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Trends and Issues: The Impact of Learning Objects

Implications of Professional Practice

Figure 5: The eLearning Developer's Journal Online Version, 2003

In creating LOs, practitioners need to be able to use Instructional Design theory as well as technology. Wiley states, “Instructional design theory, or instructional strategies and criteria for their application, must play a role in the application of learning objects if they are to succeed in facilitating learning” (http://reusability.org/read/chapters/wiley.doc, 2000). LOs can be used in many areas that a practitioner creates training. Barritt states, practitioners can use four instructional architectures when creating LOs (http://www.svispi.org/networker/2002/0702.pdf, 2002):

  • Receptive where instruction is presented in a fixed, linear path from beginning to end. Examples of this type of delivery include, video training, lectures, or any environment where the Performer cannot skip around in the course.
  • Directive where the path for the learning experience is suggested through a hierarchy or learning path. Examples include books and web based training where there is a "page turning" approach to delivery. It may also be found in simple role-plays or simulations where the number of branches or choices for the Performer is limited and little deviation is allowed.
  • Guided Discovery where the performers are encouraged to explore a learning environment. Examples of Guided Discovery applications include rich multimedia simulations, case studies and scenarios where the Performers solve problems or complete tasks as they would on the job.
  • Exploratory where the performers are allowed to freely search and "jump" in the content to find knowledge and information that meets their need. Examples include the World Wide Web, corporate information database, libraries, or "on your own" environments. While it is hard to avoid some structure (table of contents for example), the Performer is free to go and do anything they feel necessary to meet their needs.

The use of learning objects in professional practice can have a profound effect on how Instructional Designers create training. Wagner states, “Along the way, learning objects have evolved from a computer programming strategy to a metaphor of interoperable content elements. Ideally these elements can be repeatedly assembled and reassembled, creating an unlimited number of forms” (http://www.elearningguild.com/pdf/2/061802dst-h.pdf, 2002).

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