What are Learning Objects?


Learning objects are assemblies of audio, graphic, animation and other digital files and materials that are intended to be reusable in a variety of ways, and easily combined into higher-level instructional components such as lessons and modules. The primary purpose behind the development and use of learning objects is to increase access to quality content, and to avoid wasteful replications of effort by making that content usable in a variety of contexts. The most common view is that a learning object is a collection of digital materials — pictures, documents, simulations — coupled with a clear and measurable learning objective or designed to support a learning process. This view distinguishes a learning object from an “information object” (akin to a simple fact) — which might have an illustration or other materials attached to it — or from “a content object” such as a video or audio clip, picture, animation, or text document. The key distinguishing feature between these kinds of objects and a learning object is the clear connection to a learning process. This definition is built on the assumption that by combining learning objects in different ways, higher-level learning goals can be met, and ultimately, entire courses constructed.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • learning objects are already used in schools and vocational learning (up to Advanced Diploma level) in Australia. They are becoming more usable outside of institutional learning managment systems as they are adapted to mobile devices, but have been built for use direct from floppy or thumb drives, as well. Most address real work skills and concepts, are based in authentic contexts and challenge 'grey' areas. Coupled with good, contextualisation, facilitation and communication and accessible within a learner's personal learning environment (eg. some are used with virtual world environments), they are simply another form of learning resource. http://lorn.flexiblelearning.net.au/browse - jo.murray jo.murray Aug 25, 2010
  • Good learning objects must be easily customisable or carefully/expertly designed with use in multiple contexts in mind. Typically this doesn't happen. The object is designed with a particular set of students/ student needs and context in mind & re-use, while convenient, can lead to irrelevancy. This I think spurs many teachers to create rough and ready, but highly relevant materials of their own and contemporary cameras (incl POV) and supportive easy to use applications allow this to occur. - robyn.jay robyn.jay Aug 31, 2010
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(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

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(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • - mark.brown mark.brown Aug 29, 2010 The adoption of learning objects by teachers may lead to increased student workload unless these are carefully integrated through the course design. Importantly the principle of substitution must be adopted when using learning objects as otherwise they are often 'in addition' to existing learning resources. In other words, the real challenge is to avoid the additive model of technology-enhanced learning.

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(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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