Opportunities, Achievements, and Prospects for Use of IMS LD

Opportunities, Achievements, and Prospects for Use of IMS LD

David Griffiths (The University of Bolton, UK) and Oleg Liber (The University of Bolton, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-861-1.ch004
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Abstract

The IMS LD specification is internally complex and has been used in a number of different ways. As a result users who have a basic understanding of the role of the specification in interoperability may nevertheless find it difficult to get an overview of the potential of the specification, or to assess what has been achieved through its use. This chapter seeks to make the task simpler by articulating the modes of use of the specification and analysing the work carried out in each. The IMS LD specification is briefly introduced. Four aspects of the IMS Learning Design specification are identified and described: modeling language, interoperability specification, modeling and methodology, and infrastructure. The different opportunities provided by each mode of use are explored and the achievements of work so far carried out are assessed. A number of valuable contributions are identified, but the practical and widespread use of the specification to exchange learning activities has not so far been achieved. The changing technological and organisational environment in which IMS LD operates is discussed, and its implications are explored. Conclusions are offered which summarise achievements with IMS LD to date, with comments on prospects for the future.
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Introduction

The Questions Addressed by This Chapter

Within the field of learning design and learning objects, IMS Learning Design (IMS LD) (IMS Global Learning, 2003) is the only interoperability specification which enables users to implement learning activities for multiple users while maintaining the flexibility to implement a wide range of pedagogical structures. Because of this, IMS LD based approaches and systems have rightly received a great deal of attention as a possible solution to a number of different challenges facing education in the early years of the twenty-first century. This multifaceted relevance, however, creates its own problems. The experience of the authors is that many people when they first come to IMS LD see it in terms of the problems which they themselves would like to solve. For example, they may see it as being a modeling language, or as a data format, or as “what you do when you use an IMS LD compliant application?” As a result, it is often difficult for users to get an overview of the full potential of the specification, or to assess what has been achieved with it. This chapter does not provide an introduction to IMS LD, as this is available in Koper (2005b) and Olivier and Tattersall (2005). Nor does it focus on classifying and describing tools for IMS LD, as analysed by Griffiths, Blat, Garcia, Vogten, and Kwong (2005). Rather it seeks to support relative newcomers to the specification in understanding the opportunities which IMS LD offers, the achievements which have been made, the constraints under which it operates, and the prospects for the future. It also aspires to offer reflections which will provide some new perspectives for those who have worked with the specification for some time.

From one perspective, it might seem that the contribution made IMS LD and its predecessor educational modelling language (EML) is straightforward, as described in the preface to Koper and Tattersall (2005, p. viii):

The basic idea of EML and LD...is in essence simple. It represents a vocabulary which users of any pedagogical approach understand, and into which existing designs can be translated. The core of LD can be summarised as the view that, when learning, people in specific groups and roles engage in activities using an environment with appropriate resources and services.

In the same volume, Koper sets out the requirements for a learning design language (Koper, 2005b). These include that it should provide sufficient detail for the teaching–learning activities to be carried out, be sufficiently flexible to be able to describe learning designs based on all kinds of theories, and should provide a formal language for learning designs that can be processed automatically. Thus, IMS LD is a language which can be used to define designs for teaching and learning activities. Nevertheless, the specification itself is not as straightforward as this might suggest. As Olivier and Tattersall (2005, p. 21) point out: “To be usable by computers, this language has to be given a concrete syntax and semantics, and this is provided by the Learning Design specification. The documents which make up the specification can be quite daunting.”

IMS specifications are typically composed of a set of three documents: a best practice and implementation guide, an information binding, and an information model, and in the case of IMS LD, these documents are considerably more extensive and complex than most of those produced by IMS. According to Olivier and Tattersall (2005, p. 23) who were involved in the authorship of the documents, they are “intended to be read by technical domain specialists, learning technologists and learning and instructional designers.” It should be noted that end users, such as teachers, learners, and those running educational institutions, are not mentioned in this list. These end users would no doubt find the LD specification opaque, and indeed the experience of the UNFOLD project (Burgos & Griffiths, 2005), which we discuss below, suggests that this is the case for many “learning and instructional designers” too. Thus, it was always intended that most actors would use IMS LD through the mediation of a layer of tooling. In this, LD is similar to other document formats which are rarely edited or even seen by anyone other than a technical expert, even in the case of a relatively simple mark up language such as HTML. Consequently, the degree to which IMS LD tools have succeeded in hiding the complexity of the specification from the user has been, and remains, a key factor in constraining or enabling the achievements and opportunities for effective use of the specification.

