Improving the Usefulness of Learning Objects by Means of Pedagogy-Oriented Design

Improving the Usefulness of Learning Objects by Means of Pedagogy-Oriented Design

Giuliana Dettori (ITD-CNR, Italy), Paola Forcheri (IMATI-CNR, Italy) and Maria Grazia Ierardi (IMATI-CNR, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-342-5.ch010
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Learning Objects (LOs) are increasingly considered potentially helpful to improve teachers’ work and to spread innovation in the school system. Their technological roots, however, often make them scarcely appealing to the teachers. A key issue to tackle in order to boost their diffusion is to make them closer to actual teacher’s work by emphasising pedagogical aspects. To this end, the authors propose a typology of LOs that allows teachers to highlight differences in the pedagogical approach embedded in their productions, hence sharing not only content but also educational competence. Moreover, in order to allow re-user teachers to explicit and share the pedagogical experience gained while re-using some material, they suggest endowing repositories with ad hoc facilities, such as comments and itineraries related to the repository’s LOs. Comments would allow people to share narrations of experiences of use, while learning itineraries would point out logical connections of various kinds among small groups of LOs, hence helping the users overcome the content fragmentation induced by the granularity of LOs. These proposals are described and exemplified by drawing from our training experience.
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Learning Objects (LOs) can result useful in education, by decreasing production costs, exploiting experience and saving time (Littlejohn et al. 2003). Not only are they a source of study materials, but can also give suggestions about teaching strategies (Chiappe Laverde et al. 2007). They can provide a valuable contribution to innovate education, because sharing good quality educational materials among a large number of peers can facilitate the circulation of good ideas (Malcolm 2005). Being able to fruitfully make use of LOs, however, entails overcoming a number of issues of both conceptual and practical nature (Busetti et al. 2004a).

From a practical point of view, integrating didactical resources prepared by other teachers in one’s own lessons is not always straightforward, because it requires to work out connections to the new context of use. Even more work can be necessary for recycling, that is, making use of some elements for a different task. This holds true, in particular, for educational material on complex tasks, which, on the other hand, is what teachers are likely to be most interested in, since their preparation requires time and effort. Analogously, preparing educational materials suitable to be reused, that is, able to raise peers’ interest and easily adaptable to different learning situations, is a rather challenging task (Feldstein 2002, Griffith et al. 2007, Lehman 2007) entailing to split lessons into modules which are consistent and self-contained yet easy to articulate with each other.

From a conceptual point of view, difficulties are brought about by the fact that the concept of LO was initially created and worked out by technologists rather than by experts in education. This fact is relevant, because technologists and teachers have different focus and aims and often even use different technical languages (Friesen 2004, Ip et al 2001). As a consequence, the construction of LOs was seen as production of software more than as production of learning and LOs resulted more fit to support presentations than to propose activities of constructive nature. Metadata, which are key to retrieve and re-use LOs, were standardized (Anido et al. 2002, IEEE 2002) not much in line with the current didactical practice (Farance 2003), so that they comprise information which is of limited use from the didactical point of view, such as semantic density, and omit other which is relevant to re-use in real educational contexts, such as the pedagogical and epistemological choices underlying the development of materials. Moreover, standard international metadata did not result apt to take into consideration the peculiarities of national educational systems (Friesen et al. 2002). This limitations should not appear surprising, however, because the variety of needs and points of view that should be taken into consideration by online material makes it complex to devise a set of metadata able to combine simplicity of production with easiness of resource detection (Duval et al 2002).

