Using Learning Objects for Rapid Deployment to Mobile Learning Devices for the U.S. Coast Guard

Using Learning Objects for Rapid Deployment to Mobile Learning Devices for the U.S. Coast Guard

Pamela T. Northrup (University of West Florida, USA) and William T. Harrison Jr. (University of West Florida & U.S. Navy, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-503-2.ch303


This chapter introduces the use of a learning objects content development tool, the eLearning Objects Navigator, (eLONTM) as a strategy for creating, classifying, and retrieving reusable learning objects and reusable information objects. The use of eLONTM provides a context for rapid deployment of these SCORM-conformant packages to mobile learning devices as well as to learning management systems for a beta test with the U.S. Coast Guard Institute. Presented in this chapter is the underlying theoretical framework for the development of eLONTM as well as the specific design decisions made regarding the deployment of PDA mobile learning devices to military personnel. Furthermore, initial results from the beta test yield positive results as well as a series of lessons learned.
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Introduction And Need

Since 2004, Internet-based new media formats have soared. Prolific Internet use has generated public desires and expectations to be content creators. Opportunities such as political and personal blogs and independent podcasts of all flavors as well as ever- popular YouTube® videos flash across users’ screens and minds, creating the expectation of self as a new media communicator (Walch & Lafferty, 2006). It is through the recent advent of convenient and free Web 2.0 technologies, such as blogs, podcasts and vlogs, and Free Open Source Software (FOSS) (Rajendran & Venkataraman, 2009) that people of all ages and backgrounds are claiming their place and voice on the Web (Frontline, 2008). The great value of podcasting, a new media technology, for education is the ease of custom and inexpensive design, truly flexible, “anytime, anywhere” delivery format. Since 2005, anyone with access to a computer, Internet and a $10 microphone can freely record, edit, and distribute audio content worldwide. Similarly, anyone with Internet access can hear these archived digital audios on computers or mobile devices, 24/7.

Widespread social and instructional adoption of podcasting has occurred since 2006, including adoption for formal and informal learning. With this increased use, educators and researchers need greater understanding of podcast-related instructional applications, data gathering opportunities, impact, scalability and scope of reach, instructional design, and research opportunities (eSchool News, 2008; King & Gura, 2007; Williams, 2008). For example, there are numerous free data gathering resources to couple with podcast use and yet no mention in the literature as to how schools might use it to demonstrate impact of their programs and services or instructors for formative improvement of curriculum, let alone recommended strategies for educators’ reporting of them. Research studies may also provide recommendations for the design of additional action- based research and inquiry in robust and systematic ways (Devaney, 2008).

By analyzing findings from three related podcast studies, this paper provides a macro research perspective and recommendations in these areas. The work collectively addresses the impact of podcasts on professional learning and uses King and Gura’s podcast typology (2007) as a framework for comparison and differentiation. This paper presents findings, discussion and interpretation of results for the following research questions: (1) What is the use and potential for podcasting in multiple educational contexts? (2) What instructional strategies are used in the podcast? (3) How is formative instructional design utilized in the podcasts? (4) What interdisciplinary strategies are used? (5) What is learned about uses and formats of formal and informal learning? And (6) What effective uses of data gathering methods are recommended from these studies? The popular typology of podcasts, teacher-created, student-created and professional development podcasts is used in three studies examining the following productions: UEGE, TTPOD/PFT, and DLPOD (see Figure 1).

Figure 1.

The three cases: podcasts studied


Theoretical Bases

Major theoretical underpinnings of this research include formative evaluation and continuous improvement of instructional design, research design and methods, podcasting and new media as instruction, podcasting typology, and informal learning.

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