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10
DigiCULT
A
n interesting concept that has recently
emerged in relation to e-learning is the
learning object economy.The primary
commodity of this economy is the learning object, a
learning resource that can be used in a wide variety
of learning scenarios. In this object economy, the
cultural heritage institutions can be seen as providers
of the raw material for this commodity. Other
organisations, publishers for instance, will then
process the raw material into re-usable, interoperable
learning objects.This is one scenario. `The other one
is that the cultural heritage institutions themselves
process their raw materials into learning resources',
says Lorna Campbell, assistant director of CETIS,
the UK's Centre for Educational Technology
Interoperability Standards. `This scenario might be
more appealing, because for many cultural heritage
institutions educating the public is part of their
mission.'
The first step to fulfilling that assignment is to
expose the collection to teachers and learners.
Although several initiatives have been taken
(Campbell mentions SCRAN, the Scottish Cultural
Resources Access Network, as an outstanding
example), it is still difficult for teachers and learners
to find out what resources are available. If the
accessibility of collections improves, these resources
could be used as learning material for both formal
learning (courses) and informal and lifelong learning.
However, the problem is that many teachers and
learners do not have the skill to use the raw resources
for learning. Campbell: `My own background is in
archaeology. At university level lecturers and students
are capable of using raw assets from museum
collections to facilitate teaching and learning. If the
same resources are to be used in school classes they
will require some degree of contextualisation to
provide a meaningful learning experience for the
pupils. Cultural heritage institutions can help by
making their resources available in a variety of
formats, such as raw assets, learning objects and
contextualised learning activities.' For example,
SCRAN offers educational context through
`pathfinders', navigators and teaching packs.
Providing an educational context is not easy. Apart
from the necessary investments, there is a lot of
discussion about appropriate standards for e-learning.
One problem is the inbuilt paradox of a learning
object.To be re-usable and customisable the content
of a learning object should be separated from its
context.The paradox is that learning is not only
about content but also about context, i.e. the
pedagogical framework.Without context there is
no learning experience.
Campbell: `There has been some concern in the
past that learning objects and electronic learning
resources cannot be used to facilitate more diverse
forms of teaching and learning.To some extent this
criticism is justified as until recently most learning
technology interoperability standards were primarily
geared towards the production of efficient and
effective training resources.'
However, recently the IMS Global Learning
Consortium has published its Learning Design
C
ULTURAL
H
ERITAGE
I
NSTITUTIONS
C
AN
P
ROVIDE
M
ORE THAN
R
AW
M
ATERIAL
A
N
I
NTERVIEW WITH
L
ORNA
C
AMPBELL
,
C
ENTRE FOR
E
DUCATIONAL
T
ECHNOLOGY
I
NTEROPERABILITY
S
TANDARDS
(CETIS), UK
By Joost van Kasteren
Digicult_THI4_backup_13_10_03 24.10.2003 11:54 Uhr Seite 10