A Research & Development project sponsored by



5th Framework Programme

Action line IST-2001-5.1.8 (CPA8):  eLearning for European youth in a digital age

Contract No.: IST-2001-34153   -   Project start: March 1st, 2002




DUNES objectives

To design, implement and test an environment for collaborative learning through discussion and argumentative interaction on the Web.


Users – pupils, students, trainees, workers, managers – will learn how to discuss and interact in a novel framework, enabling a more effective learning and the acquisition of useful skills. To achieve this, DUNES will

develop a methodology…

·                     didactical scenarios for collaborative e-learning, including learning of specific topics, competitive negotiation, collaborative decision-making, etc.;

·                     methods of intervention by the instructor/moderator or by intelligent agents;

·                     methodologies for evaluating activities with DUNES and their contribution;

develop a tool…

·                     an innovative "discussion space”, featuring dynamic "discussion maps" for modeling and supporting discussion – accessible both synchronous and asynchronously;

… and implement and test all the above in a large-scale experiment.


Project description

The DUNES consortium will engage, during 30 months, in the design of the new methodology and tools, in their broad implementation and evaluation, in the underlying pedagogical/cognitive research and in comprehensive dissemination efforts. The multiple application domain of DUNES (learning, training, negotiating, decision-making) calls for a technical solution that should be highly adaptable and versatile. The work will be structured in eight work-packages, the core of which covers the design of the DUNES learning environment, the design & specification and the implementation & testing of the technical tool, and the realization of the large scale validation of the system in several of the partners’ countries. The “experiment” is arranged in two WPs: the “Intensive” study (in which DUNES methods and tools will be implemented and the field work will be documented and analyzed), and the “Extensive” study (mainly devoted to a thorough evaluation). All technical and pedagogical/cognitive tasks will be linked by a continuous and closely monitored feed-back process, intended to minimize risks and to assure an effective and timely accomplishment of the project goals. The project will join or establish strong links with existing national initiatives in learning and training; ministries of education and other relevant organizations in some of the partners’ countries have already expressed their interest in DUNES.


DUNES philosophy and vision

Quotations from the project’s proposal to the EC:


“…The development of a broad knowledge base, namely the ability to grasp the meaning of things, to comprehend and to make judgements, is the first factor in adapting to economic and labor market change. […] The acquisition of knowledge and skills should go hand in hand with building up character, broadening outlook and accepting one’s responsibility in society”. (Quoted in the proposal from EU’s “White Paper on Education and Training”, 1995). … “[This] will be the most important result of the [implementation] of DUNES. This is the broad knowledge that discussion and argumentation can generate, in the framework of a dynamically interacting group of participants trying to convince, negotiate, reach consensus.”


“Besides its direct contribution as a learning tool, DUNES has clear implications for the unfolding of a healthy discussion culture, and favors a widespread dissemination of pluralism and tolerance principles.”


“DUNES intends to set up collaboration frameworks with industrial users by running focus groups with representatives of industrial players […] in order to complement the scope of DUNES. [This will enable] a mutual awareness of DUNES and the main avenues of thought and action in the industry, warrant consistency of the developments in DUNES with state-of-the-art art and the highest quality standards, and [ensure] that user requirements in the field of e-learning […] are adequately met.”


The institutions behind DUNES

The project involves 9 partners from 8 countries.  As well, many schools, universities, companies/work places and other non-partner “end-users”, from 6 countries, are joining DUNES for the purpose of trying, testing, evaluating and providing feedback from real learning and working environments. The DUNES consortium is composed of:


*    The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel - The School of Education

*    Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Germany - The Autonomous Intelligent Systems Institute - AiS

*    Silogic, France

*    Tessera Multimedia, Greece

*    The Pouliadis Group, Greece

*    Utrecht University, Holland

*    The University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland

*    The University of Göteborg, Sweden

*    The University of London, UK - The Institute of Education


Contact us…

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem - The School of Education - Project Coordinator


Dr. Baruch Schwarz


Tel.: +972 2 5881064

Ms. Reuma De Groot


Tel.: +972 2 5882039   Fax: +972 2 5336398


Web site (formal opening: 1.7.02):   http://www.tessera.gr/dunes/