A Bit Overly Excitable Over Learning Object Tool?

Dogs get rather excited easily. Just jangle your car keys and they are all over you for a ride. Reach down for your shoes, and they are halfway out the door, leash in mouth.

I have seen the same in the blog community over the announcement of the US Labor Department’s offer of a free copy of “EZ Reusable Objects”

EZ Reusable Objects will let agencies build Web-based e-learning courses, said Peter Gallagher, president of Development InfoStructure. The Arlington, Va., IT consulting firm helped Labor build the application.

EZRO is an example of the resource-sharing model of how companies, agencies and the open-source software community can collaborate and build apps, Gallagher said today at FOSE 2004 in Washington.

So here goes the excitement- free authoring tool! Builds magical things out of learning objects! SCORM! 508 Compliant! Woo hoo! But is anyone scratching the surface? Slogan to the contrary, “Content” is not King, but a court jester, or not even on the board.

I took a quick look at some of the examples and was duly un-impressed at the so-called “tutorials”– these featured the same linear click and read navigation that harkens to the early days of HyperCard. So-called “interactivity” was a brain lame multiple choice click and see feedback. Next. Next. Click Next. Next. Next.

You tell me if this is the kind of “eLearning” you will invest time in:

Examining the Problem of Workplace Violence
Hazardous Communications: Labels
US Foreign Disaster Assistance Cable Resource Tutorial (okay, this one was a bit more sophisticated, but look at the URL:- it is from the folks that made the software

There seems to be more to EZRO as a content management and creation tool, which looks like it turns the authoring process into “web form processing parade” (lots of screens to edit, select, and click “submit”) and some sort of wiki-like markup for formatting.

I could be very wrong, but when I see hype and then stiff dull content, my radar of skepticism goes up a notch. This was why Pachyderm project caught my attention- sure it was built on learning objects, but the content created was stellar, engaging and anything but “click and read”.

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Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Oh, and yes, I saw the EZRO announcement on the EduZope list and couldn’t quite see the point, or at least what it offered beyond any content management system.

    I’d be more excited about EduPlone…if I had any clue what I was doing :-)


  2. To touch the elephant, you must place a blindfold on and….

    There is no available sotfware now- the project is to build this as open source software over the next 3 years. See the project blog for some details:


    If your institution is an NMC member, you might want to cotnact NMC chief Larry Johnson…. Maricopa is not an official part of the grant project, we are sort of tagging along.

    I tried to look at EduPlone but could not read any of the languages– is it any different from the regular Plone?? I am still trying to sort out whether to try using Plone as a project tool.

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