learning, a strong collaboration between the heritage
and e-learning sectors is needed.This collaboration
should focus on the enhancement of the heritage
sector's e-learning interoperability, both in terms of
technical standards and in terms of appropriate forms
of learning. DigiCULT regards such collaboration as
crucial to unlocking the richness and diversity of
Europe's cultural and scientific heritage for e-learning
within the knowledge-based society.
Setting the context for this Thematic Issue, the
position paper by DigiCULT Steering Committee
Member Bruce Royan highlights the many ways in
which heritage organisations might profit from
ensuring that their products and services are comp-
liant with the standard expectations of the e-learning
user community. He points out that the case for the
heritage sector adopting Learning Objects is three-
fold: a progressive, a technological and a business case.
Four interviews provide different perspectives on
Lorna Campbell (CETIS, UK) states that heritage
institutions should not be satisfied with providing
`raw materials' which are of little value for teaching
and learning, but should make use of specifications
such as IMS Learning Design to provide rich lear-
ning experiences with contextualised resources.
Miguel Rodriguez Artacho (UNED University,
Spain) adds to this the importance of taking into
account the different uses teachers and learners make
or, rather, would like to make of e-learning objects.
To allow for re-using such objects they should be
accessible in different ways and with different
teaching and learning aims in mind.
Patrick Towell (Simulacra, UK) highlights the fact
that many heritage institutions may not be equipped
for developing their own e-learning chan-nels, but
they should think about their possible roles as inter-
mediaries in the value chain for digital learning
content, which builds on many `wrap-around
Henri Hudrisier (University of Paris 8, France)
reports on the decision of the ISO's Standard
Committee 36 to support the development of a
future metadata standard, called Metadata for Learning
Resources (MLR).This standard should be capable of
accommodating various `styles' of e-learning (e.g.
instructional vs self-directed) and, thereby, be more
comprehensive than the recently approved IEEE's
Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard.
Michael Steemson's summary of the Den Haag
Forum provides an overview of the many insights,
lessons learnt, and recommendations given by the
experts in their discussion of various `tricky ques-
tions' in the creation and provision of new e-learning
opportunities that make use of heritage resources.
A novelty in our series of Thematic Issues,
standardisation expert Mike Collett (Schemeta, UK)
compiled an additional Forum summary, an
annotated list of 20 challenges facing the heritage
sector in the use of learning objects. He also gives
some recommendations for decision-makers and
highlights important action points.
Chris Jackson and Adam Cooper (FD Learning,
UK) provide a critical assessment of current inter-
pretations of Learning Objects which sometimes
stem more from technological issues than pedagogical
considerations, and point out how these may work
against the goal of achieving a wider range of
reusable high quality learning material.They propose
a more open approach and give some recommend-
ations for content producers and vendors of learning
Fabrizio Giorgini and Fabrizio Cardinali (Giunti
Interactive Labs, Italy) in their article address the
need for virtual learning environments that foster
e-learning uptake within the heritage sector, and
suggest developing an e-Learning Standards Appli-
cation Profile for Cultural Heritage.The authors
point out the importance of using internationally
agreed specifications, but also their current limitations
in achieving higher levels of content personalisation
and adaptation as well as in dealing with more and
more complex learning objects. As an illustrative
example they present results from the SCULPTEUR
project which involves the creation and management
of 3D virtual learning environments with cultural
Finally, we would like to thank the National
Library of Ireland and the Alinari Archives, Florence,
for their kind permission to use selected images from
their collections of digitised historical photographs.
They have allowed us to create a `filmstrip' of
learning situations dating back to the first decades
of the 20th century.
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