What are Learning Objects?

Learning objects are assemblies of audio, graphic, animation and other digital files and materials that are intended to be reusable in a variety of ways, and easily combined into higher-level instructional components such as lessons and modules. The primary purpose behind the development and use of learning objects is to increase access to quality content, and to avoid wasteful replications of effort by making that content usable in a variety of contexts. The most common view is that a learning object is a collection of digital materials — pictures, documents, simulations — coupled with a clear and measurable learning objective or designed to support a learning process. This view distinguishes a learning object from an “information object” (akin to a simple fact) — which might have an illustration or other materials attached to it — or from “a content object” such as a video or audio clip, picture, animation, or text document. The key distinguishing feature between these kinds of objects and a learning object is the clear connection to a learning process. This definition is built on the assumption that by combining learning objects in different ways, higher-level learning goals can be met, and ultimately, entire courses constructed.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • I believe that many teachers have a deep underlying need to share - share knowledge, skills, life lessons etc. As more material moves to digital formats, authoring tools become easier to use, standards become more widespread and repositories of learning objects are built, I think it will become commonplace for teachers to use, create, edit and otherwise share and utilize learning objects. Just take a look at the proliferati of online lessons plans that are shared nowadays... Students will also get into the act, maybe even moreso if, for example, project-based repositories of LOs are built. Another driver of this iwll be economic, as LO repositories may contain many free items.- chris.brown chris.brown Feb 8, 2010

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • To go one step further - development of lesson packages using these objects & share widely - horncheah horncheah Feb 5, 2010
  • I see a need for some standarization in this area, without it adoption will be slow or the objects needing to be converted between formats - jeffrey.bajgot jeffrey.bajgot Feb 9, 2010

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative expression?

  • First and foremost, the impact will be that for those engaged in creating, editing and sharing LOs, they will have an edge on other learners in that the process of construction will aid higher level cognitive skill development. Synthesizing information and creating or editing for more value a LO will excercise the brain reminicient of the way Seymour Papert describes the early days of computer programming in schools. Another big impact will of course be that as repositories grow, the go-to sources for content changes.- chris.brown chris.brown Feb 8, 2010
  • another response here

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

The Southern Regional Education Board is working on a repository project called SCORE.- chris.brown chris.brown Feb 8, 2010
Please share information about related projects in our Horizon K-12 Project form.