What is an Online Learning Object?
Online Learning Objects can be defined as "small, modular, discrete units of learning designed for electronic delivery and use," as defined in an educational handout created by the Northridge Oviatt Library, California. According to this handout, the concept of the “learning object” has its origins in a modular, and thus changeable approach to reusable digital instructional materials.
Pedagogical Reasoning for Online Learning Objects:
The Oviatt Library handout refers to a paper written by David Wiley in 2002, "Connecting Learning Objects to Instructional Design Theory: A Definition, a Metaphor, and a Taxonomy," where he quotes Reigeluth and Nelson, who "suggest that when teachers first gain access to instructional materials, they often break the materials down into their constituent parts. They then reassemble these parts in ways that support their individual instructional goals.This suggests one reason why reusable instructional components, or learning objects, may provide instructional benefits: if students and instrutors received instructional resources as individual components, this initial step of decomposition could be bypassed, potentially increasing the speed and efficiency of instructional development."
Thus, a learning object can also be considered a package that includes lessons, activities, and assessment.
Theories of constructivism and andragogy can be applied to the use of online learning objects.
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