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9 May 2004 / erikduval

Finding Learning Objects

Scott Leslie reports on how he searched for a learning object on a statistical subject, and resorted to Google after trying some of the “pure sang” learning object repositories, like Merlot and Careo. This definitely doesn’t sound like an unprobable scenario to me. The real question is: what do we learn from this…

Here is the essence of what I think his experience illustrates:

– We need to focus much more on usability issues: I have been using the slogan that “electronic forms must die” for a while now… The Google type one-textbox-and-no-more is the maximum number of form elements I want our team to make use of. In fact, we can do better than Google, once we integrate our learning object repository in the workflow and infrastructure of the end user.

– Google uses metadata, just like learning object repositories. The only difference is that Google is smarter about how it uses the metadata to deliver results that are relevant to the user. However, we include metadata that cover the learning context! And we have learning objects in our repositories, not documents. Yes, “documents must die”!

My conclusion: Google is not our enemy, it is our ally! We should be able to eventually do better than Google for educational contexts. Of course, it will take work to get us to that level… Anyway, if you are involved in this field, and you have no idea about how you could ever improve on Google, then you should ask yourself some hard questions!

BTW: Thanks to Mark Oehlert for alerting me to this discussion.

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