Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

A Model to Represent the Facets of Learning Objects

Academic journal article Interdisciplinary Journal of e-Skills and Lifelong Learning

A Model to Represent the Facets of Learning Objects

Article excerpt


E-learning relies on the provision of electronic documents, called learning objects, organized in teaching scenarios.

Many digital pedagogical resources can be found on the web but they are often on-line presentations of existing documents and, thus, not designed to be included in e-learning platforms. Psyche, Bourdeau, Nkambou, and Mizoguchi (2005) note that more pedagogical approaches and learning designs should be proposed to improve the use of resources in e-learning systems. In addition, learning objects should be reusable in different teaching scenarios. E-learning technologies and standardization efforts offer a partial solution to these issues. SCORM (2004), Fage (2005), and LOM (2002) contribute to the homogenization of learning object representations and facilitate their interworking, while IMS-LD (IMS Global Learning Consortium, 2003) considers the pedagogy of training and its progress. However, the metadata associated with objects are limited and do not focus on content. It is then difficult for a designer to know if a resource (image, chunk of text, exercise, concept definition, etc.) already existing in a document can be re-used. As a result reusability is low.

Our contribution in this paper is related to the enrichment of e-learning standards with the representation of complementary knowledge that would be helpful for a user to know, specifically about the content of a learning object. This knowledge is represented in the form of ontologies (Mizoguchi, 2004). This additional knowledge corresponds, on one hand, to the theme studied, that is to say the topic of the course, and, on the other hand, to the pedagogical theories. In this paper, we present first the main e-learning systems' characteristics and standards. Then we describe the conceptual model we promote to represent learning objects and their usages. Next, we explain the implementation, and, finally, we give a short example of an instance based on our model.

State of the Art

E-learning Systems: Learning Objects and Standards

E-learning is a teaching-learning activity which aims at knowledge acquisition while reducing the time and space constraints between learners and teachers, thanks to new communication and information technologies (Boutmedjet, 2004; E-TUD, n.d.).

An e-learning system must allow:

--access to the relevant learning objects thanks to a relevant indexing of the resources (Abel, Lenne, Moulin, & Benayache, 2003; Gasevic and Hatala, 2005; Lenne, Abel, Moulin, & Benayache, 2005; Psyche et al., 2005)

--browsing techniques improving learner / teacher / system interactions according to an adequate pedagogy (Psyche et al., 2005),

--reusability of learning objects and learning design (Knight, Gasevic, & Richards, 2005),

--design and update of the contents of courses by teachers, (Abel et al., 2003; Lenne et al., 2005),

--an individualized monitoring of learners (IMS Global Learning Consortium, 2003).

A learning object has been defined by the IEEE-LTSC working group (Learning Technology Committee Standards) as, "Any entity, digital or non-digital, which can be used, reused or referenced during technology supported learning" (Hodgins, 2008).

Various standards have been defined to help the development of training systems. Friesen (2005) presents an overview of e-learning standards, the goal of which is to ensure interoperability, portability, and reusability. These systems handle learning objects, their representation, and their relationship. The use of these standards, which are considered as common description languages of digital educational resources (Vidal, Broisin, Duval, & Ternier, 2004), guarantees not only the interworking but also the quality of systems to facilitate the usage of the learning objects no matter the platform or the technological environment used. …

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