Defining a learning and
teaching resource in the
context of the FAILTE project
Jenny Slater
FAILTE Project Officer, LTSN E...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
Overview
• About FAILTE
• Learning and teachi...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
About FAILTE
• “fawl-sha”, Gaelic for welcome...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
Why a learning and teaching
resource?
• A lea...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
Selecting a FAILTE learning
and teaching reso...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
Can the resource be
classified as an
Engineer...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
Is the resource only
specific to the needs of...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
Learning and
teaching resources
Characteristi...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
Examples of resource types
Information Resour...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
Describing learning and
teaching resources
• ...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
A learning and teaching
resources database
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
References
• FAILTE web site: http://failte.a...
28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL
References (cont.d)
• IEEE draft standard for...
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Failte learning objects: how they are defined

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  • Working on FAILTE since September, when project began, and since qualifying
    I’m based at LTSN Engineering, Loughborough University, which is...
  • Paraphrase!
  • This funding intended to enhance the Distributed National Electronic Resource (DNER) for learning and teaching.
    Partners: ICBL, Heriot Watt and LTSN Eng, Loughborough. EEVL, EASEIT-Eng.
    To this end we are building a database of engineering learning and teaching resources which will be mounted on the web through EEVL and LTSN Engineering web pages.
    Selecting and Cataloguing resources to provide info. for lecturers and tutors to help them to choose the most appropriate resources to enhance their students learning.
    Resource reviews are also to be commissioned as part of the project - EASEIT-Eng style of review. FAILTE records to link to reviews, and a function to search for only resources which have a review will be available.
  • LTSN to support learning and teaching activities, so the term “Learning and Teaching Resource” seemed appropriate given the close partnership with LTSN.
    However, one of FAILTE’s aims is to be interoperable, so why not choose an existing term with its own definition?
    The 2 most commonly used terms we identified are:
    Learning Object
    “A learning object is defined... as any entity, digital or non-digital, that can be used, re-used or referenced during technology-supported learning. Examples of technology-supported learning applications include computer-based training systems, interactive learning environments, intelligent computer-aided instruction systems, distance learning systems, web-based learning systems and collaborative learning environments.”
    However, others understand different things by the term “Learning Object”. The online version of the book The Instructional Use of Learning Objects has an introductory chapter which describes some of the definitions of a “Learning Object”. It also describes some other, less well used but related terms and their usage. Many of the definitions of a learning object refer to it being a technology-based or digital item.
    (Irena Bosworth of Becta suggested that a learning object is characterised by having learning objectives, in a MEG list discussion.) Therefore not specific in definition, but also not well suited to our needs:
    LTSN = larger field than just learning and teaching through technology. It is hoped that work carried out for the FAILTE project can be applied in this wider context, for the sake of interoperability.
    Learning Resource
    Used by IMS for their metadata scheme, based on IEEE LOM
    RDN terminology compiled by Andy Powell gives some relevant definitions which make sense but do not go far enough:
    Item: a physical or digital entity.
    Resource: an item, collection or service of interest to the end-user.
    This is useful, but the concept of learning is still not addressed. Effectively, anything can be used as a learning resource, if presented as such.
    Ice cream tub…
    Database is aimed at academics as the end user group. Both IMS and IEEE metadata schemes attempt to describe items from the point of learners who wish to find suitable material.
    FAILTE records will be describing resources from the teaching point of view, as well as describing learning characteristics, and our collection will not contain learning material only.
    So why not use the term “Learning resource” and use a separate term “teaching resource” to describe FAILTE’s content?
    Trying to separate the two concepts (of what is a learning resource, and what is a teaching resource) under two separate terms would be counter-productive. Some resources can be used in either or both the learning and teaching contexts, so it makes sense for us to use the term “Learning and Teaching resources”.
    So we use:“Learning and Teaching resource” Help you to understand what we mean by this: FAILTE selection flow chart
  • We looked at examples of resources to decide what sort of items we would include in our database. From EEVL...
    The FAILTE database needs to be consistent in the type of material it contains records for, so that the FAILTE description scheme is applied to resources which benefit from it most. In this way, FAILTE will provide information which is appropriate to fulfill the needs it aims to address, without overlapping with work which has already been done.
