It seems that the debate of "learning objects" has been heating up again. I am tired of this. It is time that we take some action.
Here is what I think the current situation is:
- We cannot arrive at a common definition/understanding, not in the near future. In fact, I don't believe we can in any timeframe.
- The current meaning attached to LO only serves a "information as knowledge" model. It does not server other pedagogical paradigms
- The concept of re-use, and inter-operability are still valid and should be encourage. [Associated with re-use is the issue of discoverablity. Associated with interoperability is the issue of standardisation.]
- The current most commonly adopted model is SCO from SCORM. However, SCO only does the communication with a LMS for tracking purposes. There are a limited number of data storing capability by LMS (such as student names, scores, etc.)
- SCO as an aggregation unit only helps courses compilation. It does not contribute to the production of quality learning content.
- SCO supports a solo learning model, not in alignment with the social constructistic paradigms.
Here is what I think we (people interested in technology-based learning) can and we should do. Stop the debate and get real. Accept that there are more than one best way to learn and support the multiple views of learning objects.
For those who subscribe to "information transfer" model:
- There are different atomic sizes for LO. The most important thing is that it is useful to solve at least one problem for you, be it re-use, simplification of workflow, better design, nicer look... Do NOT claim the high ground and ended up useless. (e.g. the most re-usable atomic size of digital object is bit. But that is totally useless in our field of endeavour!)
- SCO as a building block for a course is a good start. We are going to work upwards as well as downwards.
- Interoperability of courses involves recognising the learning outcome and skill level. This requires understanding of work such as recognisation of previous experience and so on. I am NOT interested in this. So, someone please pick this up.
- We should also see the benefit of building blocks to be used within a SCO. A way to make all the building blocks to appear, at least for look and feel, has been suggested. [Overcoming the Presentation Mosaic Effect of Multi-Use Sharable Content Objects from Implementation Issues of SCORM]
- The problem of storing SCOs at different repositories (with different domains) has been solved also.
- For a background data source support, we can use AJAX frameworks.
- For interoperability among the building blocks, we can use virtual apparatus framework
For those who subscribe to "social constructivitistic" paradigms:
- Continue to use blog, RSS, discusson forum as our building blocks (ie LO :-) ).
- Use websites as objects and integrate the functionalities into your coursea.
- Read Stephen Downe's OLDaily.
For the rest of us:
Pick from whatever that suit the job at hand. Why argue! Get the job done and move on with it.
Request for Action
OK, enough of this. Here is what on the table.
I have this "virtual apparatus framework" concept for a long long long... time. I have also this web site as well. I am happy to continue to pay for the hosting and will install a wiki to it if there are more than 10 people interested in taking on board this idea of interoperability between building blocks and start from fresh if deem fit. Let me know and I will do something.