Vol. 16 : No. 3< >
Learning Objects & Live eLearning
Traditionally, metadata is defined as data about data, or information about content that allows it to be stored in and retrieved from a database. Consider this example: A library card catalog in which the information about library books (data) is found on the catalog card (metadata). In terms of eLearning, the card catalog is the metadata and the library books would be the learning objects used to teach a course.
Building Courseware with Learning Objects
This month, we wanted to learn more about learning objects, so we visited with Karen Massetti Miller, director of courseware development at GeoLearning. Karen oversees GeoLearning’s courseware development division, where she develops Web-based training courses, repurposes instructional materials for online delivery, and conducts application training for clients via the classroom and live webcasts.
Q: Define a learning object.
A: This is a tough one, because there are about as many definitions of “learning object” as there are developers. Some see learning objects as fairly small—an individual graphic or paragraph of text. Others see them as large enough to encompass an entire course. At GeoLearning, we regard a learning object as a reusable module of learning that consists of objectives, course content, graphics, a closing summary and a quiz. This module can stand on its own as a very short course or be combined with other modules to create a larger course.
Q: How do GeoLearning’s instructional designers use learning objects?
A: We use them as the basic building blocks of the SCORM-compliant courses we develop.
Q: Are learning objects “here to stay” or are they just a fad?
A: Learning objects are here to stay, but they might not be the solution for every learning situation. Learning objects work well for courses that are primarily tutorials. But they may not be as effective for other types of courses such as those that take on a game format or courses that use a full-simulation format in which the user makes choices and then deals with the repercussions of those choices.
Q: Can a learning object be physical, such as text or a workbook, or just online, such as images or Java applets?
A: This takes the definition of learning objects a step further than most people do by moving it beyond online learning to include any piece of instructional media that can stand independently. This may not be the best use of the term “learning object,” as it might make the definition a little too broad to be useful.
Q: Do developers have to think up learning objects every time they create a course?
A: No. Many learning objects can be reused in different courses. As a courseware library grows, more reusability occurs. Hence we have the term reusable learning objects.
Q: Some argue that the world doesn’t need tens of thousands of similar learning objects, but that a dozen well-designed objects could be used in thousands of courses. Can you explain this concept?
A: This is kind of like asking whether all human knowledge can fit on the head of a pin. A dozen well-designed objects on the right set of basic topics could certainly be reused many, many times. But we’d probably all get tired of them after a while and want to see the material presented in a different way. So then we’d need some new learning objects on the same topics.
Q: Can learning objects be shared?
A: As SCORM standards become more prevalent, we may see learning objects being shared widely within the courseware and education industries. SCORM (Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model), is a set of standards that produces reusable learning objects.
Q: Can learning objects be assembled by independent students to create a course relevant to their own needs?
A: Absolutely. Some developers are doing this already. Expect to see many more courseware developers doing the same in the near future.
Live eLearning with GeoConnect
Whether you are rolling out a new product, turning classroom training into live online training, captivating the attention of your clients, or holding a meeting across your supply chain, webcasting makes live interactive knowledge transfer simple and effective.
GeoLearning makes webcasting possible with GeoConnect, our new webcasting tool for live eLearning and business collaboration over the Internet.
GeoConnect is an interactive experience and a superior way to get co-workers, peers and partners together at lower cost. Webcasting facilitates collaboration in ways simply not possible with e-mail, chat or groupware. The technology also allows organizations to integrate these live interactions with key business processes such as selling, service, marketing and training.
Companies in virtually every industry have embraced the Internet as a robust, ubiquitous platform for live collaboration. This is because webcasting technology adds value by:
To learn more about GeoConnect, visit www.geolearning.com/main/products/webcasting.
New LMS Customers
GeoLearning's newest learning management system clients include Millennium Chemicals, CCA Global Partners and Brokers International.
Millennium Chemicals is the world's second-largest producer of titanium dioxide, a bright white powder that is a crucial ingredient in coatings, paints, plastics, and papers. The chemical giant signed a 2-year agreement and will be implementing the Geo Learning Center to manage eLearning.
CCA, the Carpet Coalition of America, is the largest carpet operation in the U.S. with 1,500 outlets. They own such companies as CarpetOne, GCO Carpet Outlet and Flooring America. They will be rolling the GeoLearning eLearning solution out to franchise owners nationwide.
Brokers International will be implementing the GeoExpress eLearning platform in response to increasing demand for online insurance certification online, as well as the opportunity to reduce travel expenses for corporate trainers.
GeoLearning also added two eLearning courseware customers. R.H. Donnelley, one of the largest independent marketers of Yellow Page advertising in the United States, and the R.H. Barringer Distribution Company, a North Carolina-based distributor for Anheuser-Busch, will both be launching eLearning initiatives with online business skills, career development and computer training courses.
New Partnerships In a distribution agreement with MaxIT Corporation, GeoLearning can offer clients interested in content development software the DazzlerMax solution, an award-winning authoring tool that enables users to develop highly sophisticated and interactive learning content with no scripting, no plug-ins and no royalties. The DazzlerMax tool can be used to develop standards-compliant content that can be easily launched, tracked and reported on using the GeoLearning LMS.
GeoLearning has also integrated more than 300 hours of AICC- and SCORM-compliant courses from the PrimeLearning.com library into its LMS. The library encompass a wide range of business skills in 17 curricula such as management, writing and communication, project management and customer service, as well as strategic business subjects including call center and tele-skills, marketing and sales.
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