Monday, 10 October 2011

Wiley on Digital Learning Objects - the reusability paradox

Back in 2009 I thought that Digital Learning Objects (DLO) would be the way forward. The idea of taking bits of excellent learning and reusing them in different learning tasks seemed attractive.
David Wiley described DLOs as:
A digital learning object is "any digital resource that can be reused to support learning......Additionally, learning objects are generally understood to be digital entities deliverable over the Internet, meaning that any number of people can access and use them simultaneously (as opposed to traditional instructional media, such as an overhead or video tape, which can only exist in one place at a time). Moreover, those who incorporate learning objects can collaborate on and benefit immediately from new versions." (Wiley, 2000)
At that time I expressed frustration at not being able to find these so as to use them - they seemed to exist behind passwords and copyrighted learning platforms.
In his introduction to the Change11 topic this week, he explains the reusability paradox that DLOs have:
The paradox claims that the more context laden a given educational resource is, the more effectively it teaches but the more difficult it is to reuse in a novel context. Conversely, the less context laden a given educational resource is, the less effectively it teaches but the easier it is to reuse in novel contexts. So with learning objects, you had a choice - a great resource that is essentially impossible to reuse, or a really poor resource that you can easily reuse.
This led Wiley to connect his work on open approaches with that of learning objects - objects which had an open license.
It is only when there was a critical mass of open approaches that mashable creative commons content became avaliable so as to be useful and to get round the reusability paradox.

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