Educational Rationale Metadata for Learning Objects

Tom Carey, Jonathan Swallow, William Oldfield

Abstract


Instructors searching for learning objects in online repositories will be guided in their choices by the content of the object, the characteristics of the learners addressed, and the learning process embodied in the object. We report here on a feasibility study for metadata to record process-oriented information about instructional approaches for learning objects, though a set of Educational Rationale [ER] tags which would allow authors to describe the critical elements in their design intent. The prototype ER tags describe activities which have been demonstrated to be of value in learning, and authors select the activities whose support was critical in their design decisions.

The prototype ER tag set consists descriptors of the instructional approach used in the design, plus optional sub-elements for Comments, Importance and Features which implement the design intent. The tag set was tested by creators of four learning object modules, three intended for post-secondary learners and one for K-12 students and their families. In each case the creators reported that the ER tag set allowed them to express succinctly the key instructional approaches embedded in their designs.

These results confirmed the overall feasibility of the ER tag approach as a means of capturing design intent from creators of learning objects. Much work remains to be done before a usable ER tag set could be specified, including evaluating the impact of ER tags during design to improve instructional quality of learning objects.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21432/T2PC81

Copyright (c) 2002 Tom Carey, Jonathan Swallow, William Oldfield

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