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28 June 2006 / erikduval

Tom Boyle @ EdMedia

Tom Boyle talked about “The Design and Development of Second Generation Learning Objects“. He started from a series of learning objects they had developed on software programming. The first generation of these objects won awards and increased pass rate by 10 to 20%.

These objects were very succesfull educationally, but much less so in productivity, as repurposing and adaptation was difficult. The design was implicit and not available for reuse. That is why they decided to focus more on capturing pedagogical patterns, which they capture in a way that also includes some of the pedagogical information that underlies the pattern. To me, it very much looked like powerpoint templates that you can fill in, though of course more sophisticated and with more pedagogical support.

Tom referred to how this complements the work we do on ALOCOM and I agree with him that integrating our access to components into tools like the ones he was presenting would be extremely powerful.

Tom then went on to make some more general remarks about learning objects. He presented a conceptualization around three dimensions:

  • from instance to patterns
  • from base to higher order learning objects
  • from component to package

This was a great talk: it was wonderful to see someone reflect so clearly on what worked and what didn’t with things they had done before, especially so because what they had actually done was very succesful! That said, I am not sure that we should ask teachers to design their materials in such a top down matter… Can we not find more subtle ways to assist and empower them?


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