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DigiCULT
Society Technologies (IST) Directorate, aiming to
highlight ways for cultural heritage institutions to
expose and exploit their holdings to the world by
digitisation. Previous DigiCULT Forums have dis-
cussed and recommended actions on Digital Asset
Management, the Semantic Web and Digital Integrity
and Authenticity.
This time DigiCULT wanted to focus attention
on those mysterious `learning objects', otherwise
described as `any digital resource that can be reused
to support learning'
1
and, even, `any entity, digital or
non-digital, that may be used for learning, education
or training'.
2
The subject of Learning Objects has spawned a
vast array of published material from online books
like The Instructional Use of Learning Objects, edited by
Dr David Wiley, assistant professor at the Utah State
University, to papers such as University of Arizona
Learning Technology Center author Pithamber R.
Polsani's Use and Abuse of Reusable Learning Objects,
3
D
IGI
CULT'
S
L
EARNING
O
BJECT
L
ESSONS
FOR THE
H
ERITAGE
S
ECTOR
By Michael Steemson
1
Wiley, D.A. (2000): Connecting
learning objects to instructional
design theory: A definition, a
metaphor, and a taxonomy. In:
The Instructional Use of
Learning Objects, D. A.Wiley
(Ed.), http://reusability.org/read/
chapters/wiley.doc
2
IEEE Learning Technology
Standards Committee: Standard
for Information Technology -
Education and Training Systems -
Learning Objects and Metadata,
1484.12.1 2002, p. 6,
http://ltsc.ieee.org/doc/wg12/
LOM_1484_12_1_v1_
Final_Draft.pdf
3
Polsani, Pithamber R.: Use and
Abuse of Reusable Learning
Objects. In: Journal of Digital
Information, volume 3, issue 4,
http://jodi.ecs.soton.ac.uk/
Articles/v03/i04/Polsani/
.
T
he sentence leapt off the briefing page in
a flurry of shiny, new Euros. `If there is any
money to be made in delivering cultural
objects for re-use it may well be in the educational
publishing field,' it said. After that, the document
hardly needed to add clinching clauses like: `So, there
is an economic imperative for cultural heritage to
adopt the Learning Objects approach.'
Learning Object? The DigiCULT Forum knew
about that.The 14 experts sat in round table con-
ference in the Koninklijke Bibliotheek (National
Library of the Netherlands),The Hague, to find
the means of making that briefing promise a reality.
They didn't find all the answers but they came up
with a tidy parcel of signposts pointing the way to
those `Eu-riches' for Europe's museums, libraries,
galleries and archives.Their signposts said:This
way to the dot.edu gravy train.
The July 2003 forum was the fourth of seven
debates for the European Commission's Information
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