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Learning object is a controversial concept. It depends on the learning design, pedagogical scenario approached that we are using.There is a profound misconception of learning as a process that have to be measured, and knowledge as “At its root is an obsessive fascination with the idea of knowledge as content, as object, and as manipulableartifact. “ (Lambe, Patrick. January 2003. The autism of knowledge management. ). It doesn’t have to be associated to any learning objective.“Informal learning”, “social learning”. Connectivism: learning theory for the digital age. Learning may reside in non-human appliances. Learning can rest in a community, a network, or a database.Social learning: People can learn by observing the behavior is of others and the outcomes of those behaviors.This higher meaning we can call lesson, course, curriculum unit,etc. Dissociated from context
It is usually self-contained, small and granular in nature.It can be aggregated, assembled or grouped into larger collections of contents to provide with a higher meaning.It can be classified, stored and discovered through searching.It is reusable and –ideally- dissociated from context.It can be described using a metadata standard.If digital, it mustbe independent of hardware, operating system, browser type and LMS. Disassociated from
the one which includes the following the types of information –or components-and its metadata:First, According to the Department of Defense (DOD), learning objects have the followingcharacteristics or “ilities”: reusability, accessibility, interoperability, and durability. These“ilities,” explains Kaiser (2000),Of the four “ilities,” the most misunderstood is interoperability. In order to be fully interoperable,a learning object (the content) and its associated metadata file must be packaged according to theSharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM). Packaging is the process that bringstogether the learning object and metadata files, then it creates a manifest file that tells the learningmanagement system how the learning content is organized and how the content is presented to theuser. When a learning object and its metadata have been packaged according to the SCORM, theresult is a SCORM conformant sharable content object, or SCO. Learning objects are packaged sothat theyAccessibility: The ability to locate and access instructional components from one remote location and deliver them to many other locations. First component: information to make the learning object discoverable through searching a database General Course Descriptive Data, including: course identifiers, language of content (English, Spanish, etc.), subject area (Maths, Reading, etc.), descriptive text, descriptive keywords.Educational Level, including: grade level, age range, typical learning time, and difficulty. [IEEE 1484.12.1:2002]Instructional Content, including: text, web pages, images, sound, video Glossary of Terms, including: terms, definition, acronyms Quizzes and Assessments, including: questions, answers Adaptability: The ability to tailor instruction to individual and organizational needs. Elements for self-assements: Quizzes and Assessments, including: questions, answers Readiness. A need to be prepared for unanticipated situations increases reliance on “just-in-time” learning. Glossary of Terms, including: terms, definition, acronyms Affordability: How much we want to spend in the lo and for what purpose. The ability to increase efficiency and productivity by reducing the time and costs involved in delivering instruction. How are we going to commercialize it:Commercial exchanges: Jim Spohrer, founder of the EOE notes, “The problem of establishing a learning object economy is that there is a disconnect between aggregators of content and users of content — aggregators who want to protect the integrity of their work versus those who want to deconstruct an object and put it together with others.” Free exchanges for learning objects (MERLOT);not very good quality?Shared exchanges: The object need to meet first certain criteria. such as interoperability or SCORM compliance, and builders of such exchanges often develop learning objects themselves or purchase them under contract to ensure their standards are met. Shared repositories can be found in numerous countries around the globe. Rights, including: cost, copyrights, restrictions on Use.Documenting and managing these rights is one reason that, as learning objects are aggregated from lower-level assets and more context and features are added, the task of describing the object becomes more complex .Durability: The ability to withstand technology evolution and changes without costly redesign, reconfiguration or recoding. Life Cycle, including: version, status Interoperability: The ability to take instructional components developed in one location with one set of tools or platform and use them in another location with a different set of tools or platform. If the object includes interactive or assessment features intended to interoperate with a learning management system (LMS), additional run-time information is needed to ensure communication with the LMS. A variety of solutions have been developed to enable these higher-level attributes, generally using XML metatags to add descriptive and additional rights information and companion run-time files to communicate with the LMS.Several agencies have been working on standards for LMS interoperability, including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS), the Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC), and others. Remarkably, there is almost no disagreement on these standards. The Defense Department’s Advanced Distributed Learning initiative (ADL) has led the effort to apply this work to learning objects. The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) draws from all these efforts, using IMS specifications for content packaging and metadata, launch communication APIs and the overall data model from the AICC, and the metadata dictionary from the IEEE. Reusability: The flexibility to incorporate instructional components in multiple applications and contexts. Original purpose of the object, Relationships to Other higher-level learning goal , lessons, Courses, including prerequisite courses .Are reusable a single learning object may be used in multiple contexts for multiple purposes.To an instructional designer, learning object "reuse" means placing a learning object in a context other than that for which it was designed. The fit of learning objects into these new contexts depends on the extent to which the learning object's internals contain explicit statements of context. For example, statements within a learning object like "as you will recall from the last module..." make it very difficult to reuse the learning object in a context other than that for which it was designed. To make learning objects maximally reusable, learning objects should contain as little context as possible. A mutated learning object is, according to Michael Shaw, a learning object that has been "re-purposed and/or re-engineered, changed or simply re-used in some way different from its original intended design". Shaw also introduces the term "contextual learning object", to describe a learning object that has been "designed to have specific meaning and purpose to an intended learner".The SCORM 2004 3rd Edition Overview (p 1-6) defines "ilities," that should characterize a learning objects "economy":
Creating Learning Objects
Digital Learning Objects: Good practices and benefits<br />What is actually a learning object?<br />
Usually self-contained, small and modular <br />Aggregated or assembled into larger collections of contents <br />Independent of hardware, OS and LMS<br />Learning Object<br />Classified, stored and discovered through searching<br />Described using a metadata standard<br />Reusable and disassociated from context<br />
Therefore, a good learning object must be:<br />Accessible<br />Adaptable<br />Affordable<br />Interoperable<br />Reusable<br />Durable<br />
Tangible Benefits?.... <br />For the learner:<br /><ul><li>Personalization of courses
Learning can be managed and organized more easily
“Just-in-time” learning</li></ul>For the tutor:<br /><ul><li>Courses can be customized according to learners’ needs
Variety and versatility of resources (reusability, affordability, accessibility, etc)</li></ul>For the developer:<br /><ul><li>Objects can be built and modified using different authoring tools
Objects are reusable and can be run in different hardware and software platforms</li></li></ul><li>Examples:<br /><ul><li>Sloodle (Virtual Worlds)