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Graduation 2008

Criticism of learning objects

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Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:30
I opted for the Brian Lamb video because it was the most recent resource on this.
It was reassuring that Brian considered the concepts (IMS and SCORM) were no clearer for him now than they were in 2001. However he still considers it be be "a very sound idea" that "digital media" is "non-rivalrous resource" (Lamb, 2009). He develops this by explaining that shared resources save time and money, which is a point made by Downes in 2001.
Lamb state that building the archives was a problem in sharing learning objects, citing Merlot.org as a repository that has remained in situ since 2005. There were problems with the meta-tagging which meant resources were not able to be searched for, so it was like having an excellent library but without any referencing systems. Anyone searching literally had to work their way through the materials until they found the one they wanted. The resources were there but could not be easily accessed. Lamb claims it was "clumsy" and there was a need to avoid potential "chaos" (2009).
Therefore Lamb decided to blog about the issue as soon as blogging tools became available. When unsure on an aspect he would ask questions and others would provide the answer, he noted that friends of his would share some of the information. This he noted in his discussions is what people wanted to do with the "learning object repository", to "share each others work" and to build "communities of practice" to "foster real collaboration and rapport" (Lamb, 2009). This sharing developed out of professionals blogging about their work, as Weller does.  

Lamb, B. (2009) Who the hell is Brian Lamb? (video), Barry Dahl blog, 26 October [online],http://barrydahl.com/ 2009/ 10/ 26/ who-the-hell-is-brian-lamb/ (last accessed 24 March 2014).

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Graduation 2008

Learning objects

Visible to anyone in the world
Edited by Amanda Harrington-Vail, Thursday, 24 Apr 2014, 14:31

Downes makes the point that learning objects need not be duplicated because this can save time and effort (therefore money). Perhaps in our field of learning this could relate to e.g. Blooms Taxonomy, there are different visual representations but they are saying the same thing.

The discussion then leads onto if learning objects are shared then other materials could be too. However it was felt that teaching materials would not suitable to share because “no two courses share the same contents” Downes (2001). Although schools and colleges may have a common curriculum this is not true of universities, but Downes suggests that online university modules could share common themes citing Hamlet as an example. This piece of literature is interpreted similarly therefore Downes claims that other learning objects could work like this. It could be achieved by changing from the traditional method of course design by Bates (2000) to Rapid Application Design (RAD). 

RAD “is a process which allows software engineers to develop products more quickly and of higher quality” (Downes, 2001). If written in HTML it would be accessible to all, as this is a standard language. "The purpose of open standards is to allow engineers from various software or hardware companies develop devices and programs that operate in harmony. A document saved in an open standard could be read, printed, or transmitted by any number of programs and devices" (Downes, 2001). Although institutions and countries would need to agree definitions etc. for instance a common language of XML. The authoring of learning objects data is considered best "to create course materials not in HTML, but rather, in a structured markup language such as XML" (Downes, 2001). There are codes to convert various data into XML.

Figure 7. XML and XSL merge to create HTML (Downes, 2001)

"There is very much a tension, between those who create the knowledge, and who jealously guard their monopoly over its propagation and distribution, and those who must consume that knowledge .... My personal belief is ... professors ...will have to redefine their approach or be priced out of existence. Probably history, not argument, will show whether this belief is well founded" (Downes, 2001). This demonstrates that Downes understood the process of how and why to create OER and history has shown his belief  to be well-founded.



Bates, A. W. (2000). Managing Technological Change. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass.

Downes, S. (2001) ‘Learning objects: resources for distance education worldwide’, IRRODL, vol. 2, no. 1 [online], http://www.irrodl.org/ index.php/ irrodl/ article/ view/ 32/ 378 (last accessed 24 March 2014).

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