University of Reunion Island Living Lab for Teaching and Learning


Noël Conruyt

LIM-IREMIA, University of Reunion Island




Co-designing Reunion Island as a Living Lab of the World

University of Reunion Island, the only European university of the South hemisphere, located between Madagascar and Mauritius in the South West of Indian Ocean, wants to open up to the outside world. The University of Reunion Island Living Lab wishes to foster open and sustainable territorial innovation with people: researchers, teachers, students and entrepreneurs. For this small city of the universe, the Living Lab activities in Teaching and Learning are depicted in both domains of nature diversity (insular tropical environment) and culture (creative industries). Our aim is to introduce serious games as tools for Teaching and Learning in a physical and virtual Living Lab, in order that they become instruments for sharing, enhancing and disseminating our heritage know-how.



Teaching and Learning by Playing describes well the aim of our LL. The sharing of expertise by game-based learning is the added value in education that we want to apply for some specific domains such as managing biodiversity, performing an art (music, dance, sport, cooking, handycraft, etc.), a science (medicine), communicating, welcoming tourists ... These niches can be enhanced with ICT in a sustainable manner by following some innovative methods for developing e-services. For example, our method of sign management produces sign bases that are made of interpretations for knowing how-to-do things with audio-visual content. Simultaneously, the method of knowledge management creates knowledge bases that are textual descriptions for knowing what-are-these things. With Web 2.0 today, Teaching or transmission of knowledge from professors to students is not enough. Knowledge management with ICT is not the answer because one cannot manage knowledge that is between the ears of individuals or in books. One can only manage know-how and interpretations that subjects (experts, amateurs) communicate by speaking, showing, practicing an activity. As an example, there is a big difference between knowing the recipe of a dish and making it.


The education process must also become bidirectional between teachers and learners to be more attractive and efficient. A. Segovia, a famous classical guitarist, said that in his career students were his best teachers. Our proposed solution in UR.LL.TL is to share live interpretations, i.e. performances from different types of subjects. This is not only to transmit objects and knowledge that are found in books or in the head of specialists. To achieve this result, the playing between Teaching and Learning is a fundamental part of the process, because this enjoying activity has always driven human understanding between the child and adult development process: draw me a sheep, said the little prince! Moreover, young people are playing a lot with video games instead of reading books. Finally, gaming or playing must be taken seriously between activities of teaching and learning at school and also in universities. New gaming research actions will be developed in our LL for managing know-how rather than knowledge. For example, learning by playing is often based on gesture reproduction by imitating the professor.


So, it is important for pedagogy to show how to do the right movement in order to be able to decompose it into instructions and thus understand the produced result in consequence. In this explanation context, which is similar to electronic fraternity, sign bases are more efficient than knowledge bases because they show examples furthermore than they describe them. Sign bases are made with multimedia technologies (3D, HDTV), which are the best means to show examples from teachers and answer questions of learners for a better education service.

Multimedia annotations help to build the meaning of objects interpreted by subjects, for example the right motion that produces the beautiful sound. This process is called sensation (physical sense acquisition) or signification (intellectual sign construction) from the human side of learning. On the machine learning side, it is called formalization (intension concept acquisition) or classification (extension class construction). Our LL method makes both human and computer sides converge for co-designing e-services with ICT on a Creativity Platform and so enhance the sharing of live subjective interpretations with Semiotic Web, which is the Web of signs rather than the Web of objective things, i.e. the Semantic Web.



References and Track Record

Thematic domain networks and applications of UR.LL.TL are linked to Reunion Island specificities (a beautiful nature and culture), but also to its trans national coloration (India, Africa, Europe), its trans disciplinary vision and objectives (Reunion Island symbol of unity in diversity). Lead users in a community of practice propose projects. They form a unified development team sharing the same aim, and willing to concretize an idea into a concept, then develop mock-ups and prototypes that are tested in real time with end-users, in order to deliver the best offer of the demand. Domain applications and services are at the convergence between content production, container edition, and communication networks.

For example, the ViBRANT FP7 programme ( supports the development of virtual research communities involved in biodiversity science for managing biodiversity data on the Web with the help of biologists and computer scientists. The NEXTIC project ( demonstrates interoperability of data with Web Services and intelligibility of knowledge with Semantic Web. E-Teach-Play-Learn based on the e-GUITARE project ( wants to enhance art and cultural know-hows of experts in music, dance, language speaking, cooking, etc. The aim is to share expertise with learners on a creativity platform. These initiatives are proposed to the ICTLC consortium of 10 universities ( that want to promote excellence in e-Learning. The WISDOM project will allow access to information and services at university through a Wide Immersive Solution for Data-Object Model and new 3D interaction services, which is altogether virtual (serious gaming) and augmented (mobiquitous localized interaction). The SmartSystem / FDF consortium ( with which UR.LL.TL is associated will bring its experience in using 3D technologies and innovation services in the pre-cited domains of Teaching and Learning.



Noël Conruyt

LIM-IREMIA, University of Reunion Island


Eric Seulliet