Open Ed - Week 11: OERs vs Learning Objects

Some people believe that open educational resources "fix" many of the problems experienced by those who work with learning objects. Why do you think they would say this? Do you agree? Why or why not?

I don't have a lot of personal history with learning objects, so I am not coming at this answer from personal experience. However, from what I have read and viewed this week, it seems that open education is the next iteration of the quest to design and deliver reusable educational resources. In this light, as a next iteration, there is a shift in the general characteristics and focus. Likely, in the process, elements were "fixed", but it is unclear to me if the desire to fix problems with learning objects led to the open education movement. Rather, it seems more likely that advances in technology and experiences with what is possible have helped to foster the changes in the characteristics between learning objections and open education.

The following highlights my take on the characteristics of the two iterations:



Characteristics

Reusable Educational Resources

Iteration 1

Learning Objects
Reusable Educational Resources

Iteration 2

Open Education
Form
closed / static / defined / specified
dynamic / free form
Intention
re-use / aggregation by designer
use / re-use / adapt / share / to be loosely joined and ADAPTED by user
Intended Setting
classroom / formal education / corporate / military
any
System / Licenses
proprietary / copyright / locked down
outside of walled gardens / more liberal licensing
Learner focus and interaction
pushed to learner / receptacle / use / touch don't change
pulled by learner / seeker / searcher / participant / re-mixer
Primary design and development consideration
future interoperability
producer's needs / downstream needs secondary
Technology
heavy / proprietary systems and formats
light(er) / freely available / common Internet formats and conventions
Sustainability issues
high costs (time and expense)
varies (low to high)
Extent of use
high, but in pockets
Do we know about the extent of use, yet?

As noted by David Wiley, "learning object" means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The chart above provides my interpretation of the general characteristics of both Learning Objects and Open Educational Resources. Again, OERs seem the next iteration toward an original goal of reusable educational resources. While some may see the differences as "fixes", others may not. Here is my take:

What seems "fixed" - or at least seems to work better: In this iteration, OERs expand the notion of reusable educational resources to include adaptation and sharing by the learner. This is accomplished through more liberal licensing (diriviative works / share alike), as well as expanded access outside of traditional proprietary walled gardens. By moving reusable educational resources out of proprietary systems and formats into the realm of the Internet, both producers and users can take advantage of common Internet search and sharing functions, including RSS, which allows learners to pull the content versus having it pushed to them in canned packages of learning content.


What still seems "broken" - or at least requires further evaluation: As we have discussed all semester, there are still uncertain or potentially "broken" aspects of OERs. Even though costs associated with elaborate proprietary systems may be eliminated, OERs are not cost free. Therefore, sustainability continues to be a concern. In addition, availability does not equal use. I'm not sure we have a good handle on either the extent of OER use (by teachers or learners) or the best ways to facilitate use of OERs by users. Further, I think there is a lot to be learned from an instructional design perspective about both open educational practices, as well as OERs as instructional content - see my earlier post for more on that topic (down at the bottom).

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Comments

LO & OER

Of course two or three examples of each type would help clarify the problem. I would suggest that NO ONE accepts your limited view of learning objects and that you would have great difficulty in finding any that fit your idealized straw dog list of characteristics. I would say the same for your OER definition. For example are you really saying that LOs created for classroom or military uses CANNOT be used by anyone for any other use? What pockets are they being confined to? I would suggest that depending on which definition that is used that there are more open access LOs available than proprietary ones. Again, a few examples would really help clarify.
All the best - an interesting approach.
Rory

comment week 11

Hi Jannifer,
good work,I appreciate your grid too much.
I don't agree totally with the form of LO and OER because in my experience an LO can be dynamic and a OER static.In this course we often used .pdf resources that aren't open at all. Moreover in the web, about System / Licenses, you can find free open source authoring tools to make LO.
ciao
emanuela

sorry

.pdf are open only for reading :-)

comment week 11

Hi Jannifer,
good work,I appreciate your grid too much.
I don't agree totally with the form of LO and OER because in my experience an LO can be dynamic and a OER static.In this course we often used .pdf resources that aren't open at all. Moreover in the web, about System / Licenses, you can find free open source authoring tools to make LO.
ciao
emanuela

Open Ed week 11

I like your chart very much: it is clear, precise and exhaustive. I'll use it for my study because it helps me learn. I agree with your interpretation, particularly with your ideas about the new possibilities offered by the Internet, the topic of learners' sharing, and the importance of sustainability in the future development of OERs. Cheers :-)

Great post, Jennifer! Your

Great post, Jennifer! Your chart is very valuable and I'm happy to see that you too stress the "adaptation" point, on which I'm strongly committed.
You are offering also an interesting point of view on LOs.: this make me think to an "evolution story of educational resources" in which LOs are a sort of intermediate species.. :-)
Which will be the "iteration 3" creatures?