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he standard for Learning Object Metadata
(LOM), which was developed by the
Institute of Electrical and Electronics
Engineers (IEEE), is good for training and procedural
learning, but it falls short when learning becomes
education. For distance learning in art history or
philosophy you need a more sophisticated kind of
learning model and the accompanying standard. I
think the new Metadata for Learning Resources
(MLR), the development of which has now been
accepted by the ISO SC36, will provide us with a
standard that can accommodate different modes of
distance learning.'
Henri Hudrisier is glad that the Standard
Committee 36 of the International Standards
Organisation (ISO) did not choose the fast track
when discussing standards for distance learning.This
fast track was solely based on the Learning Object
Metadata (LOM) from the IEEE and the Sharable
Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) devel-
oped by the Advanced Distance Learning group from
the US Department of Defense. Hudrisier: `LOM
and SCORM are based on a very straightforward
learning model. It is either 1 or 0, right or wrong.
That figures because LOM and SCORM were
developed for the army and for the aviation industry.
Still, people thought that they could be extended to
include other types of learning.There was a lot of
pressure to use LOM and SCORM as the basis for
distance learning standards, but we were not very
happy with this fast-track approach.'
In 2002, an inventory was drawn up of the
necessary modifications and in September of that
year the SC36 decided to abolish the fast track to
standardised metadata and choose a more complex
road, called Metadata for Learning Resources
(MLR). Hudrisier: `More complex maybe, but also
doing more justice to different types of learning
than LOM.You can compare it with the standard
for colour television. In the United States a rather
straightforward standard was chosen (NTSC). As
this is based on technology of the sixties it is very
difficult to incorporate new technological develop-
ments. In Europe, the development of colour
television took place at a later stage, so we could
choose a more sophisticated standard (PAL), which
can incorporate new developments.'
Metadata for Learning Resources (MLR) is supp-
osed to be the PAL for distance learning in the sense
that it can accommodate all types of learning. In
March 2003, at the plenary meeting of SC36 in Paris
it was decided that France and China together will
edit the future MLR standard, with Yolaine Bourda
from the French Ecole Supérieure d'Electricité as
project leader.The work is done within working
group 4 of SC36 of which Hudrisier is a member.
`We hope to develop a model for distance learning
within the next five years. Or rather a set of learning
models, somewhat comparable to the concept of
styles in MS Word. Every style will have its own
combination of metadata for resources, for evaluation
and for interaction and collaboration. But the
metadata themselves will be constant, like the letters
in the alphabet. It is a more abstract approach than
LOM and SCORM, but it will be the more
comprehensive because of that.'
According to Hudrisier the cultural heritage sector
will benefit more from MLR because it gives the
possibility for `learning on a higher level', as he puts
it. Furthermore, the MLR standard will be compati-
ble with existing and future developments in the area
of imaging and transport like MPEG7 and MPEG 21
for e-commerce and e-exchange. Also a standard of
terminology is being developed in accordance with
future standards.
Hudrisier acknowledges that this will take more
time, but that should not be too much of an issue. `It
took us over 50 years to build the railway system in
Europe', he says. `We are not taking that much time,
but in my opinion it is more important to build a
standard that can accommodate existing and future
developments than rushing to a standard which will
be obsolete in five years' time.'
University of Paris 8, Department of Documentation
8, F
By Joost van Kasteren
Digicult_THI4_backup_13_10_03 24.10.2003 11:54 Uhr Seite 28