Notes For Reusable Learning Objects & SCORM

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Notes to support the presentation on Reusable Learning Objects & SCORM


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Notes on RLOs & SCORM: Handling and packaging the components of eLearning

Learning ObjectsDefinedLearning objects are any entity, digital or non-digital, which can be used, re-used or referenced during technology supported learning. (IEEE, 2002)Instructional components that can be reused a number of times in different learning contexts. Additionally, learning objects are generally understood to be digital entities deliverable over the Internet, meaning that any number of people can access and use them simultaneously (as opposed to traditional instructional media, such as an overhead or video tape, which can only exist in one place at a time). Moreover, those who incorporate learning objects can collaborate on and benefit immediately from new versions.Learning object is any digital resource that can be reused to support learning. (Wiley, 2002)Rejects non-digitalto support instead of duringNo referenced MetadataDescriptive data about a (digital) resource.Like a card catalogNot the data itselfNo instructional design or pedagogical information was included in the metadata specified by the Learning Objects Metadata Working Group (or SCORM).Cheon & Grant (2006) proposed creating a mark-up language that would support the metadata about instructional or pedagogy. ReusabilityUse after creation by multiple developers in various instructional contexts. (Polsani, 2003)Reuse is not the same as repurpose.Repurpose is not pain-free and development time and costs are incurred.GranularityHow big should a learning object be? The problem of granularity inherently relates to reuse.Make an RLO too big and it becomes too general to be reused in a specific context.Make an RLO too small and it becomes so context-dependent that it cant be reused in another context.Wiley (2002) advocates for the molecule metaphor over the Legos model.Any Lego block is combinable with another In fact, my Quattros are combinable with my Duplos.Lego block can be assembled in any manner you choose.Lego blocks are so fun and simple that even a child can put them together.Not every atom is combinable with every other atom.Atoms can only be assembled in certain structured prescribed by their own internal structure.Some training is required in order to assemble atoms.Theory neutralBy using the Legos model, we assume that RLOs are theory neutral, or pedagogically independent. We know this not to be true.We know that all instruction either purposefully or blindly includes a pedagogical slant or stance. As such, to combine LOs from different learning theories or instructional models without purpose is irresponsible and has the potential to result in ineffective instruction.

SCORM: Sharable Content Object Reference ModelDefinedThe Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) was first developed by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to address training development and delivery inefficiencies across its service branches. E- learning content was being developed on different platforms, using different standards and specifications, and delivered on different, incompatible systems. To address these costly inefficiencies, the DOD knit together the best emerging e-learning specifications with those developed in the prior decade by the Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC). The result is a field-tested common reference model published by the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative, a collaborative effort between government, industry, and academia, sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The SCORM standard is focused on enabling the plug-and-play interoperability, accessibility, and reusability of Web-based learning content, with the ultimate goal of ensuring ubiquitous access to the highest quality education and training, tailored to individual needs, and delivered cost-effectively anywhere and anytime. Based on accepted technology standards including XML and JavaScript, SCORM is fast-becoming the defacto e-learning technology standard widely embraced and supported today by world-leading corporations, universities, system providers, and content vendors. (DigitalThink, 2003, p.2)An example: DVD players and DVDs +R, -R v. Blue-rayQualities of SCORM: The -abilitiesInteroperability: use content from different systemsAccessibility: locate and use content, catalogued; one location to manyReusability: use in different courses and contextsDurability: withstand technology changes over time, costs, upgradesMaintainability: content evolutionAdaptability: change to user needs(Affordability): connection to durability and accessibility SCORM is based in XMLUses tags to describe the SCO (RLO).Structure: Display: Content: XML tagsThe XML ManifestA ships manifest?SCORM standards are based in AICC and very similar to IMS packaging.

Why worry about RLOs & SCORM?You need to reduce courseware maintenance, upgrade & rebuilding costs.You anticipate courseware will require frequent updates.Learners need to be able to pinpont discrete pieces of content.Content has the potential to be reused across multiple courses.Different audiences need access to different subsets of the content.You want to give learners a way to test out of portions of the courses.You need more accurate and detailed reporting on learner performance.(DigitalThink, 2003)

In practiceIdentify content and contexts.Determine size.Develop common content (SCOs).Develop independent content (SCOs).

Learning Object RepositoriesANGEL LearningMerlotDesire2LearnCORDRALORN

References & AcknowledgementsCheon, J. & Grant, M.M. (2006, October 10-14). Developing learning content markup language (LCML) for personalized instruction in the adaptive learning system. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology, Dallas, TX.DigitalThink. (2003). SCORM: The e-learning standard. San Francisco: Author. Retrieved from Learning Technology Standards Committee. (2002). Learning object metadata. Retrieved from, P.R. (2003). Use and abuse of reusable learning objects. Journal of Digital Information,3(4). Retrieved from, D.A. (2002). Connecting learning objects to instructional design theory: A definition, a metaphor, and a taxonomy. In The instructional use of learning objects, D.A. Wiley (ed.). Retrieved from

Michael M. Grant 2010