A Learning Object is “any digital resource that can be reused to support learning”. The emphasis is on reuse. A resource which can be encapsulated in such a way that it is quasi-autonomous and which may be integrated seamlessly within *any* instructional material, including within a Learning Platform such as Moodle. If a resource encapsulates its own description, then it is easily integrated wherever one may require: for instance a learning lesson between a pre-test and an exercise. The idea of a LO is that it incorporates this sort of description (the so-called metadata) so it becomes portable and reusable in diverse contexts. Is a video from YouTube a Learning Object? Yes, accordign to the above definition. It even has a minimal amount of metadata (the tags attached to it). However, strictly speaking, it wouldn’t comply, at least because it has no formal, standardized set of metadata attached.
Does this idea of LO sound a little like an utopia? I have worked in a nice LO project some time ago, and I enjoyed it a lot at that time. A copy of the main ideas and work produced by the HOLA project is kept here.
Now, I’m a bit skeptical. However, I must say that the research and development on the subject has produced a great amount of very good educational resources that are reusable with minimum effort! Let’s see the latest I stumbled upon.
Learning ObjectsÂ -Â A good introduction
The Instructional Use of Learning Objects – A free book…
Learning object – Wikipedia – Another good starting point
However, the best resources are:
The Instructional Architect, which “allows you to find, use, and share learning resources from the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) and the Web in order to create engaging and interactive educational web pages. It’s easy and free.”
Lola: Learning Objects, an exchange for facilitating the sharing of high-quality learning objects. It contains materials for use across the curriculum, with a particular focus on modules for Information Literacy.
Last, of course, the good glass of MERLOT, the most famous Repository of Learning Objects.
With these resources, it is a matter of finding the right material for one’s course and voilÃ¡, it’s a snap to incorporate it within an on-line course or instructional (digital) material.