Learning Objects: Projects, Potentials, and Pitfalls

Learning Objects: Projects, Potentials, and Pitfalls

Ria Hanewald (La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-994-6.ch007
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This chapter provides an overview of the field of digital objects and repositories. It introduces the concepts of digital objects and repositories, their purposes, and their abilities to develop a coherent understanding of their nature and function. It continues by identifying and describing a number of generic and language-specific repositories. Examples of language objects are given to illustrate potentials and pitfalls. The review and dissemination of knowledge about these innovative resources assists educators in embracing new portals for teaching and learning languages with the most recent technologies. How they are being used and how this might fit into the future of language education is outlined to capitalize on their potential while avoiding the pitfalls. It is argued that showcasing repositories, promoting leading practice among language educators, and advocating high-quality digital resources prevents the further marginalization of language education in online environments. The main issue of standardization and neutrality are outlined, and the tension of value-free learning objects vs. the values embedded in the cultural aspects integral to language teaching and learning are explored. The chapter concludes with future research opportunities on learning objects, specifically in relation to the field of language acquisition to ensure adequate design and thus worthwhile use of future digital resources.
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Definition Of Learning Objects And Repositories

The concept behind learning objects is not new, as educators have shared text-based resources on the Web since its inception (i.e., Dave’s ESL Café, http://www.uni.edu/becker/):

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