In order to reduce overall costs of developing high-quality digital courses (including both the content, and the learning and teaching activities), the exchange of learning objects has been recognized as a promising solution. This article makes an inventory of the issues involved in the exchange of learning objects within a community. It explores some basic theories, models and specifications and provides a theoretical framework containing the functional and non-functional requirements to establish an exchange system in the educational field. Three levels of requirements are discussed. First, the non-functional requirements that deal with the technical conditions to make learning objects interoperable. Second, some basic use cases (activities) are identified that must be facilitated to enable the technical exchange of learning objects, e.g. searching and adapting the objects. Third, some basic use cases are identified that are required to establish the exchange of learning objects in a community, e.g. policy management, information and training. The implications of this framework are then discussed, including recommendations concerning the identification of reward systems, role changes and evaluation instruments
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