Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Workflow for Learning Objects Lifecycle and Reuse: Towards Evaluating Cost Effective Reuse

Academic journal article Educational Technology & Society

A Workflow for Learning Objects Lifecycle and Reuse: Towards Evaluating Cost Effective Reuse

Article excerpt

Introduction

Over the last decade Learning Objects (LOs) have gained a lot of attention as a common format for developing and sharing digital educational content in the field of technology-enhanced learning. Within the rich literature related to LOs, the issue of reuse appears to be an important one (Wiley, 2002; Polsani, 2003; McGreal, 2004; Caswell et al., 2008). This is mainly due to the fact that design and deployment process of high quality educational resources is very expensive, and therefore, any effort to reduce development costs is highly desirable (Zimmermann et al., 2006). However, despite the importance of the concept of reuse and its potential benefits in educational content production and deployment, there are only sporadic efforts to study issues related to LOs reuse that would allow interested parties (such as people, organizations and initiatives) to assess the conditions and eventually implement systematic LOs reuse within the context of learning activities design and development. This is a drawback towards the large scale adoption of the LOs paradigm aiming at reducing costs and effort.

In this paper, we study existing efforts for the definition of the different steps involved during the LOs lifecycle that can support LOs reuse and we identify their limitations. Based on the discussion of existing proposals, we propose a thorough workflow for LOs lifecycle that can support LOs reuse within the context of learning activities design and development. Finally, we use the proposed LOs lifecycle workflow to define a set of metrics so as to measure the cost effectiveness of LOs reuse and we extract recommendations that can facilitate interested parties to take more informed decisions about the potential benefits of LOs reuse.

Learning Objects Lifecycle and Reuse

What is Learning Objects Reuse?

The main arguments in favor of LOs reuse are twofold. On one hand, LO reuse is highlighted due to the anticipation of cost reductions in the design and development of educational resources while maintaining quality. This is based on the assumption that the more times a LO is reused in different learning settings the more cost effective that LO becomes. On the other hand, LO reuse can be an indicator for a high quality education resource. This is under the assumption that the more a LO is reused the more likely it is to be of high quality as more teachers and/or learners will have the opportunity to interact with it and provide feedback on its use and quality. However, despite the importance of the concept of LOs reuse, the technology-enhanced learning (TeL) community has not agreed to a commonly accepted definition of the term 'reuse' resulting to multiple interpretations. The concept of LOs reuse, just as the concept of LOs, is presented in LOs literature in different ways as shown in Table 1.

Hence, based on the above definitions, we can conclude that the ability to reuse LOs includes the ability to reuse them in a different learning context and/or for a different targeted group and/or for the attainment of a different learning objective and/or for a different subject matter. Thus, one can note that the dimensions that affect the potential for LOs reuse are similar with the characteristics that define a learning activity (Beetham, 2007; Conole and Fill, 2005). According to Beetham (2007) a learning activity is a specific interaction of learner(s) with other(s) and with an environment (optionally involving resources, tools and services) that is carried out in response to a task orientated towards specific learning outcomes. Furthermore, according to Conole & Fill (2005) there are three (3) dimensions that constitute a learning activity:

* The context within which the activity occurs, this includes the subject matter (i.e., physics, geography, math, arts, etc.), the level of difficulty, the intended learning outcomes (i.e., recall, understand, etc. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.