Learning Object Model for Online Laboratories

Learning Object Model for Online Laboratories

Habib Mir M. Hosseini (Nanyang Technologicial University, Singapore), Keck Voon Ling (Nanyang Technologicial University, Singapore) and Bing Duan (Nanyang Technologicial University, Singapore)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch212
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Online learning environments provide the students access to the course content at any time and from anywhere. Most of the existing e-Learning systems are designed for content-based subjects that deliver course content such as text, images, video, audio, and simulation to the student through the Internet. In recent years, several online or remote laboratories have been developed to bring the e-Learning concept to the lab-based courses. These systems, mainly web-based, allow students to conduct real laboratory experiment, as opposed to computer simulations, from anywhere and at any time. In this chapter, we introduce a model for providing lab-based lessons as Learning Objects. The Learning Object model has been widely used in content-based e-Learning systems. We then propose a learning management system framework which helps students to remotely access the lab-based learning objects. We will also present some experimental results and implementations.
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An e-learning system that uses learning object model consists of three components: the LO itself, which is the actual content (text, graphic, animation, etc), meta-tags, which describe the object, and finally a learning content management system (LCMS), which stores, tracks, and delivers content. The metadata is used to describe and index the LOs. This helps learners to seek and retrieve the specific material that they are looking for from a repository.

In this section, we provide some background relevant to understanding of an e-learning system, which is based on the LO model and LCMS. A short review on the related research and key organizations engaged in developing related standards will be presented.

Reusable Learning Objects

The term learning object was first popularized by Wayne Hodgins in 1994 (Polsani, 2003). The main idea is to have learning material broken down into smaller pieces that could be later combined by instructors, learners, and eventually computers into larger structures to support learning. The LO is any entity, digital or non-digital, which can be used, re-used, or referenced during technology supported learning (IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee, 2002). It is commonly viewed as the smallest element of stand-alone information required for an individual to achieve an enabling performance objective or outcome. As these entities can be reused in other subjects, they are often called reusable learning objects. Figure 1 illustrates the concept of reuse of LO in different learning content.

Figure 1.

Reusing learning objects in different learning content

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