Factors Affecting Re-Usability of Learning
  Objects Across National Boundaries

Chris Khoo                    Sujin Butdi...
Collaborations in Asia-Pacific region
LIS research & education

      Consortium of iSchools Asia-Pacific
      (CiSAP)
  ...
Repository of learning objects
Project to develop a repository of “learning
  objects” to facilitate sharing and reuse of
...
Work so far …
1.   Development of taxonomies for navigation
     /browsing of LIS teaching and research materials
     in ...
Study approach
 Compare lecture slides on the same topics
 developed by instructors in different schools /
 countries

 Si...
Study approach
Recurring content might not be useful for
  experienced instructors
   Not novel -- readily available on t...
Two subject areas selected for the
study
   Information organization / knowledge
    organization
       a well-establis...
Collaborative R&D project
   4 LIS educators from Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand
    and Kuwait
   necessary to obtain teac...
Learning object
   Definition continues to be          7 levels of
    an issue                               granularity...
Learning object (cont.)
   For this study -- a lecture presentation (MS Powerpoint file)
    is a learning object at the ...
Previous studies
Factors that affect reusability

   Technical factors, e.g. technical standards
    followed
   Physica...
Horizontal and vertical reusability
(Currier & Campbell, 2005)

Horizontal reusability
How subject-specific the learning o...
Horizontal and vertical reusability
Vertical reusability

Whether the learning object may be used at more
 than one educat...
Our focus
The Content of the learning object
       Characteristics of the content that are associated with
        reusa...
Findings
Similar content
   Lectures on practical topics

Different content
   Theoretical / abstract topics
   General...
Practical topics tend to have
similar treatment
   competencies for accomplishing particular tasks
       constructing s...
Theoretical topics -- less similar
across the schools
Information Organization courses
   Theoretical lectures tend to be...
Practical vs. theoretical treatment
   Most of the Information Organization courses in
    the four schools focus on teac...
Knowledge Management
   KM has more focus on tacit and intangible
    knowledge, often residing in people’s heads
   Con...
Similarities in KM lectures
   Core concepts, e.g. DIKW (data-information-
    knowledge-wisdom) hierarchy
   KM methods...
Other factors affecting reusability
   Practical vs. theoretical (abstract) topics
   Types of information presented
  ...
33 types of information found in slides
1. Overview (Outline/Summary)              17. Equations & Formulas
2. Objectives ...
Examples, illustrations, diagrams,
photos and screenshots
Most obviously reusable objects
   help to clarify concepts, il...
report


DB   IS

          Management Information System
Superficial versus in-depth treatment
Introductory versus advanced treatment
The level of treatment (introductory, interme...
Country bias
Language and culture bias
   Information Organization courses in Taiwan focus on
    cataloging of Chinese l...
Country bias
Established cataloging standards and procedures
  (e.g. AACR2 and MARC21)
 The slides are usually in the lan...
Country strengths
Different countries (institutions), different strengths,
  with richer, more in-depth treatment of diffe...
Country strengths
   Slides from different countries contain
    screenshots of information systems and digital
    libra...
Conclusion
   There is a lot of “good stuff” and reusable
    content, despite language and national biases
   Lecture s...
Repository of learning objects
   A repository of lecture slides and class exercises
    is being set up in Taiwan and Si...
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Ifla2010 - session123 - in Gøteborg, Sweden on friday 13.08.2010