    Describe flow chart...
  • We kept coming back to the last question. (We don’t think it is particularly clear, but it is our best attempt!)
    Our biggest problem has been the overlap with information resources, and it is this concept that the second part of the last flow chart question is intended to address. (“easily be used or adapted”)
    Information resources are often used during learning, and they can be adapted for use in teaching. However, they are not always designed to do so, and FAILTE does not intend to include records for information resources, since EEVL already provides access to information about them.
    Quite apart from the overlap with EEVL’s remit, information resources require a different type of description than learning and teaching resources, which is why there is a need for the FAILTE database in the first place, to complement EEVL’s provision.
    We looked at the characteristics of each…
  • This slide describes some of the defining characteristics of information resources and of learning and teaching resources, as I see them.
    Intended to show the key characteristics which both share…lead to difficulty in selecting.
    Describe…
    Examples of information and learning resources which display these characteristics on the next slide:
  • The diagram illustrates the overlap of terms used to classify resources which can be referred to as both information and learning and teaching resources.
    It is anticipated that FAILTE and EEVL will both contain records describing some of the resources which are either/or. Where there is an overlap, both types of description will be useful, depending on whether the end user is searching for a learning and teaching resource through FAILTE or for an information resource through EEVL. The end user will want a description which is appropriate to the context in which they wish to use the resource. Much of the information which is common to both types of description will be shared in any case
    Still going to be difficult to decide what goes in the “green” section, and can therefore be described as both an information resource and a learning and teaching resource. As with all classifications, there has to be a subjective assessment on the part of someone who is familiar with these type of resources and used to making such assessments…a librarian for instance!
    The process of establishing what we mean by a Learning and Teaching resource has happened simultaneously with the process of establishing a cataloguing/description scheme for the resources. The description scheme has greatly influenced our final selection criteria for the database and is therefore described in the next slide.
  • FAILTE aim for interoperability. Metadata is…“Meta” describes another level, so that you may even come across “Metametadata” which is information about the metadata!
    To give us a consistency of description and of interoperability and which is achievable through the setting of evolving standards for the description of resources. (like Dublin Core & IMS).
    (The UKOLN metadata page is a good place to start if you want to find out more about metadata.)
    When devising our metadata or cataloguing scheme, we considered what characteristics of learning and teaching resources would need describing. These include:
    What are the learning objectives?
    What teaching techniques are employed
    Which technology is used?
    What audience is the resource aimed at?
    Approximately how long would it take for end users to use the resource?
    How interactive is the resource?
    What type of learning and teaching resource is it?
    Seems that these characteristics are all tied up with the teaching/pedagogic characteristics of the resources: hence the final selection question. “Can the resource easily be used or adapted for pedagogic purposes?”
    Deciding how to describe these and other characteristics has formed a major part of my work on the FAILTE project to date. A lot of effort…especially to come up with a list of resource types to classify the resources by. Kept this simple, and at a higher level for now.
    Our first version of a metadata scheme is now complete, but will be reviewed in the next three months, to make sure that we get it right!
    For FAILTE’s purposes, if characteristics like these can be described using our specialised metadata scheme, then the resource must be a learning and teaching resource.
    To this end, we have earmarked certain fields in the database which the cataloguer must complete in order for the record to be valid.
    In conclusion, a Learning and Teaching resource in the context of the FAILTE project is one for which a complete FAILTE database record can be created.
  • So if you want to find a definition which works for you, then you need to look at how you want to describe the learning and teaching resource. There’s no escaping metadata!
    Look at the objective of providing such descriptions, to ascertain key characteristics of resources to be selected. (Flow chart) Will find areas of ambiguity.
    Look at how you intend to describe the type of resource you want to select. See metadata standards, specifications and practices which exist already.
    Decide which of the characteristics that you want to describe are definitive for your project, and form a definition from them.
    For us it was the pedagogy/teaching characteristics of resources, and this is why we use the question “Can the resource easily be used or adapted for pedagogic purposes?” in our selection criteria.
    Where there is doubt: attempt to catalogue the resource…
    Finally, if you come across a resource which you think might suit our selection criteria, there will be a suggestions form on our web site once the database is live and we will be grateful for any references to useful resources. Watch this space!
