Using Content Analysis to Reuse and Remonetise eLearning Content

Many organisations, not only those in the eLearning industry, maintain large repositories of content. This content can include useful learning material such as training documents, educational courses and manuals. Our industry partners have identified that finding ways to reuse and remonetise such content is an on-going challenge. We have identified the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) techniques as a possible solution to address this challenge. NLP is the area of computer science that studies how computers understand and analyse human (‘natural’), languages.

Applying Content Analysis
We are currently developing a content analysis tool based on NLP as part of our research on the ALMANAC tablet application. This tool is based on existing research outputs developed by our research partners Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at the National University of Ireland, Galway [1][2]. The tool will use a combination of NLP and machine learning techniques to automatically extract topics from a repository of text-based documents and linking those topics to the relevant documents. A major advantage of using NLP in this way is that manually tagging or labelling of files is unnecessary.

The content analysis tool is a web service that can be easily utilised as part of the ALMANAC tablet application or indeed other educational applications. It will provide an easy way to search for a topic of interest, explore related topics, and link to the documents about a particular topic. There will also be the option to augment the documents with additional resources such as images and short topic descriptions from DBPedia – a linked-data version of Wikipedia.

NLP in Education is Growing
The use of NLP in educational applications is gaining momentum. Later this year, the 8th Workshop on Innovative Use of NLP for Building Educational Applications will be held in Atlanta, Georgia. Workshop themes include content analysis for automatic scoring and assessment, generation of tutorial responses, NLP tools for second language learning, and analysing a learner’s language and cognitive skill levels. The content analysis tool as used within the ALMANAC web tablet application will provide an ideal test case for the use of NLP in a learning context.


Caoilfhionn_BlogAbout the Author: Caoilfhionn Lane is a postdoctoral researcher at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) at NUI Galway. Caoilfhionn works in the area of applied research, which involves adapting DERI research outputs to solve industry challenges. Prior to joining DERI, Caoilfhionn worked as a software engineer for Nortel and Cisco Systems.

Navigating the complex world that is the US education market

Last month Enterprise Ireland hosted an event entitled ‘How to Succeed in the US Education Market’ at their East Point headquarters for Irish companies who are considering entering the US education market.

With over 50 representatives from industry attending, there is obvious interest in this vast but complex marketplace.

The day-long seminar covered areas such as the current and future opportunities in K-12 and higher ed; insights into the structure of the US education system including the budget process and how buying decisions are made; and the competitive landscape and selling strategy considerations. The event also explored what venture capital companies look for when evaluating funding opportunities.

Adam Newman, founder and managing partner of Education Growth Advisors, a Connecticut-based consulting and advisory firm focused exclusively on the education sector, opened the seminar. He provided some key insights on the US education market that included useful examples on how to acquire customers and creative ways to fund a start-up edtech enterprise.

Next up was our director, Dr Martyn Farrows, who spoke about how the Learnovate Centre is driving innovation for the Irish edtech industry by partnering business with world class academic research.

Parallel breakout sessions followed. One led by Farimah Schuerman, founding partner of Academic Business Advisors, who delivered a crash course on selling to the US higher education market that dealt with the landscape, the big trends and key market drivers.

The other parallel session focused on selling to the early education and K-12 markets, and was led by Glen McCandless of Focus Marketing. Glen’s presentation covered market entry implications for three key edtech trends, the go-to-market success factors, selling to school administrators, amongst others.

Before wrapping up with an ‘X-Factor’ style shootout between a number of the Irish edtech companies, Adam Newman took to the podium again to give an overview on recent VC investments in the space as well as some helpful advice on what it is that investors look for in a business.

Presentations from the event are available to download at