Purpose ‐ The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the advantages of using intelligent agents to facilitate the location and customization of appropriate e-learning resources and to foster collaboration in e-learning environments. Design/methodology/approach ‐ This paper proposes an e-learning environment that can be used to provide customized learning. It utilizes a set of interacting agents that can personalize instruction based on an individual's prior knowledge as well as their cognitive and learning needs. The e-learning agents monitor the e-learning environment and improve learning and collaboration based on learners' prior knowledge, social characteristics and learning style. Findings ‐ E-learning agents should allow the discovery of new learning objects more easily, allow learners to customize materials presented to improve learning outcomes, and improve collaboration in the e-learning environment. Originality/value ‐ Little prior research has been done on the use of agents in e-learning environments. This paper proposes a set of e-learning agents that, if implemented in online education or training environments, should provide tangible benefits to organizations.
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