The website is dedicated to an exploration of the learning object paradigm. At this site the user can explore various viewpoints on what is a learning object, investigate tools for creating learning objects, visit repositories for learning objects, and be exposed to a wide range of issues concerning the development and deployment of learning objects. Additionally the site contains a cornucopia of on-line resources where the user can find advice on constructing learning objects, examine learning objects created by others, and read research about the benefits and uses of learning objects.
Users of the site will explore and learn about the function and properties of learning objects, tools for creating, and managing learning objects, and where to find libraries of such objects on the Internet.
Target Student Population:
College instructors and graduate students in education and instructional technology and those interested in asynchronous learning will find the site useful.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
No prerequisite skills are needed.
Type of Material:
Investigation and research for small groups or independent study.
Browser & shockwave plug-in for some of the links
Evaluation and Observation
The concept of a learning object with its property of reusability is an important one to on-line education. The utility of learning objects is evidenced by the popularity of repositories such as MERLOT and CAREO. As with all new technologies there is much hype about it, so the Information section of the site is a good place to learn about essential properties of effective learning objects. The Tools section provides a good introduction to tools for creating, evaluating and managing the delivery of learning objects. In the Issues section resources for exploring 5 key issues identified by the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative of EDUCASE and associated with the use of learning objects are provided as is the opportunity to join a discussion list devoted to the issues. This site contains many quality resources and references.
While resources referenced by the site mention that learning objects must be placed in context to be used and this is a job for instructional design theory, little or no mention of how to contextualize learning objects was given.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The key links for the site provide a good outline for approaching, studying and constructing learning objects. The Information section has good tutorials on the definition of a learning object and characteristics of quality objects. The Activities section had some clever, interactive exercises for the user to check personal understanding of learning objects and their use.
Due to the lack of current maintenance some of the references are no longer available. The broken links are annoying.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
This is a well-designed and visually appealing website. The structure is systematic and easy to navigate. It is organized well and contains much reference information from other sites,
but you are not overwhelmed with it due to the structure of the website. Navigation is fairly simple given the amount of information available of the website.
No recent maintenance exists on the site. It was last updated in 2003. There are several broken links, especially since the site is dependent on other outside sites.
Other Issues and Comments:
If this site were currently maintained and the several broken links updated, it would be an extremely valuable site teaching. For example, On the Best Practices link 5 out of the 10 links no longer exist. The last time the site was updated was in 2003. The existing reference material on the site is useful.