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Journal of Digital Information, Volume 3 Issue 4 Article No. 164, 2003-02-19 To cite this paper please include the details above in the full reference Themes: Information management Peer reviewed paper Printable version available.
Use and Abuse of Reusable Learning Objects
Pithamber R. Polsani
Learning TechnologyCenter, University of Arizona, USA Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Key features: References
The term Learning Object, first popularized by Wayne Hodgins in 1994 when he named the CedMA working group "Learning Architectures, APIs and Learning Objects", has become the Holy Grail of content creation and aggregation in the computer-mediated learning field. The terms Learning Objects (LOs)and Reusable Learning Objects are frequently employed in uncritical ways, thereby reducing them to mere slogans. The serious lack of conceptual clarity and reflection is evident in the multitude of definitions and uses of LOs. The objectives of this paper are to assess current definitions of the term Learning Object, to articulate the foundational principles for developing a concept of LOs, and toprovide a methodology and broad set of guidelines for creating LOs.
1 Movements in the Learning Object Economy Practices of Learning Objects Multiple Definitions of Learning Objects 2 Towards a Concept of the Reusable Learning Object Learning Form Relation Reusability 3 Creating Learning Objects Granularity Composition 4 Developing Learning Objects Conceptualization Collaborativedevelopment 5 Standards and Specifications for Developing Learning Objects Technical
1 Movements in the Learning Object Economy
In the past 5-7 years there have been considerable efforts in the computer-mediated learning field towards standardization of metadata elements to facilitate a common method for identifying, searching and retrieving Learning Objects (LOs). Recently, a consensus hasemerged among the various bodies spearheading these efforts - including the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC) Learning Object Metadata Working Group, the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc., and the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative - on what these common metadata elements might be. Similar efforts to develop a common conceptual definition of LOs have yet to emerge. There is a broadunderstanding among the members of the LO community about the functional
Use and Abuse of Reusable Learning Objects: Polsani: JoDI
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requirements of LOs: Accessibility: the LO should be tagged with metadata so that it can be stored and referenced in a database Reusability: once created, a LO should function indifferent instructional contexts Interoperability: the LO should be independent of both the delivery media and knowledge management systems The functional requirements of LOs are similar to the benefits derived from the object characteristics in object-oriented programming.
Standards Editorial Requirements Stylistic Considerations 6 Learning Objects and Electronic Books 7 Conclusion References1.1 Practices of Learning Objects
Existing content repositories arbitrarily classify and categorize digital content as Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs). For example, the Center for International Education at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee (http://www.uw-igs.org/search/index.asp) classifies interactive maps, lectures, a population clock, course modules, and other objects, all underthe category of Global Studies Learning Objects. The Campus Alberta Repository of Educational Objects (http://www.careo.org/) lists a video clip of a person lifting weights with voice-over narration, an oriental porcelain statue, and the Final Declaration of Participants in a seminar on land mines, as Educational Objects. Comparable inconsistency is reflected in the Educational Object Economy's...