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  1. 1. Factors Affecting Re-Usability of Learning Objects Across National Boundaries Chris Khoo Sujin Butdisuwan Nanyang Technological Univ. Mahasarakham Univ. Singapore Thailand Abdus Sattar Chaudhry Joyce C.C. Chen National Taiwan Normal University of Kuwait University
  2. 2. Collaborations in Asia-Pacific region LIS research & education Consortium of iSchools Asia-Pacific (CiSAP) led by Shigeo Sugimoto, Tsukuba U. Smaller regional groups e.g. Taiwan-Singapore-Thailand Workshop on Library & Information Research Research collaboration Educational cooperation
  3. 3. Repository of learning objects Project to develop a repository of “learning objects” to facilitate sharing and reuse of teaching materials Questions • How useful is such a repository likely to be? • What kind of content is likely to be reused? • What kind of metadata and search/browse functions are needed? • Will it be worth the effort?
  4. 4. Work so far … 1. Development of taxonomies for navigation /browsing of LIS teaching and research materials in NTU intranet 2. User study of students & faculty using the taxonomies to locate materials 3. Current -- study of the factors likely to affect the re-usability of learning objects (particularly lecture slides):  across LIS schools  across countries  across languages.
  5. 5. Study approach Compare lecture slides on the same topics developed by instructors in different schools / countries Similar slides from different instructors suggest high likelihood of reuse  Basic or well-accepted content  Potentially useful to new instructors
  6. 6. Study approach Recurring content might not be useful for experienced instructors  Not novel -- readily available on the Web  Not useful for instructor seeking to improve or update an existing lecture  Unusual, innovative treatments or examples may be more useful So the study seeks to identify the types of unusual or innovative content that may be useful to enhance other instructor’s lecture slides
  7. 7. Two subject areas selected for the study  Information organization / knowledge organization  a well-established subject area in LIS  more technical and standards based  some aspects of information organization may be embedded in other courses  Knowledge management  an emerging and developing subject area  more conceptual  more interest among the LIS community in Asia to find out what other schools are teaching
  8. 8. Collaborative R&D project  4 LIS educators from Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Kuwait  necessary to obtain teaching materials from different schools across the region  need collaborators who are fluent in the languages Side-effect of the study: learn the differences in the way Information Organization and Knowledge Management are taught in different LIS programmes
  9. 9. Learning object  Definition continues to be 7 levels of an issue granularity / aggregation  Currier & Campbell distinguished between  Information object  Information resource  Learning objects -- has an  Learning object educational objective or specific educational concept  Unit of study  Module  Information objects -- simply  Course present information.  Collection.
  10. 10. Learning object (cont.)  For this study -- a lecture presentation (MS Powerpoint file) is a learning object at the level of a lesson  Comprises a set of lecture slides – atomic learning object  if the slide can stand alone as a self-contained treatment of a topic  material on a topic can be presented over two or more slides, in which case a slide is no longer a learning object but an information object  Diagrams and images within a slide can be considered digital objects or assets.
  11. 11. Previous studies Factors that affect reusability  Technical factors, e.g. technical standards followed  Physical factors, e.g. granularity or size of learning object  Dependency factors, e.g. physical and content dependency  System features, e.g. search facilities and metadata  Contextual and environment factors
  12. 12. Horizontal and vertical reusability (Currier & Campbell, 2005) Horizontal reusability How subject-specific the learning object is:  Generic objects can be used in any subject field or discipline  Interdisciplinary objects are applicable to more than one discipline or subject  Subject-specific objects are for use only within a specific subject  Resource-specific objects are designed for use in a specific context.
  13. 13. Horizontal and vertical reusability Vertical reusability Whether the learning object may be used at more than one educational level, and support for use at different levels of study A reusable learning object is one that • can be delivered via a wide variety of platforms or technologies • do not reference related external content and • are not technically dependent on other external resources.
  14. 14. Our focus The Content of the learning object  Characteristics of the content that are associated with reusability In an earlier paper, we suggested the following factors: • Topic/Subtopic of the slide • Treatment type: technical, management, procedural • Treatment level: introductory, intermediate, advanced • Level of detail: superficial treatment, in-depth treatment • Style: text bullet points, text boxes, graphics, etc. • Information type: overview, definition, concepts, typology, etc.
  15. 15. Findings Similar content  Lectures on practical topics Different content  Theoretical / abstract topics  General introduction to a topic
  16. 16. Practical topics tend to have similar treatment  competencies for accomplishing particular tasks  constructing subject headings, Dewey class numbers, creating bibliographic records  teach particular standards or specifications  MARC21, AACR2R, Dublin Core New instructors can adopt such lecture slides wholesale Current instructors seeking to improve their lecture slides, would be seeking materials on newer developments and newer specifications (e.g. FRBR, RDA).
  17. 17. Theoretical topics -- less similar across the schools Information Organization courses  Theoretical lectures tend to be  introductory lectures focusing on the significance and usefulness of the topic  concepts, principles and theories underlying the topic  Greater discretion to select material and types of information to include  Topic can be treated from different perspectives or frameworks, and use different applications to motivate the topic
