(Taking a break from my current Kiwi blogging action, cannot stay away). In Learning Objects: A Practical Definition Rory McGreal takes a somewhat noble effort to wrestle the learning object monster. I was looking for that grail like singular uber definition. Is it there?

I love reading things like:

LOs are sometimes defined as being educational resources that can be employed in technology-supported learning. With appropriate metadata descriptions, they can be modular units that can be assembled together to form lessons and courses.

I sure wish someone out there could point me to some real examples of such lessons that have been snapped together lego like fashion. I see these things in the same vein as Sasquatch, Nessie, and the Yeti– all you get are big headlines and fuzzy photos.

And we must hail the mighty meta-data:

In order to search for and find LOs, which might be ideal for a particular course, descriptions of their many characteristics are needed. This is what metadata does…Metadata includes a listing of commonly defined fields for each LO. These fields conform to an accepted set of rules. These rules provide a means of creating, handling and storing data and electronically transferring information using common standards that enable international interoperability.

I love meta data, even mildly believe in its value, but severely doubt the piles of structured, rigid meta data armories constructed by the acronym soup organizations will go very far. Kind of like driving a Hummer crossing a rope bridge… “Who will do all this tagging?” It has all the appeal of doing the long tax form in quadruplicate. It won’t be me, and it sure will not be your average technology user.

Rory then goes on to in great detail outline a variety of schema and dimensions to look at learning objects. This is some valid, thought out work… this statement seems left out there hanging:

Whether something counts as a LO, depends on whether it can be used to teach or learn, and this can only be determined by its use, not by its nature.

So where in the pile of meta data, repositories, SCORMIEEERADRIADNEIMS doe we ever look at tracking use/reuse? Nada.

So drum roll please…..

LOs can be defined as any reusable digital resource that is encapsulated in a lesson or assemblage of lessons grouped in units, modules, courses, and even programmes. A lesson can be defined as a piece of instruction, normally including a learning purpose or purposes.

Like the hundreds of “you’ve reached the end of the Internet” pages, maybe here one can say “You have reached the end of the learning object definitions. Turn off your computer and go home.”

Still, it is no clearer than the day before I ever heard the words “learning object”. Me, I take a twist on Justice Potter Stewart’s definition for pornography, “I cannot define it, but I know a learning object when I see it”

The post "Learning Object Definitions Redux Number 3254" was originally pulled from under moldy cheese at the back of the fridge at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2004/11/learning-object/) on November 2, 2004.

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