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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Learning Objects Portal

by Denise Nelson
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

3.8 stars
Content Quality: 4.5 stars
Effectiveness: 4 stars
Ease of Use: 3.5 stars
Reviewed: Jun 19, 2006 by Teacher Education
Overview: 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.
Learning Goals: 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: Reference material.
Recommended Uses: Investigation and research for small groups or independent study.
Technical Requirements: Browser & shockwave plug-in for some of the links

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.5 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: 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

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: 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

Rating: 3.5 stars
Strengths: 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.
Concerns: 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.