I've been learning bits and pieces about learning objects for a few years now, but I haven't been able to apply it directly to my own practice yet. But today I attended a webinar (interesting format, went and joined 2 others and we participated together) that gave me some new perspectives.
One of the speakers was Doug Macleod of eduSourceCanada, with quite a vision of a world wide repository of learning objects. A bigger vision than what I could describe here, but I am quite interested in where they are going. I like that they are using an "open source" foundation, and will be making tagging tools and such readily available. I think that's key, at least to someone like me.
The other speakers were Ed Walker of IMS Global Learning Consortium, David Porter of BCcampus, and Solvig Norman of Open School. It was a great session overall; if the slides are made available on a publicly available website, I'll come back here and put in a link.
Just visiting these sites led me to some interesting links:
I just loved this one, "Designing Learning Objects". What I liked about it, is that it answers the questions that I think instructional designers have about learning objects (or at least I did). What was most outstanding was the analogies it used, as they really connected for me, namely: "learning design as a play" vs. "learning design as a game" - as models for how learning objects fit into the instructional designers' and learners' worlds.
Educational Objects from eduSourceCanada
The Instructional Use of Learning Objects (an entire online book!)
What are Educational Objects - from Careo
What are learning objects? - U of Milwaukee
Now, to try to capture where my brain was going while all this was going on....
I was inspired to find a way to apply the concepts of learning objects to my own work, even without all the tools. I have some ideas for my own courses that I offer, and my speaking, I think that's going to be a promising but relatively simple road to go down. What really got my thinking popping was how I might apply it to a current clients' project. We are putting some learning online, using some good development tools, but are light years away from metatagging and content reposititories. But.... the more I get the 'concepts', the more I can see what is possible. From the scratchy notes that I made during the webinar when the idea came to me, I am now working out how the various nuggets of the content we design for this online learning intervention might be repurposed.... NO, not repurposed, reused, and how that can be facilitated through some up front planning. It's causing me to step back from my design process a bit, but I've got all new insights, and I think it can work for the project (allowing objects to be used in different ways) and, perhaps, can have tagging added later that would allow it to work in a repository in the future.
My head is sparking with lots of ideas lately... I am finding the process of 'verbalizing' my thinking - really, I'm externalizing it - is helping me to both clarify and shape new ideas. Blogging is my [new] life?
Updated Nov. 23/03: here is the link to the recording of the Learning Objects event