Sunday, January 23, 2011

Construction of Reusable Learning Objects - 5 Types of LO

Learning Objects (LO) are small reusable chunks of digital media. Each LO will pass on learning about a subject or a topic. LO are digital entities or digital files that you can deliver or share over the Internet.  The digital media can be a jpeg photo, an audio file, a video file, or a webpage that opens on the fly. 

Since the main purpose of LO is reusability, you need to put a lot of thought when you construct a learning object. When you say constructing, it means deciding if the LO will be used for instruction, testing, practice or reference. If the LO has to reusable, you need to have minimum context-specific testing inside the LO. Inter-operable LO can be used or shared across courses. Intra operable LO can be reused within a course.

You have to know the different types of LO before you construct or design a LO. The five types of LO are:

1.       Fundamental An individual digital resource uncombined with any other, the fundamental learning object is generally a visual (or other) aid that serves an exhibit or example function. 

2.       Combined-closed - A small number of digital resources combined at design time by the learning object's creator, whose constituent learning objects are not individually accessible for reuse (recoverable) from the combined-closed learning object itself. A video clip exemplifies this definition, as still images and an audio track are combined in a manner which renders these constituent pieces unrecoverable (or, at least difficult to recover). The Combined-closed learning object may contain limited logic (e.g., the ability to perform answer sheet-referenced item scoring) but should not contain complex internal logic (e.g., the capacity to intelligently grade a set of item forms or case types) since this valuable capability would not be reusable in other learning objects. Combined-closed learning objects are generally single purpose, that is, they provide either instruction or practice. 

3.      Combined-openA larger number of digital resources combined by a computer in real-time when a request for the object is made, whose constituent learning objects are directly accessible for reuse (recoverable) from the Combined-open object. A webpage exemplifies this definition, as its component images, video clips, text, and other media exist in reusable format and are combined into a learning object at request-time. Combined-open learning objects frequently combine related instructional and practice-providing Combined-closed and Fundamental objects in order to create a complete instructional unit.

4.      Generative-presentation Logic and structure for combining or generating and combining lower-level learning objects (Fundamental and Combined-closed types). Generative-presentation learning objects can either draw on network-accessible objects and combine them, or generate (e.g., draw) objects and combine them to create presentations for use in reference, instruction, practice, and testing. (Generative-presentation learning objects must be able to pass messages to other objects with assessment logic when used in practice or testing). While Generative-presentation learning objects have high intra-contextual reusability (they can be used over and over again in similar contexts), they have relatively low inter-contextual reusability (use in domains other than that for which they were designed).

 Generative-instructionalLogic and structure for combining learning objects (Fundamental, Combined-closed types, and Generative-presentation) and evaluating student interactions with those combinations, created to support the instantiation of abstract instructional strategies (such as "remember and perform a series of steps"). The transaction shells of Merrill's Instructional Transaction Theory (Merrill, 1999) would be classified as Generative-instructional learning objects. The Generative-instructional learning object is high in both intra-contextual and inter-contextual reusability. 

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