Using IMS Learning Design in Educational Situations

Using IMS Learning Design in Educational Situations

Paul Hazlewood (Liverpool Hope University, UK), Amanda Oddie (Liverpool Hope University, UK) and Mark Barrett-Baxendale (Liverpool Hope University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-861-1.ch013
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IMS Learning Design (IMS LD) is a specification for describing a range of pedagogic approaches. It allows the linking of pedagogical structure, content, and services, whilst keeping the three separate, thus providing the potential for reuse as well as forming the basis for interoperability between learning activities and services. As such, this specification promises unprecedented opportunities to build effective tutor support and presence into e-learning systems. The tools that implement the specification have primarily been used for research purposes and have not been targeted at teaching practitioners or learners working in teaching and learning situations. There is a perception amongst practitioners and tool developers that the specification and tools are too technical or difficult for practitioner use. This chapter examines practitioner use of current tools for creating IMS LD and the use of IMS LD units of learning (UoLs) with learners through projects being undertaken at Liverpool Hope University (LHU). It presents some of the experiences and findings gained from these projects. The chapter also examines current technologies and tools for creating and running IMS LD UoLs, and finally discusses the potential and future for IMS LD.
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The IMS Learning Design (IMS LD) specification (IMS, 2003) is an evolution of the Educational Modeling Language (EML) developed by the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL). EML was designed for online distance learning but was not considered a standard. The IMS LD specification was developed as a standard to encompass a wider range of teaching and learning situations. The specification claims to capture a wide range of pedagogies in electronic form, and as such, promises unprecedented opportunities to build effective tutor support and presence into e-learning systems.

IMS LD is a specification that can:

  • 1.

    Describe learning situations which use a wide range of pedagogic approaches; the learning situations can be at any level of granularity, for example, activity, lesson, themed block, module, or course.

  • 2.

    Link the learning with a range of content and services, potentially allowing for the reuse of learning designs.

IMS LD is well suited to offer the flexibility of implementing any pedagogical approach, allowing students to collaborate or progress through units of learning entirely at their own pace. It offers adaptability for students’ abilities by allowing a practitioner to set up a unit of learning (UoL) that allows students to take different paths through it or through different UoLs based on their experience or learning styles.

Although the IMS LD specification has been available for around four years and much research and development has built up around it, for example, the UNFOLD project (UNFOLD, 2004) and TENCompetence (TENCompetence, 2005) project, few practitioners have had practical experience of it. Currently, the understanding of the utility of the specification and its uptake is low. Factors contributing to this include lack of “practitioner friendly” tools and the inaccessibility of the specification to people who do not have a technical background.

The aim of this chapter is to discuss the current status of IMS LD and, in particular, its uptake by teaching practitioners. This will be achieved through a discussion of findings and experiences from Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and Higher Education Academy (HEA) funded research projects carried out at LHU that are based on the use of IMS LD by teaching practitioners and learners.

The core objectives of the chapter are to discuss:

  • The current technologies,

  • The production of IMS LD UoLs,

  • The experiences of practitioners and students,

  • The potential for reuse.

The chapter will appeal both to practitioners wishing to use IMS LD in teaching and learning situations (for example, supporting the delivery of blended learning or fully online courses) and researchers interested in the technologies and current research surrounding IMS LD.



IMS LD was released in 2003 and is based on the Educational Modeling Language which was created by the OUNL. The OUNL no longer supports EML; instead it contributes to the ongoing development of IMS LD (Jeffery & Currier, 2003). IMS LD does not define a development methodology (Koper, 2005); rather it allows learning scenarios to be described and presented to learners online as well as enabling them to be shared between systems. It can describe a wide variety of pedagogical models, or approaches to learning, including group work and collaborative learning. It does not define individual pedagogical models; instead it provides a high level language, or metamodel, that can describe many different models. Like EML, the language describes how people perform activities, using resources (including materials and services) and how these are coordinated into a learning flow. Simply put, IMS LD is designed to represent many pedagogical models and to be a standard that offers interoperability and reuse (Kew, 2004; Koper, 2001).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Open Source: This normally refers to any program whose source code is made freely available for use or modification by others. This software is commonly developed and maintained by communities of coders.

IMS Learning Design (IMS LD): This is a specification allowing the representation of various pedagogical models to describe learning.

Repositories: This refers to a place where data, for example, units of learning, can be stored, shared, and maintained.

SOA: This is a collection of services that communicate with each other, for example, coordinating activities and passing data. Services are self contained, well defined, and do not rely on the state of other services, for example, chat room.

Educational Modeling Language (EML): This is a specification based on XML that allows the modeling of instructional design. This is the precursor of IMS LD and is no longer being developed.

Unit of Learning (UOL): This is the representation of a course or module created using the IMS LD specification that can be run through a player such as SLeD for use with students

XML (Extensible Mark-up Language): XML is a W3C standard for creating mark-up languages that describe the structure of data. It is a metalanguage for describing other languages, for example, IMS learning design.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Table of Contents
Tom Carey
Lori Lockyer, Sue Bennett, Shirley Agostinho, Barry Harper
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Chapter 15
Garry Hoban
Digital animations are complex to create and are usually made by experts for novices to download from Web sites or copy from DVDs and CDs to use as... Sample PDF
Facilitating Learner-Generated Animations with Slowmation
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
Chapter 23
Peter Freebody, Sandy Muspratt, David McRae
The question addressed in this chapter is: What is the evidence for the effects of online programs of learning objects on motivation and learning?... Sample PDF
Technology, Curriculum, and Pedagogy in the Evaluation of an Online Content Program in Australasia
Chapter 24
David Lake, Kate Lowe, Rob Phillips, Rick Cummings, Renato Schibeci
This chapter provides a model to analyse the effectiveness and efficiency of Learning Objects being used in primary and secondary schools by... Sample PDF
Effective Use of Learning Objects in Class Environments
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
Chapter 26
Tomi Jaakkola, Sami Nurmi
There has been a clear lack of rigorous empirical evidence on the effectiveness of learning objects (LOs) in education. This chapter reports the... Sample PDF
Instructional Effectiveness of Learning Objects
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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