  • Failte learning objects: how they are defined

    1. 1. Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAILTE project Jenny Slater FAILTE Project Officer, LTSN Engineering. 28/02/01
    2. 2. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL Overview • About FAILTE • Learning and teaching resource • Is it a FAILTE learning and teaching resource? • … and not an information resource! • Describing learning and teaching resources • Where next...
    3. 3. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL About FAILTE • “fawl-sha”, Gaelic for welcome • Facilitating Access to Information on Learning Technology for Engineers • JISC funded project • Aim to make learning and teaching resources more accessible, by providing descriptive information that will allow engineering academics to gauge the resources’ suitability to their needs.
    4. 4. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL Why a learning and teaching resource? • A learning object is defined... as any entity, digital or non-digital, that can be used, re-used or referenced during technology-supported learning. - IEEE Draft Standard for Learning Object Metadata • RDN Terminology • Item: a physical or digital entity. • Resource: an item, collection or service of interest to the end-user.
    5. 5. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL Selecting a FAILTE learning and teaching resource Is the resource Web-based? Is the resource Web-based? Is the resource a collection of pointers to third party resources? Is the resource a collection of pointers to third party resources? Stop. Don’t include Stop. Don’t include Does it have a Web presence? Does it have a Web presence? No Stop. Don’t include Stop. Don’t include No Ye s No Ye s Ye s
    6. 6. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL Can the resource be classified as an Engineering resource? Can the resource be classified as an Engineering resource? Stop. Don’t include Stop. Don’t include No Does the resource contain only advice on aspects of learning and teaching? Does the resource contain only advice on aspects of learning and teaching? Is the resource material of a suitable level to be taught to higher education students? Is the resource material of a suitable level to be taught to higher education students? Stop. Don’t include Stop. Don’t include Ye s Stop. Don’t include Stop. Don’t include No Ye s No Ye s
    7. 7. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL Is the resource only specific to the needs of the creators? Is the resource only specific to the needs of the creators? Stop. Don’t include Stop. Don’t include Ye s Is the resource intended to accompany/act as a taught course? Is the resource intended to accompany/act as a taught course? INCLUDEINCLUDE Can the resource easily be used or adapted for pedagogic purposes? Can the resource easily be used or adapted for pedagogic purposes? No Ye s Stop. Don’t include Stop. Don’t include No Ye s No
    8. 8. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL Learning and teaching resources Characteristics of a learning and teaching resource Information resources …are representations of data, knowledge, concepts, experience …contain data which communicate inherent attributes …communicate data, information and/or knowledge ...are expositive …are interactive …are designed to enhance the learning of a particular audience: Often have learning objectives
    9. 9. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL Examples of resource types Information Resources Learning and Teaching Resources Journal articles, Research Monographs, Indexes, Databases. Experiment Simulation Formative assessment Questions Text book, Hand- out
    10. 10. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL Describing learning and teaching resources • FAILTE description scheme uses metadata elements. • Standards & Interoperability issues. • Characteristics of learning and teaching resources to describe. Dublin Core Metadata Initiative
    11. 11. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL A learning and teaching resources database
    12. 12. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL References • FAILTE web site: http://failte.ac.uk/ • LTSN Engineering web site: http://www.ltsneng.ac.uk/ • ICBL: http://www.icbl.hw.ac.uk/ • EEVL: http://www.eevl.ac.uk/ • EASEIT-Eng : http://www.easeit-eng.ac.uk/ • MEG web page: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/education/ • Powell, A., RDN Terminology - Version 1.0. : http://www.rdn.ac. uk/publications/terminology/ • Wiley, D. (Ed.), The Instructional Use of Learning Objects: http://reusability.org/read/
    13. 13. 28/02/01Defining a learning and teaching resource in the context of the FAIL References (cont.d) • IEEE draft standard for Learning Object Metadata: http:// ltsc.ieee.org/doc/wg12/LOM_WD4.htm/ • IMS Metadata Specification, Version 1.1 http://www.imsproject .org/metadata/ • Dublin Core Metadata Initiative web site: http://purl.oclc.org/dc/index.htm/ • UKOLN Metadata page: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/metadata/
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