In an earlier publication (Griffiths, Blat, Garcia, Vogten, & Kwong, 2005), we discussed the categories of tools which are required to work with IMS LD, the factors which influence their development, and types of tools which were being produced. The categorisation of tools which is provided there remains applicable, although readers interested in an alternative approach are also directed to Sodhi, Miao, Brouns, and Koper (2007). Since 2005, a substantial effort has been put into the development of IMS LD tooling, and in this chapter, we will be mentioning much of the key work carried out. The development of IMS LD compliant tools and specifications is not, however, an end in itself. To be of significance, they should be used by someone for a purpose, and make a difference in the world, and so our discussion is informed by the questions:

  • 1.

    Have the original goals of IMS LD been achieved?

  • 2.

    What opportunities for use have emerged from applications of IMS LD beyond those envisaged by the authors of the specification?

With this in mind, we do not here tell the story of the work carried out, and the software engineering, design, and usability issues which have arisen (interesting though these topics may be). Rather, we identify the ways in which IMS LD can be used, giving illustrative examples of the tools and implementations which have been developed. On the basis of this discussion, we offer our assessment of the current status of IMS LD for each of the modes of use. We then move on to engage with a critical reflection on the role that IMS LD is equipped to play in the evolving technical context, discussing the question:

  • 3.

    To what extent have there been changes in the technological and organisational environment within which IMS LD is situated, and what are the implications for future use of the specification?

Key Terms in this Chapter

Reference Implementation: An implementation of a specification which represents an accepted version of the behaviours which should be shown by a compliant application.

Unit of Learning (UOL): A pedagogical scenario addressing a learning goal, expressed in IMS LD.

Personal Learning Environment (PLE): A system which enables the user to manage all their learning activities (which may be carried out in various organizations). The system focuses on coordinating connections between the user and a wide range of services offered by organizations and other individuals.

Pedagogy: In this chapter, pedagogy is understood to be a conscious practice (which may be informed by theory) aimed at the effective organization of learning activities.

Run: An instance of a unit of learning, executed by a runtime system, and populated with identified users.

IMS Learning Design (IMS LD): An interoperability specification focused on the exchange and interoperability of e-learning materials and activities, published by IMS Global Learning Inc. It is in itself also a modeling language, and is strongly based on OUNL’s EML.

Educational Modeling Language (EML): A language developed by the Open University of the Netherlands to facilitate the design and execution of a wide range of pedagogical designs.

Design Time: As regards IMS LD, the planning and creation of a unit of learning.

Runtime: As regards IMS LD, the execution of a unit of learning using a player application.