  18. 18. Practical vs. theoretical treatment  Most of the Information Organization courses in the four schools focus on teaching practical skills and are quite similar in the topics covered  Advanced Master’s or PhD level courses take a more theoretical perspective  The Knowledge Organization course in the Knowledge Management program in Singapore also takes a more theoretical perspective
  19. 19. Knowledge Management  KM has more focus on tacit and intangible knowledge, often residing in people’s heads  Content is more conceptual and management oriented  Not many standards and specifications.  Specifications tend to be for quality management, strategic management and performance management systems (such as Six Sigma, and Balanced Scorecard)
  20. 20. Similarities in KM lectures  Core concepts, e.g. DIKW (data-information- knowledge-wisdom) hierarchy  KM methods and approaches, e.g. Communities of Practice  Well-known theoretical frameworks, e.g. Nonaka’s SECI model  Quotations from KM or management gurus,  Esp. on the definitions of KM, importance of KM, and KM concepts.
  21. 21. Other factors affecting reusability  Practical vs. theoretical (abstract) topics  Types of information presented  Superficial vs. in-depth treatment (introductory vs. advanced treatment)  Country bias
  22. 22. 33 types of information found in slides 1. Overview (Outline/Summary) 17. Equations & Formulas 2. Objectives (of the lesson) 18. Application 3. Context & Purpose (Significance of 19. Example the topic) a. Simple example 4. Definition (What is …?) b. Complex example a. Simple definition c. Graphical example (image) b. Advanced definition 20. Illustration (image) 5. Concepts (Terms) 21. Exercise 6. Principles (Approach & its rationale) 22. Quote 7. Typology (Types of) 23. Competencies (Skills/Attributes) 8. Characteristics (Features) 24. Strengths 9. Description 25. Usefulness 10. Framework & Model 26. Comparison 11. Structure & Components 27. Issues (Problems) 12. Standards/Specifications 28. Organizations 13. Procedure 29. Tools (Steps/Functions/Process/Method) 30. Products 14. Rules & Guidelines 31. History 15. Best practice 32. Trends 16. Policies 33. Readings & References (URLs)
  23. 23. Examples, illustrations, diagrams, photos and screenshots Most obviously reusable objects  help to clarify concepts, illustrate procedures, stimulate discussion and present content in a non-linear way. How do these differ across schools?  Photos and screenshots of systems tend to be different  Examples, e.g. bibliographic records, tend to focus on the language materials of the country  Illustrations of common concepts tend to be similar in content but differ in visual design  DIKW hierarchy and Nonaka’s SECI model presented with different visual design.
  24. 24. report DB IS Management Information System
  25. 25. Superficial versus in-depth treatment Introductory versus advanced treatment The level of treatment (introductory, intermediate and advanced) affects reusability  Introductory/overview materials are shorter, have less detail, and are more likely to be reused in several courses  Advanced materials are likely to be covered only in one course within a program  Technical or mathematical treatments are also accessible to a smaller number of students
  26. 26. Country bias Language and culture bias  Information Organization courses in Taiwan focus on cataloging of Chinese language materials, including cataloging standards  e.g. Chinese Cataloging Rules and Chinese MARC Format for Bibliographic Records  List of Chinese Subject Terms, and Classification Scheme for Chinese Libraries  The examples also focus on language materials of the country
  27. 27. Country bias Established cataloging standards and procedures (e.g. AACR2 and MARC21)  The slides are usually in the language of the country Newer standards (e.g. XML encoding schemes, Semantic Web related specifications and FRBR)  materials have a higher proportion of English text, especially in terminology. Probably takes some years for new terms and concepts to be translated into the language of a particular country
  28. 28. Country strengths Different countries (institutions), different strengths, with richer, more in-depth treatment of different aspects  Taiwan -- particular strength in digital libraries and organization of heritage materials  more in-depth treatment and more developed diagrams and illustrations of metadata  Thailand -- bias to the organization of Thai language materials, and a growing interest in digital libraries of heritage materials  Singapore – has a Master’s program in Knowledge Management -- more in-depth content on KM issues and methods
  29. 29. Country strengths  Slides from different countries contain screenshots of information systems and digital library systems in the country  Provide opportunities for the internationalization of LIS courses -- application of LIS principles in different environments, languages and cultures  Such materials, which may be basic content in the country of origin, can be reused as advanced material in other countries
  30. 30. Conclusion  There is a lot of “good stuff” and reusable content, despite language and national biases  Lecture slides on practical topics or that cover international standards and specifications are more easily reusable with little modification  In a more conceptual subject, e.g. Knowledge Management, lecture slides on core concepts, core frameworks and quotes from experts in the field are also easily reusable  Introductory treatments of a topic can be reused in other courses where students need only a superficial acquaintance with the topic.
  31. 31. Repository of learning objects  A repository of lecture slides and class exercises is being set up in Taiwan and Singapore  Lecture slides will be indexed with the reusability factors and information types identified in this paper  An LIS education taxonomy has been developed to index the slides  After populating the repository, LIS educators will be invited to use the repository, and user studies and transaction log analysis will be carried out
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