This chapter presents the experience of production and use of learning objects (LOs) for English-language learning at the Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Parana (PUCPR), Brazil. PUCPR made its first steps towards online education in 1995 when it started developing its virtual learning environment. Along this trajectory, the need was felt to look for technological resources for the development of digital didactic material. This led to the creation of the Web-based Student Support System (SAAW) by the Center for Educational Technologies. In this research, we developed a case study as the basis for this small data-collection study to elucidate and analyze perceptions and information supplied by the study population. This study was carried out by students studying for a Master’s in Education and taking the “Theory and Practice in Distance Education” module. The English-language LO was considered to be satisfactory and to facilitate the teaching learning process.
Some Brief Considerations On Learning Objects
There is a lack of consensus regarding what constitutes a learning object. Most authors support the idea that for a resource to be an LO, it must be digital and reusable and have an educational purpose. According to Muzio (in Bastos, 2005, p. 29): “There are many different definitions of a[n] LO, and many other terms are used. This always leads to confusion and problems with communication, which is hardly surprising, as this field of study is new.”
Coutinho (2003) states that from the instructional point of view, learning objects correspond to small study segments and must be linked to one or more specific learning objectives. In addition, learning objects must follow some kind of instructional strategy (BASTOS, 2005, p. 29).
Wiley (2001, p. 5) defines an LO as any digital resource that can be reused to aid learning. His definition includes any digital resource, whether small or large, that can be distributed over a network on demand.
Tarouco, Fabre, and Tamisiunas (2003, p. 2) extend this concept to include:
…any resource that is supplementary to the learning process and can be reused to support learning. The term learning objects is generally applied to learning material that is designed and built in small units with a view to maximizing learning situations where the resource can be reused. The basic idea is that the objects should be like blocks with which the learning context will be built.
Few authors appear to be concerned with the educational aspect of LOs or consider it part of the concept of LOs. The technical characteristics are always remembered and are (Ramos, 2006):