Updated: 24/9/05; 10:43:06

David Davies' Radio Weblog

 Wednesday, April 23, 2003

For all those interested in following the debate on putting the learning back into learning objects, the newly formed CETIS Pedagogy Forum will be an important meeting place. The launch of this new group has been reported by Wilbert Kraan. The forum will be an essential focal point for discussion on the new IMS Learning Design specification, not least because CETIS' own Bill Olivier was a chief architect of the draft specification.
Posted 4:58:04 PM - comment []
 Saturday, April 19, 2003

It's my birthday today. I'm 38. Trouble is, I don't feel a day over 37.
Posted 2:52:59 PM - comment []
 Wednesday, April 16, 2003

I read Norm Friesen's 'Three objections to learning objects' but something in the arguments raised didn't match with how I view reusable learning objects. So in the spirit of Norm's article, here's another perspective on the debate about the positive and negative aspects of the vision of sharing educational resources.

1. The old 'what is a learning object' debate. In the context of e-learning, "any digital, reproducible and addressable resource used to perform learning activities or learning support activities, made available for others to use" works for me (thanks to Rob Koper, 'Combining reusable learning resources and services with pedagogical purposeful units of learning' in this book).

2. When I read the IMS learning Design specification is see "The IMS Learning Design specification supports the use of a wide range of pedagogies in online learning.". I don't see pedagogic neutrality, in fact I see a tool that builds upon the excellent groundwork laid down by those fine fellows at the Open University of the Netherlands on the Educational Modelling Language (EML) and delivers a specification that can put the learning back into learning objects.

Here's a key paragraph from the IMS Learning Design Best Practice and Implementation Guide: "While the Learning Design approach allows different kinds of learning strategies to be supported, there is currently no vocabulary provided for describing different kinds of learning approaches, in part because the runtime system does not need to have such a vocabulary in order to correctly interpret learning designs - it just has to be able to interpret the meta-language. This provides a means of expressing many different pedagogical approaches in a relatively succinct language as set out in this document. This language in itself must be pedagogically neutral. In consequence, a system that has to interpret this language does not need to know the pedagogical approach underlying the design: it only needs to be able to instantiate the design, allocate activities and their associated resources to participants playing the various roles, and coordinate the runtime flow."

3. If you have a strong pedagogic model and are serious about learning design then forget SCORM. How can anyone be serious about SCORM when it only models the single learner, single interaction, and is fundamentally unable to model the kinds of interactions between groups of learners and learning objects that makes e-learning (and learning objects) work. IMS Learning Design is new, and as such will be refined, but right now it could be the most significant e-learning specification yet developed.

Posted 12:32:16 AM - comment []
 Friday, April 11, 2003

We're all off to Sebastian Fiedler's place to talk about custom-built RSS feeds. Hope to meet you there, there's an interesting discussion forming.
Posted 12:32:03 PM - comment []

I had an idea that if RSS is such an obvious format to use for reusable learning object (RLO) syndication then why not use RSS autodiscovery? Put simply, if a web page that contains RLOs has an RSS autodiscovery header item then all of the objects on that page become discoverable by automated systems such as RSS news readers, auto-subscribe bookmarklets and more importantly, RLO aggregators.

So I made a demonstration page. Pages such as this backed by a content management system would make the insertion of the RSS link automatic thereby making resource discovery and the reuse of learning objects fairly painless.

Posted 12:59:41 AM - comment []
 Thursday, April 10, 2003

Now that Sebastian is on board I think we can expect some interesting dialogue. Here's Sebastian's first trail, the EduBlogger Gallery alpha.
Posted 3:42:03 PM - comment []

This short piece in the latest Syllabus magazine contains a useful introduction to syndicating learning objects using RSS. Typically though it misses some of the crucial prior art in this area. Given that this working example I put together to not only syndicate multiple choice questions using RSS 0.91 but also to perform cross-institutional search for RLOs was 2 years ago I guess they can be excused for missing it?
Posted 1:20:40 AM - comment []
 Monday, April 7, 2003

This piece on learning object contextualization was in part triggered by reading David Wiley's recent paper "Learning objects: difficulties and opportunities" but also because I wanted to get down some of the work we've been doing in this area in our curriculum. The piece is illustrated by examples from our medical undergraduate programme and in particular our VLE.
Posted 10:18:46 PM - comment []

"One issue that keeps popping up in debates about learning objects is the metadata question; how are educators supposed to make an interoperable description of a learning object that will allow it to be found by others? The Reload elarning tool development project decided to attack that problem before any others, with the first results already appearing."

Check out the RELOAD web site:


There's even a Mac OS X installer. Yay!

Posted 7:37:37 PM - comment []

OK, so anyone else seen this book yet? I picked up a copy at my local bookstore at the weekend. Nothing particulalry new in the book though it's a useful collection of articles so as such it makes a handy reference. The collected articles have a strong UK bias which makes a change. There are 19 chapters under the broad headings:

  1. Vision and theoretical perspectives
  2. Design perspectives
  3. Resource perspectives
  4. Strategic perspectives

The book is suported by a website.


There's a link to an online debate section hosted by Journal of Interactive Media in Education though the JIME special covering topics in this book isn't available yet.

Posted 12:11:37 AM - comment []
 Sunday, April 6, 2003

Nokia have finally released their own official video recording software for the 7650. Works great on the phone but the video file format is .3gp. What the hell is that? It's supposed to be based upon MPEG4 but when transferred to a Mac Quicktime won't play these files. This press release suggests Quicktime should be able to support this video format by now but it doesn't. Anybody got any ideas?
Posted 11:56:25 PM - comment []
 Thursday, April 3, 2003

What do content syndication, Vannevar Bush's Memex trails, RSS feeds and Radio UserLand have in common? Read this to find out!
Posted 1:10:27 AM - comment []