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Tom Carey
Preface
Lori Lockyer, Sue Bennett, Shirley Agostinho, Barry Harper
Acknowledgment
Lori Lockyer, Sue Bennett, Shirley Agostinho, Barry Harper
Chapter 1
Shirley Agostinho
The term “learning design” is gaining momentum in the e-learning literature as a concept for supporting academics to model and share teaching... Sample PDF
Learning Design Representations to Document, Model, and Share Teaching Practice
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Chapter 2
Isobel Falconer, Allison Littlejohn
Practice models are generic approaches to the structuring and orchestration of learning activities for pedagogic purposes, intended to promote... Sample PDF
Representing Models of Practice
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Chapter 3
Rob Koper, Yongwu Miao
IMS learning design (IMSLD) is an open standard that can be used to specify a wide range of pedagogical strategies in computer-interpretable models.... Sample PDF
Using the IMS LD Standard to Describe Learning Designs
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Chapter 4
David Griffiths, Oleg Liber
The IMS LD specification is internally complex and has been used in a number of different ways. As a result users who have a basic understanding of... Sample PDF
Opportunities, Achievements, and Prospects for Use of IMS LD
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Chapter 5
Franca Garzotto, Symeon Retalis
“A design pattern describes a problem which occurs over and over again in our environment, and then describes the core of the solution to that... Sample PDF
A Critical Perspective on Design Patterns for E-Learning
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Chapter 6
Sherri S. Frizell, Roland Hübscher
Design patterns have received considerable attention for their potential as a means of capturing and sharing design knowledge. This chapter provides... Sample PDF
Using Design Patterns to Support E-Learning Design
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Chapter 7
Peter Goodyear, Dai Fei Yang
This chapter provides an overview of recent research and development (R&D) activity in the area of educational design patterns and pattern... Sample PDF
Patterns and Pattern Languages in Educational Design
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Chapter 8
Gráinne Conole
The chapter provides a theoretical framework for understanding learning activities, centering on two key aspects: (1) the capture and representation... Sample PDF
The Role of Mediating Artefacts in Learning Design
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Chapter 9
Elizabeth Masterman
This chapter uses activity theory to construct a framework for the design and deployment of pedagogic planning tools. It starts by noting the impact... Sample PDF
Activity Theory and the Design of Pedagogic Planning Tools
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Chapter 10
Barry Harper, Ron Oliver
This chapter describes the development of a taxonomy of learning designs based on a survey of 52 innovative ICT-using projects that formed the basis... Sample PDF
Developing a Taxonomy for Learning Designs
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Chapter 11
Carmel McNaught, Paul Lam, Kin-Fai Cheng
The chapter will describe an expert review process used at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. The mechanism used involves a carefully developed... Sample PDF
Using Expert Reviews to Enhance Learning Designs
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Chapter 12
Matthew Kearney, Anne Prescott, Kirsty Young
This chapter reports on findings from a recent project situated in the area of preservice teacher education. The project investigated prospective... Sample PDF
Investigating Prospective Teachers as Learning Design Authors
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Chapter 13
Paul Hazlewood, Amanda Oddie, Mark Barrett-Baxendale
IMS Learning Design (IMS LD) is a specification for describing a range of pedagogic approaches. It allows the linking of pedagogical structure... Sample PDF
Using IMS Learning Design in Educational Situations
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Chapter 14
Robert McLaughlan, Denise Kirkpatrick
Decision-making processes in relation to complex natural resources require recognition and accommodation of diverse and competing perspectives in a... Sample PDF
Online Role-Based Learning Designs for Teaching Complex Decision Making
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Chapter 15
Garry Hoban
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Facilitating Learner-Generated Animations with Slowmation
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Chapter 16
Yongwu Miao, Daniel Burgos, David Griffiths, Rob Koper
Group interaction has to be meticulously designed to foster effective and efficient collaborative learning. The IMS Learning Design specification... Sample PDF
Representation of Coordination Mechanisms in IMS LD
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Chapter 17
Johannes Strobel, Gretchen Lowerison, Roger Côté, Philip C. Abrami, Edward C. Bethel
In this chapter, we describe the process of modeling different theory-, research-, and best-practicebased learning designs into IMS-LD, a... Sample PDF
Modeling Learning Units by Capturing Context with IMS LD
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Chapter 18
Daniel Burgos, Hans G.K. Hummel, Colin Tattersall, Francis Brouns, Rob Koper
This chapter presents some design guidelines for collaboration and participation in blended learning networks. As an exemplary network, we describe... Sample PDF
Design Guidelines for Collaboration and Participation with Examples from the LN4LD (Learning Network for Learning Design)
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Chapter 19
Tom Boyle
This chapter argues that good design has to be at the heart of developing effective learning objects. It briefly outlines the “knowledge... Sample PDF
The Design of Learning Objects for Pedagogical Impact
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Chapter 20
Margaret Turner
This chapter introduces an approach to writing content for online learning over networked media. It argues that few resources currently utilise the... Sample PDF
Visual Meaning Management for Networked Learning
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Chapter 21
Christina Gitsaki
Due to the increasingly diverse student population in multicultural nations such as Australia, the U.S., Canada, and the UK, educators are faced... Sample PDF
Modification of Learning Objects for NESB Students
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Chapter 22
Daniel Churchill, John Gordon Hedberg
