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Ian Luxford

H817 Week 8 (or 2) Activity 6 Objections to learning objects

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Edited by Ian Luxford, Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013, 09:23

I have always found the SCORM standards to be unhelpful when it comes to good pedagogy; what they have helped me with is being able to guarantee that others will be able to run my courseware on their systems and use their full functionality.  I have tended to ignore the reusability rules and tried to create objects that were based on sound learning principles but there is a wider limitation which is the inability of SCORM to interact in a wider environment and thereby bring in other relevant inputs that allow good evaluation etc.

Tincan api attempts to provide an antidote to this in a more learning friendly way.

Potential for reuse

The inverse relationship ©Wiley 2004


Friesen (2004): Three objections to learning objects and e-learning standards


Friesen sees the use of learning standards as contrary to good pedagogy; they are based on an “engineering” view of the world and not an educational one.


They assume the learning is designed to be worked on in isolation in a self-paced style, which originates from the American military and doesn’t fit with the higher education model.


His three objections appear to be:


·      The need to be able to handle the ambiguities that arise in real learning

·      The need to avoid the assumption that you can contain and commoditise knowledge in this way and to prevent this thinking from driving developments in education

·      The fact that “neutrality” (isolation from context, style, involvement, interpretation etc) is in diametric opposition to good pedagogy.


Wiley (2004): The reusability paradox


This could be the reason why reusability hasn’t quite taken off in the way that interoperability has and there is a temptation for some instructional designers to make a whole course a single object.


Wiley identifies the importance of context in learning – we make meaning by adding new information to the information we already have.


The principles of reusability deny context – to keep an object pure it has to exclude reference to anything else – this means it can appear within a course at any point without appearing to be out of place and it can be updated without affecting other items within the course.



This flies in the face of good pedagogy. A good learning experience builds on previous experience and develops meaning through context.

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