Monday, July 23

Feasibility of Course Development Based on Learning Objects

Link to article (By Jo-An Christiansen and Terry Anderson)
"This paper discusses the feasibility of working with learning objects and implications for course development. It seeks practical answers to context and research questions such as: How do instructors use learning objects? Are there sufficient learning objects available? Can an instructor create an effective post-secondary course by (re)using learning objects? Despite a shortage of available objects, the three study teams, business, nursing, and literature, were enthusiastic about benefits for instructional design, production, implementation, monitoring student progress, and evaluation. They found value in the graphics, interactivity, and feedback data. They also noted ease of keeping content relevant and up to date."

"(Conclusion) ...Learning objects present challenges to course developers, such as finding and contextualizing the resources. The playfulness of merely plugging Lego blocks together to form a structure is misleading when applied to the course development process. Instructional design using learning objects demands skillful construction by course designers. The issues encountered by the course developers in this research project have proven to be formidable.

However, the barriers can be countered and the results arguably warrant the effort. The results of this case study analysis shows promise for future course design with learning objects. The nursing and literature course developers were pleased with the learning object approach. The business team?s difficulties demonstrate the weaknesses in learning object availability and context. The distributed model envisioned by Downes (2003) is not yet a reality. Issues relating to repository silos constrain the learning object economy and the free sharing of resources.

The barriers to the learning object approach may also be cognitive barriers by faculty members in falling back into well trodden paths. The learning object approach is innovative and demanding to implement with search and retrieval issues being followed by a need for contextualization. These costs must be evaluated against the benefits of interoperability, multi-media learning resources, personalization in learning style, ease of course revisions and diversity in content..."
(If you are planning to implement a learning object repository in your institution or company this article is GOLD.)

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