In Executing Learning Objects, Resurrecting Sharing and Reuse, Scott Leslie takes some well thought shots at the sacred cow term of “learning objects” (and his animation of the “execution” could use more blood, guts, and squeals).
As part of a workshop for the BC Educational Technology Users Group, Scott has nicely posted his materials in wiki fashion (he is now an alumni of the Brian Lamb School of Wiki Presenting, I signed up more than a year ago and the thought of “power” and “pointing” has never reached any proximity)…. as Scott writes:
I began the session with a formal execution of the term “learning object” which you can see at the link above (feel free to reuse this – maybe if it’s played enough times the term will finally die off)…. As I go on to explain, it’s not the concepts the term was supposed to foster that I object to so much as the term itself, as it has left many an instructor panicked and struggling to understand what it means, as if it were something radically different from the learning content they are already producing.
How succinctly and clearly said! Bravo!
My own quibble is with his line:
Though I do actually disagree with Alan that LOs are simply links and all we need is referatories, but that’s likely another post
Since Scott’s blog appears to lack comment function (another roach roach victory?) I disagree with his summation of my position, and I think we are in the same camp. I never proposed or advocated that learning objects should only be links in a referatory (heck, I built my own non-referatory)- I was observing that when I visited a number of said “learning object” collections, the vast majority are not those little re-usable plug and play chunks of content, but simply links to web sites. I do not see objects, a see hyperlinks.
While I find interesting content and technology via those links, I hardly consider them “objects” and really struggle with seeing how a web site “object” (I even found a reference once to “HTML objects”, yikes!) really has much or any “re-use” capability besides linking.
The bottom line is that even with Scott’s workshop list of learning object examples— they are singular content chunks, can any of them be pieced together? (I realize he wanted to have participants look at different objects and ‘evaluate’ them)… beyond the Connexions project, I fail to find any compelling learning content that has been constructed by non-technical people by assembling together so-called objects, be they web sites, Java things, or “any digital asset used for learning”.
I am waiting, but still see the picture of useful learning content built from learning objects as nothing more than fuzzy photos of Sasquatch. I’d love to be wrong, I really would.
I just do not believe that labeling every digital asset a “learning object” enables anything beyond creating piles of digital assets, no matter how intricately meta-tagged they are. If I were king, any project for fostering learning objects must have a larger proportion of its scope be on the content creation from objects, not the cataloging of the iddy biddy pieces.
Anyhow I went of the deep tangential end. There are not enough blog words to describe how much I respect and appreciate the thoughtful work of my colleague up in Victoria.