Authoring of adaptive hypermedia

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Authoring of Adaptive hypermedia (AH) comprises the design and creation process of adaptive hypermedia: creation of content (usually in the form of a resource collection and domain model) and adaptive behaviour (usually in the form of IF-THEN rules; recently, adaptation languages have been proposed for increased generality; e.g., the LAG language by Alexandra I. Cristea et al., the LAG-XLS language by Natalia Stash et al., etc.). As adaptive hypermedia adapts at least to the user, authoring of AH comprises at least a user model. Depending on the authoring framework used, different models of the static components to which an adaptation engine adapts can be represented and populated in the authoring process, such as presentation model, goal model, pedagogic model, etc.


Authoring of Adaptive hypermedia has been long considered as secondary to adaptive hypermedia delivery. This is not surprising in the early stages of adaptive hypermedia, when the focus was on research and expansion. Now that adaptive hypermedia itself has reached a certain maturity, the issue is to bring it out to the community and let the various stakeholders reap the benefits. However, authoring and creation of hypermedia is not trivial at all. Unlike in traditional authoring for hypermedia and the web, a linear storyline is not enough. Instead, various alternatives have to be created for the given material. For example, if a course should be delivered both to visual and verbal learners, there should be created at least two perfectly equivalent versions of the material in visual and in verbal form, respectively. Moreover, an adaptation strategy should be created that states that the visual content should be delivered to visual learners, whereas the verbal content should be delivered to the verbal learners. Thus, authors should not only be able to create different versions of their content, but be able to specify (and in some cases, design from scratch) adaptation strategies of delivery of contents. Issues with which authoring of adaptive hypermedia is confronted are:

  • creation of exchange language for the content (some early examples are the CAM language)
  • creation of exchange language for adaptation (with the LAG language and the LAG-XLS language as examples)
  • creation of a framework for adaptation (see, e.g., the LAG framework)
  • standardization of adaptation processes

AH Authoring Frameworks

There already exist some approaches to help authors to build adaptive-hypermedia-based systems. However, there is a strong need for high-level approaches, formalisms and tools that support and facilitate the description of reusable adaptive hypermedia and websites. Such models started appearing (see, e.g., the AHAM model of adaptive hypermedia, or the LAOS framework for authoring of adaptive hypermedia). Moreover, recently have we noticed a shift in interest, as it became clearer that the implementation-oriented approach would forever keep adaptive hypermedia away from the ‘layman’ author. The creator of adaptive hypermedia cannot be expected to know all facets of the process as described above. Still, he/she can be reasonably trusted to be an expert in one of these facets. For instance, it is reasonable to expect that there are content experts (such as, e.g., experts in chemistry, for instance). It is reasonable to expect, for adaptive educational hypermedia, that there are experts in pedagogy, who are able to add pedagogical metadata to the content created by content experts. Finally, it is reasonable to expect that adaptation experts will be the one creating the implementation of adaptation strategies, and descriptions (metadata) of such nature that they can be understood and applied by laymen authors. This type of division of work determines the different authoring personas that should be expected to collaborate in the creation process of adaptive hypermedia. Moreover, the contributions of these various personas correspond to the different modules that are to be expected in adaptive hypermedia systems.

Relation to other research fields

Authoring of adaptive hypermedia can also be considered web engineering for adaptive web-based systems. Usually this term appears in connection with automatization of the authoring process, e.g., in automatic generation of links and contents based on meta-data. Moreover, this terms appears in connection with application of web standards in the authoring process.

AH Authoring Systems

  • MOT (My Online Teacher) [1]
  • TANGOW [2]


  • Cristea, A. (2005). Authoring of Adaptive Hypermedia. Educational Technology & Society, 8 (3), 6-8. ([3])
  • Brusilovsky, P. (2003) Developing adaptive educational hypermedia systems: From design models to authoring tools. In: T. Murray, S. Blessing and S. Ainsworth (eds.): Authoring Tools for Advanced Technology Learning Environment. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 377-409. [4]
  • A. Cristea and L. Aroyo, Adaptive Authoring of Adaptive Educational Hypermedia, AH 2002, Adaptive Hypermedia and Adaptive Web-Based Systems, LNCS 2347, Springer, 122-132 [5]
  • Proceedings of the workshops on authoring of adaptable and adaptive hypermedia (A3H)

A3H@AH'08; A3H@UM'07; A3H@AH'06; A3H@AIED'05; A3H@AH'04 ; A3H@WBE'04

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