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22
DigiCULT
L
EARNING
O
BJECT
S
TRUCTURE
A C
RITICAL
A
SSESSMENT
By Chris Jackson and Adam Cooper
FD Learning, UK
B
ACKGROUND AND
P
URPOSE
T
he definition, size and structure of learning
objects have been the subject of much debate
and some confusion, with varying views and
positions.This area is one that FD Learning is very
familiar with, having researched and developed e-
learning solutions with education sector colleagues
since 1995.This paper reviews various approaches
to learning objects and the implementation of
specifications. Its purpose is to stimulate and foster
debate, so that the views of technologists and
educationalists can be heard and balanced.
The main contentions of this paper are twofold:
First, that an open approach to content design is
advisable in order to ensure good quality, re-usable
content that is able to exploit emerging e-learning
standards.This can sometimes be undermined by the
wide scope for interpretation inherent in e-learning
specifications.
Secondly, that the prerogative of defining the
structure of learning objects should largely reside
with educationalists and instructional designers, rather
than with technologists.Whilst producers need to be
challenged to adjust their thinking towards much
smaller chunks of learning, they also need the
freedom to determine the approach to learning,
which may limit the ability of the resulting content
to conform to specific technical limitations.
This paper:
| briefly reviews some of the interpretations of
`learning objects' and relates them to IMS Content
Packaging items and SCORM Shareable Content
Objects (SCOs);
| indicates how interpretations can sometimes stem
more from technological issues than pedagogic
considerations, leading to restrictive practice in
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