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Associate Editors
Table of Contents
Mahbubur Rahman Syed
Mahbubur Rahman Syed
Chapter 1
Hiroshi Takeda, Hisashi Yaginuma, Hajime Kiyohara, Akira Tokuyasu, Masami Iwatsuki, Norio Takeuchi, Hisato Kobayashi, Kazuo Yana
This article describes a new automatic digital content generation system we have developed. Recently some universities, including Hosei University... Sample PDF
Automatic Digital Content Generation System for Real-Time Distance Lectures
Chapter 2
Filomena Ferrucci, Giuseppe Scanniello, Genoveffa Tortora
In this chapter the authors present E-World, an e-learning platform able to manage and trace adaptive learning processes which are designed and... Sample PDF
E-World: A Platform for the Management of Adaptive E-Learning Processes
Chapter 3
Judy C.R. Tseng, Wen-Ling Tsai, Gwo-Jen Hwang, Po-Han Wu
In developing traditional learning materials, quality is the key issue to be considered. However, for high technical e-training courses, not only... Sample PDF
An Efficient and Effective Approach to Developing Engineering E-Training Courses
Chapter 4
Te-Hua Wang, Flora Chia-I Chang
The sharable content object reference model (SCORM) includes a representation of distance learning contents and a behavior definition of how users... Sample PDF
A SCORM Compliant Courseware Authoring Tool for Supporting Pervasive Learning
Chapter 5
WenYing Guo
Selecting appropriate learning services for a learner from a large number of heterogeneous knowledge sources is a complex and challenging task. This... Sample PDF
An Ontology-Based e-Learning Scenario
Chapter 6
Dan Phung, Giuseppe Valetto, Gail E. Kaiser, Tiecheng Liu, John R. Kender
The increasing popularity of online courses has highlighted the need for collaborative learning tools for student groups. In this article, we... Sample PDF
Adaptive Synchronization of Semantically Compressed Instructional Videos for Collaborative Distance Learning
Chapter 7
Jing Chen, Qing Li, Ling Feng
The abundance of knowledge-rich information on the World Wide Web makes compiling an online etextbook both possible and necessary. In our previous... Sample PDF
Refining the Results of Automatic e-Textbook Construction by Clustering
Chapter 8
Yueting Zhuang, Xiafen Zhang, Weiming Lu, Fei Wu
Chinese brush calligraphy is a valuable civilization legacy and a high art of scholarship. It is still popular in Chinese banners, newspaper... Sample PDF
Chinese Brush Calligraphy Character Retrieval and Learning
Chapter 9
William K. Cheung, Anders I. Mørch, Kelvin C. Wong, Cynthia Lee, Jiming Liu, Mason H. Lam
In this article we investigate the use of latent semantic analysis (LSA), critiquing systems, and knowledge building to support computer-based... Sample PDF
Grounding Collaborative Learning in Semantics-Based Critiquing
Chapter 10
Giuliana Dettori, Paola Forcheri, Maria Grazia Ierardi
Learning Objects (LOs) are increasingly considered potentially helpful to improve teachers’ work and to spread innovation in the school system.... Sample PDF
Improving the Usefulness of Learning Objects by Means of Pedagogy-Oriented Design
Chapter 11
Frederick W.B. Li, Rynson W.H. Lau, Taku Komura, Meng Wang, Becky Siu
Human motion animation has been one of the major research topics in the field of computer graphics for decades. Techniques developed in this area... Sample PDF
Adaptive Animation of Human Motion for E-Learning Applications
Chapter 12
Gennaro Costagliola, Vittorio Fuccella
On-Line Testing is that sector of e-learning aimed at assessing learner’s knowledge through e-learning means. In on-line testing, due to the... Sample PDF
eWorkbook: An On-Line Testing System with Test Visualization Functionalities
Chapter 13
Brian Stewart, Derek Briton, Mike Gismondi, Bob Heller, Dietmar Kennepohl, Rory McGreal, Christine Nelson
Athabasca University—Canada’s Open University evaluated learning management systems (LMS) for use by the university. Evaluative criteria were... Sample PDF
Choosing MOODLE: An Evaluation of Learning Management Systems at Athabasca
Chapter 14
Damien Clark, Penny Baillie-de Byl
Computer aided assessment is a common approach used by educational institutions. The benefits range into the design of teaching, learning, and... Sample PDF
Enhancing the IMS QTI to Better Support Computer Assisted Marking
Chapter 15
Ali Dashti, Maytham Safar
Distance education created new challenges regarding the delivery of large size isochronous continuous streaming media (SM) objects. In this paper... Sample PDF
Streaming of Continuous Media for Distance Education Systems
Chapter 16
Manjulika Srivastava, Venugopal Reddy
The question why some learners successfully study through distance mode and others do not is increasingly becoming important as open and distance... Sample PDF
How Did They Study at a Distance? Experiences of IGNOU Graduates
Chapter 17
Gwo-Jen Hwang, Ting-Ting Wu, Yen-Jung Chen
The prosperous development of wireless communication and sensor technologies has attracted the attention of researchers from both computer and... Sample PDF
Ubiquitous Computing Technologies in Education
Chapter 18
S. Grunwald, B. Hoover, G.L. Bruland
In this chapter the authors describe the implementation of an emerging virtual learning environment to teach GIS and spatial sciences to distance... Sample PDF
An eLearning Portal to Teach Geographic Information Sciences
Chapter 19
Maria Manuela Cunha, Goran D. Putnik
Individualised open and distance learning at the university continuing education and post-graduate education levels is a central issue of today. The... Sample PDF
A Changed Economy with Unchanged Universities? A Contribution to the University of the Future
Chapter 20
Richard Y.D. Xu, Jesse S. Jin
This article presents a schematic application of computer vision technologies to e-learning that is synchronous, peer-to-peer-based, and supports an... Sample PDF
Rationale, Design and Implementation of a Computer Vision-Based Interactive E-Learning System
Chapter 21
Dorothée Rasseneur-Coffinet, Georgia Smyrniou, Pierre Tchounikine
This article presents an approach and tools that can help learners appropriate a Web-based learning curriculum and become active participants in... Sample PDF
Supporting Learners' Appropriation of a Web-Based Learning Curriculum
Chapter 22
Gwo-Jen Hwang, Hsiang Cheng, Carol H.C. Chu, Judy C.R. Tseng, Gwo-Haur Hwang
In the past decades, English learning has received lots of attention all over the world, especially for those who are not native English speakers.... Sample PDF
Development of a Web-Based System for Diagnosing Student Learning Problems on English Tenses
Chapter 23
Chi-Syan Lin, C. Candace Chou, Ming-Shiou Kuo
The paper outlines a new paradigm and its underlying rationales for implementing networked learning environments that is emerging from new... Sample PDF
Inhabited Virtual Learning Worlds and Impacts on Learning Behaviors in Young School Learners
Chapter 24
Rory McGreal, Terry Anderson
Any view of e-learning in Canada must be informed by the uniquely Canadian feature of provincial jurisdiction over education. Therefore any... Sample PDF
Research and Practice of E-Learning in Canada 2008
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