Friday, July 30, 2004

Another Learning Objects Paper

copy of 572 post

I read an interesting paper about Learning Objects today. The paper, Technology and Human Issues in Reusing Learning Objects, was written by two individuals at The University of Twente in The Netherlands. It discusses how learning objects are used in three different contexts: the university, the corporate world, and the military. It also presents what the authors refer to as the life cycle of learning objects. Sections 4.8, 5, and 6 in particular present many ongoing issues with learning objects; several of these have been mentioned by others on this blog site. Nevertheless, I found the article a worthwhile read and wanted to share it with those of you who are also interested in learning objects.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Learning Objects Info

You guessed it...another copy of a 572 post.

I wanted to post a more serious note about learning objects. Someone posted the link to MERLOT earlier. It has many great links to learning objects. Another site I found, which also links to MERLOT, is Distributed Learning Object Repository Network (DLORN). I have only looked at several of the links so I can not testify to how good most of them are. However, if only a few of the many links are good, visiting the site could be very worthwhile.

A Sideways Look at Learning Objects

Another copy of a 572 post.

I thought I would weigh in with some comments about Learning Objects. I agree for the most part with what others have posted that Learning Objects currently are used mostly in organizational environments. It will be much longer before their more wide-spread use occurs. Nevertheless, something I read made me think this is not necessarily so. It is common to think of learning objects as some new technology. Although their use in e-learning is new, their use in general is not. Many of us have been using, and reusing, learning objects for a very long time. I remember going to Sunday school as a young child. The teacher would frequently use flannel graphs to illustrate a lesson. (Does anyone else remember flannel graphs?) The characters she used were used over and over again, year after year. In elementary school for most classes we used books which had been used many times in previous years by other students. The same titles we used were used by many other schools across the country. Are not both of these examples of reusable learning objects? And in the schoolbook example their use was widespread. Let’s go even further back. How about Plato? He must have regularly used documents which he surely had used previously with which to teach. Could these also be considered as reusable learning objects? And if so then why don’t we go even further back. Ancient gave dwellers painted pictures on their caves. My guess is that they used these over and over again to help teach new generations. Hmmm. Reusable learning objects several thousand years old. Very cool.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Another look at technology tools for distance education

Another post from the 572 blog.

I thought I would write about two of the tools I use for developing distance education. Where I work we use both Macromedia Breeze and Microsoft PowerPoint Producer for developing asynchronous presentations. These are both essentially plug-ins for PowerPoint. Breeze used to be called Presidia before Macromedia bought the company. Although Macromedia has added much functionality to the program, we still just use it to add audio to our Powerpoint presentations. After we sequence the slides to the audio we publish the presentation to the Breeze site. They provide us back a presentation in an easy to navigate interface that we can then publish on our intranet. For an example of a Breeze presentation for training and education visit the Macromedia web site. We have been using Microsoft Producer for a much shorter time. However, we actually use more features in Producer. It allows us to incorporate both audio and video into our PowerPoint presentations. So far we only offer the presentations we do in Producer via CD-ROM. Nevertheless, Producer seems an effective method to liven up an otherwise much less compelling PowerPoint presentation. See the Microsoft Producer overview web site for more information about Producer.

Comment about technologies for distance education

Below is a comment to another student's post about technologies for distance education.

"As far as adding audio to Powerpoint I know of a couple good options. We use both Macromedia Breeze and Microsoft PowerPoint Producer where I work. Producer allows users to incorporate audio and video into presentations. We only use audio with Breeze; however, I believe a recent update to it also allows for the use of video."

Note: Since writing this post I have verified that Breeze offers excellent audio and video capability.