BTW, thanks, Yan, you really made me think hard! :)
As I was writing I though it was worth to put is as a post rather than a comment.
My answers are:
- Yes, I think that Google is maybe the best search tool, and maybe it can also become the best learning object search tool. But no, I don’t think that www/Google is still the world’s most efficient learning object repository/search tool.
- And yes, I think there’s a need to gather/describe Learning Objects in a repository just because learning objects do significantly differ in their essence from what you can find browsing the web.
I guess the heart of it all lays just in that last statement: not everything having information is a learning object, and usually, not even a knowledge object.
We can think of a word processor handbook, a word processor tutorial and a the materials of a course on how to use a word processor.
The first one is just information: this word processor can do this and that.
The second one has experience in it: these are ways to use your word processor. You could call it a knowledge object.
The third one pretends to be a knowledge transferrer: learn how to use your word processor so you can use it on your own. It is a learning object.
If we believe that these three objects are different, then Google, that will find everything without discriminating, is not a LO repository (maybe Google Scholar might become sort of it ;)
I you search the web for Learning Objects Characteristics you’d find, mainly, technical characteristics (reusability, number of elements, type of object, etc.). But their aim is not technical but a matter of concept. The Learning Objects Characteristics under a conceptual point of view could be (list not complete ;) :
- pedagogical goals
- target of the course
- teaching load
Not everything in the WWW has these characteristics but everything in a Learning Objects repository should.
And, if you understand these characteristics (technical and conceptual) as fields, then you have a potential database, thus a LO repository, whose main feature is intelligent queries. Google is good, but it is not yet that intelligent :)
Nevertheless, it is absolutely true that “if you look at various learning object repositories, you will find that when yo do a search you get a lot of worthless results” and that some “learning objects don’t significantly differ in their essence from what you can find browsing the web”, but I think this is not the object’s fault, but the author’s, a human error, somebody thinking what he did is a learning object and it is not.
I also agree with you that “the learning object concept is an answer looking for a question and that question has yet to be found” but there’re lots of good approximations to the correct answer :)
If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:
Peña-López, I. (2005) “Knowledge Objects are not Learning Objects: Characteristics of Learning Objects” In ICTlogy,
#16, January 2005. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
Retrieved month dd, yyyy from http://ictlogy.net/review/?p=210
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