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1 March 2007 / erikduval

Open Education Roadmap

Very much related to some of the roadmapping activities we do in ProLearn, a new document on “Open Educational Practices and Resources” offers a comprehensive (150 pages!) overview of the field.

Of course, I am happy to see that they consider GLOBE “an encouraging example”🙂 Some of the section headings are nice slogans in their own right: “Towards learning experiences which are real, rich and relevant “, “An urgent need for a transformation of educational practices”, …

Many of the observations resonate strongly with our experiences, like “Creative Commons licensing is firmly established and increasingly used”: indeed, in MELT for instance, a dozen or so ministries of education have agreed to provide their material under CC. GLOBE is also evolving in that direction.

Where I disagree is when the authors write that “[…] many educational content services such as ARIADNE, EdNA Online, GEM (Gateway to Educational Materials), MERLOT and others are often understood to be repositories, but in fact are service providers that aggregate and make accessible a catalogue of educational material held elsewhere. As they do not hold deposited material they may feel that letting harvesters collect their metadata would mean giving away the treasure they build on.” (p.76). In fact, we now have a hybrid infrastructure with both federated search and harvesting (more hairy details available). In a world where content and metadata travels freely, the focus can finally shift to providing relevant services on top of them!

Not surprisingly, I guess, I also kind of disagree with the observation that “The “industrialist” Learning Objects approach has run out of steam” though I actually agree with the conclusion of that section (p.91):

“The problem was, rather, that the notion of LOs has been misled by strong forces in the e-learning landscape. First, the commercial interests behind the LO concept: E-learning technology and content providers wanted to sell their proprietary Learning Management Systems and training course modules. The issue here is that these systems and modules are based on specifications such as IMS Simple Sequencing, which mainly support “closed” learning processes, i.e. rigidly sequential training and knowledge acquisition approaches. Secondly, many educational institutions did, in fact, put LMS in place, either a commercial system or an Open Source system adapted to their purposes. However, while they may have thought they would follow an LO strategy and achieve goals such as cost-effectiveness, educators in schools, colleges and universities did not change their established forms and styles of teaching in the direction of anything that comes close to “click & learn” training courses. In practice, the LMS have been used primarily to provide access to “courseware” (e.g. syllabi, lecture notes, supporting slides, reading lists and links). The reasons behind this are, on the one hand, the reluctance of teachers to experiment with organising and moderating Web-based learning processes and, on the other hand, the lack of capability of LMS to handle didactically more complex learning designs.”

This would lead me to conclude that “Learning Objects have been misunderstood and have therefor not realised their goal.”. Dealing with this misunderstanding, without overly complicating user’s life, is what drives some of our current research.

The authors interviewed me by phone many moons ago: it’s nice to see how they actually seem to have taken my comments to heart, for instance on on automatic metadata generation or learnrank

All in all, this is a thorough introduction in the field, no doubt quite useful now that open educational resources are receiving so much attention…

One Comment

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  1. hiruma / Oct 25 2007 2:41 am

    nice topic. i like this roadmap ^_^

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