to be generalised, this study could be extended through further experiments with more diverse groups of students with disabilities and across multiple educational institutions.


Nganji, J. T. (2015). Ontology-based personalisation of e-learning resources for disabled students. (Thesis). University of Hull. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Jul 28, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 2023
Keywords Computer science
Public URL
Additional Information Department of Computer Science, The University of Hull
Award Date May 1, 2015


Thesis (2.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2015 Nganji, Julius T. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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