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Trends and Issues: The Impact of Learning Objects

Best Practices of Learning Objects (LOs)

Figure 3: The Learning-Object Economy, 2003.

The establishment of an accredited open set of standards is needed to realize the full possibility of LOs. Problems can occur when the content is proprietary and not interoperable, such as, LOs cannot be reused or transferred to another system. “Without standards, the value of LOs is substantially reduced. Academic ADL Co-Lab (AADL), the University of Wisconsin System (UWS), and Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) state, “LOs will benefit from the establishment of standards like the following” (http://adlcolab.uwsa.edu/lo/index.htm, nd.):

  • Future compatibility
  • Longer lifetime of materials
  • Smoother migration as platforms evolve
  • Easier to locate, access, archive, and reuse with the incorporation of meta data
    (example found at http://vcampus.uom.ac.mu/lor/display_lo.php?menu=1&loref=147)
  • Contribute to critical mass benefiting education in general
  • Expand audience
  • Compatibility with learning management systems with enhanced functionality

Organizations that Create Standards

IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC) P1484
The IEEE LTSC is one of the world’s accredited standards bodies. Over 20 different groups are creating standards using the IEEE LTSC (http://ltsc.ieee.org).

Some of the major groups that use IEEE standards are:

  • Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model (SCORM) - The Department of Defense (DOD) developed these guidelines. It provides a foundation to use learning technologies. “Moreover, the Federal Government can choose multiple vendors, if they comply with the IEEE LTSC standards and the SCORM specifications, for various projects and know that all of the projects and services will interoperate” (http://learnativity.org/standards.html, nd.). (Course on SCORM at http://www.jcasolutions.com/SC12/home.html)
  • IMS (Instructional Management System) Global Learning Consortium - IMS is a global consortium that is developing and promoting specifications to facilitate online distributed learning activities. Hodgins and Conner mention several activities: locating and using educational content, tracking learner progress, reporting learner performance, and exchanging student records between administrative systems (http://learnativity.org/standards.html, nd.).
  • PROMETEUS: PROmoting Multimedia Access to Education and Training in EUropean Society - PROMETEUS is a European-based entity that applies and integrates the IEEE LTSC standards with various Special Interest Groups (SIGs). The focus is promoting access to knowledge, education and training for all European citizens. Not only is the issue of standards addressed, but also incorporating multicultural, multilingual learning solutions (http://learnativity.org/standards.html, nd).

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