The main idea behind learning objects is that they are to exist as digital resources separated from the learning task in which they are used. This... Sample PDF
Learning Objects, Learning Tasks, and Handhelds
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Chapter 23
Peter Freebody, Sandy Muspratt, David McRae
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Technology, Curriculum, and Pedagogy in the Evaluation of an Online Content Program in Australasia
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Chapter 24
David Lake, Kate Lowe, Rob Phillips, Rick Cummings, Renato Schibeci
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Effective Use of Learning Objects in Class Environments
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Chapter 25
Robert McCormick, Tomi Jaakkola, Sami Nurmi
Most studies on reusable digital learning materials, Learning Objects (LOs), relate to their use in universities. Few empirical studies exist to... Sample PDF
A European Evaluation of the Promises of LOs
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Chapter 26
Tomi Jaakkola, Sami Nurmi
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Instructional Effectiveness of Learning Objects
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Chapter 27
Robert McCormick
This chapter will examine the approach taken in the evaluation of a large-scale feasibility trial of the production, distribution, and use of... Sample PDF
Evaluating Large-Scale European LO Production, Distribution, and Use
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Chapter 28
John C Nesbit, Tracey L. Leacock
The Learning Object Review Instrument (LORI) is an evaluation framework designed to support collaborative critique of multimedia learning resources.... Sample PDF
Collaborative Argumentation in Learning Resource Evaluation
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Chapter 29
Philippe Martin, Michel Eboueya
This chapter first argues that current approaches for sharing and retrieving learning objects or any other kinds of information are not efficient or... Sample PDF
For the Ultimate Accessibility and Reusability
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Chapter 30
Sue Bennett, Dominique Parrish, Geraldine Lefoe, Meg O’Reilly, Mike Keppell, Robyn Philip
As the notion of learning objects has grown in popularity, so too has interest in how they should be stored to promote access and reusability. A key... Sample PDF
A Needs Analysis Framework for the Design of Digital Repositories in Higher Education
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Chapter 31
William Bramble, Mariya Pachman
Reusable learning objects (LOs) constitute a promising approach to the development of easily accessible, technologically sound, and curriculum... Sample PDF
Costs and Sustainability of Learning Object Repositories
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Chapter 32
Kristine Elliott, Kevin Sweeney, Helen Irving
This chapter reports the authors’ experiences of developing a learning design to teach scientific inquiry, of integrating the learning design with... Sample PDF
A Learning Design to Teach Scientific Inquiry
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Chapter 33
Lisa Lobry de Bruyn
This chapter explores through a case study approach of a tertiary-level unit on Land Assessment for Sustainable Use, the connections between three... Sample PDF
Adapting Problem-Based Learning to an Online Learning Environment
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Chapter 34
Tan Wee Chuen, Baharuddin Aris, Mohd Salleh Abu
This chapter aims to guide the readers through the design and development of a prototype Web-based learning system based on the integration of... Sample PDF
Learning Objects and Generative Learning for Higher Order Thinking
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Chapter 35
Sebastian Foti
The author describes the work of Dr. Mary Budd Rowe and the establishment of an early learning object databases. Extensive training with K-12... Sample PDF
Applying Learning Object Libraries in K-12 Settings
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Chapter 36
L. K. Curda, Melissa A. Kelly
We present guidelines for designing and developing a repository for the storage and exchange of instructional resources, as well as considerations... Sample PDF
Guidelines for Developing Learning Object Repositories
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Chapter 37
Sandra Wills, Anne McDougall
This study tracks the uptake of online role play in Australia from 1990 to 2006 and the affordances to its uptake. It examines reusability, as one... Sample PDF
Reusability of Online Role Play as Learning Objects or Learning Designs
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Chapter 38
Lori Lockyer, Lisa Kosta, Sue Bennett
Health professional education is changing to meet the demands of a limited workforce and a focus on community-based clinical training. The change... Sample PDF
An Analysis of Learning Designs that Integrate Patient Cases in Health Professions Education
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Chapter 39
Mohan Chinnappan
The shift in the way we visualise the nature of mathematics and mathematics learning has presented educational technologists with new challenges in... Sample PDF
Reconceptualisation of Learning Objects as Meta-Schemas
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Chapter 40
Henk Huijser
This chapter provides an in depth discussion of the issues involved in integrating learning design and learning objects into generic Web sites. It... Sample PDF
Designing Learning Objects for Generic Web Sites
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Chapter 41
Morag Munro, Claire Kenny
E-learning standards are a contentious topic amongst educators, designers, and researchers engaged in the development of learning objects and... Sample PDF
Standards for Learning Objects and Learning Designs
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Chapter 42
Eddy Boot, Luca Botturi, Andrew S. Gibbons, Todd Stubbs
In developing modern instructional software, learning designs are used to formalize descriptions of roles, activities, constraints, and several... Sample PDF
Supporting Decision Making in Using Design Languages for Learning Designs and Learning Objects
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Chapter 43
Gilbert Paquette, Olga Mariño, Karin Lundgren-Cayrol, Michel Léonard
This chapter summarizes the work on instructional engineering and educational modeling accomplished since 1992 at the LICEF Research Center of... Sample PDF
Principled Construction and Reuse of Learning Designs
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