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IVA development portal

IVA is a Web-based learning management system, which is developed in Tallinn Pedagogical University in order to advocate constructivist approaches and practices in e-learning.

IVA is a modification of another open-source Zope product called Fle3. Just like Fle3, IVA is released under GPL as free software. Anyone could download the latest version of IVA source code and install it on one's own server (Zope should be installed first, see installation guide).

We are still somehow uncertain what does the name IVA mean ;) On one hand it could be read as an acronym (e.g. Interactive Virtual Academy or Intuitive Vehicle for Attainment or Innovative Venture Assistant or Internet Via Academia). On another hand, IVA is a metaphor in Estonian language and means "a seed" (also "point" or "meaning"). In 1817, reverend Otto Reinhold von Holtz published a series of moralist stories for Estonian peasants under a slogan "story is a shell, meaning is a seed". Since then this slogan has been widely used among teachers and teacher educators in Estonia, when they want to stress the importance of looking deeper below the surface in order to understand better the meaning, or "the point" of phenomena. The red dot in IVA logo is symbolizing "the point" we are trying to make with our new learning management system: e-learning is not about changing just a shell (or media) of learning delivery. In order to make full use of opportunities offered by new powerful learning environments, both teachers and learners should look deeper behind the routine of traditional educational practices and discover new ways of meaning-making. We hope our system with its intuitive user interface and innovative pedagogical tools helps them in this endeavor.

As opposed to many commercial Learning Management Systems, IVA is not "pedagogically neutral". The structure and functionalities of IVA system advocate constructivist approaches to learning and teaching. For constructivists, learning is not merely transmission of objective knowledge - each learner constructs actively his/her own "picture of the world", associating new meanings with previous experiences and communicating with others. According to D.H.Jonassen, the three most important conceptual pillars for designing a truly constructivist learning environment are three C-s:

  • Meaningful and authentic Context for learning,
  • Tools, support, time and space for personal knowledge Construction
  • Support for Collaboration and group reflection and production.

Referring to these three pillars, we designed IVA user interface in three sections:

  • BookShelf, a space and tools for providing context for meaningful learning
  • WebTop, a space and tools for personal knowledge construction and reflection
  • WorkShops, a space and tools for student collaboration and group communication.

As IVA is still under development, your feedback and support (even participation in development process) is more than welcome!


The development of IVA learning management system in Tallinn Pedagogical University was partly supported by Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia, Tiger University Program of The Estonian Information Technology Foundation, Estonian E-university and Hansapank.

Created by admin
Last modified 2010-03-16 06:10 PM