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Learning Objects
Unleashing the power of reusable components

The idea of learning objects is not new, but to this day, they are not yet in widespread use, at least not to the extent, and for the benefit that they portend. One reason is inconsistency in what a learning object represents in terms of training content. There are as many definitions or ideas about what a learning object is as there are names for it (Reusable Learning Object –RLO, Content Object, and so on). Some represent a tiny nugget of content, some represent a clip of media, while others are vague on the scope and extent of content that they represent.

Another reason is that even with a clear definition of a learning object’s scope and other characteristics, none of them align with the massive collection of objectives that already exists among training organizations now. The transition from the legacy objective to useful learning objects will be painful.

But the third and most important reason learning objects are not yet in widespread use is a lack of ability to maximize the huge benefits they could deliver in return for the courageous investment required to transition from today’s state of objective and content.

VISION and our methods solve that third problem, and by doing so they solve the first two as well.

Our idea of a Learning Object features a training objective as the core element along with a few other very important characteristics.

Fig. 2. Learning Object

By adding Learning Object content to the interconnected database (roadmap), and by adding a controlled interface for use by members of the workforce, the power of the database is amplified exponentially.

Consider just a few scenarios that can happen at the request of a learner:

1. The learner submits an exam taken on line with VISION, misses a few questions, and needs remediation. VISION delivers a “mini lesson” comprised specifically of the content for the missed questions:

(Using connections: Questions linked to objectives, content contained in the objective/object).
2 A worker in the field needs pre-job training on a task that he/she will be performing later in the week. VISION delivers lesson material and a quiz on the “cognitive” topics, and a hands-on assessment for supervisor use in a walk-down and signoff.

(Using connections: Task connection to the objectives, content contained in the objective/object, questions connected to the objective, and an on-job walkdown template connected to the task).
3 An important change was made to a system. The training supervisor needs to find and adjust the associated training information to be sure it reflects the latest. VISON delivers a map to all of the information associated with that area of the system.

VISON delivers a map to all of the information associated with that area of the system

(Using connections: A custom cross-reference link representing system components connection to applicable Tasks; the connected objectives and content, connection to the test questions and other related training components).

This sounds almost too good to be true… and it is too good to be true if the objectives/learning objects are not accurate or instructionally effective.

It requires that the Learning Object content represent the right scope of information be written to make sense independent of a lesson context, and contain all of the instructional components to fully “teach” that objective according to proven pedagogical theories. How can a training organization achieve such consistency and precision across a multitude of SME/instructor authors?

We address this challenge with our Instructional Design Strategies and templates.