Realizing the Promise of Learning Objects

Authored by: Susan Moisey , Mohamed Ally

Handbook of Distance Education

Print publication date:  December  2012
Online publication date:  May  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415897648
eBook ISBN: 9780203803738
Adobe ISBN: 9781136635571


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Nearly 20 years have elapsed since the term “learning object” first entered the distance education lexicon, and over this relatively brief time period, significant investment and growth has taken place in the development and use of learning objects. With the advent of e-learning and online instruction, learning objects emerged as a promising means for achieving efficiencies and enhanced flexibility in instructional design and course development. The vision they provided was bold and exciting—educators and learners alike could have “anytime, anywhere” access to vast stores of high-quality, proven-effective learning objects to meet a wide array of training and educational needs. Instructors could assemble selected learning objects, customizing them according to student needs and characteristics. Students could access the learning objects on adaptive learning management systems, tailoring the activities according to their personal preferences and individual learning styles. Learning object repositories would serve a range of formal and informal learning needs, providing students with resources for lifelong learning, while promoting educational opportunities and success. To ensure flexible, ubiquitous availability of these resources, learning objects could be accessed in a variety of ways, including from desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and mobile devices. Moreover, given that more than 80% of the world's population is predicted to be accessing the Internet using mobile devices by the year 2015 (Johnson, Smith, Willis, Levine, & Haywood, 2011), effective mobile learning strategies and protocols would be a fundamental part of learning object development and use.

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