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How to encourage educators to create and share reusable eLearning materials

By Victor Chang


A reusable learning object (RLO) is a web-based multimedia digital resource based on a single learning objective, comprising a stand-alone collection of presentation, activity, assessment and links (Leeder et al, 2002, 2003), the advantage of which allow instructional designers to build small instructional components that can be re-used a number of times in different learning context (Wiley 2001). Reusable e-learning materials (REM) are known as the e-learning resources generated in the form of RLOs that utilise a wide range of multimedia components such as assessments and activities (Leeder tl al, 2003). REM offers a competitive advantage over interactive multimedia due to its cost effectiveness, reusability and scalability (Leeder et al, 2003, 2004; Muzio et al, 2001). Maximising learners’ engagement and motivation in the process of learning is critical towards learning outcomes (Alexander 2001). The integration of REM and face-to-face learning, known as interactive learning (IL), has been proposed in order to achieve this (Katzy, 2000; Sloman, 2001; Chang, 2002, 2003). There are problems involved during the integration, and technical problems often become the centre of attention (Grudin 1994). However, focus on the needs of educators and demands of their teaching and learning practice are ignored but important aspects in IL (Katzy, 2000; Sloman, 2001; Chang, 2002, 2003). Engaging educators in the creative process of REM content development is a recommended way for motivating educators and also allowing them to understand the benefits of using technology for teaching, learning and sharing purposes. (Leeder et al, 2002). By making “human factor” at the centre of practising e-learning, reuse of learning resources is further encouraged from active participation, feedback, peer sharing and IL, thus maximising learners’ engagement and motivation. In order to effectively create REM, a virtual learning environment (VLE) is often adopted at the heart of learning activities. But one such a disadvantage is the expectation of high quality materials required due to its principle of self-directed learning. However, a place for providing a forum for circulating ideas and resolving both technical and pedagogic problems is a solution (Leeder et al, 2003). This offers different educators and learners a collaborative environment face-to-face and in VLE, thus encouraging educators creating and sharing REM. User feedback on the use and effectiveness of REM delivered in the VLE is also an important step, since the peer review process can reflect REM evaluation (Leeder et al, 2003). This provides essential information for (1) knowing whether REM is helping to create and share REM and (2) knowing the extent of acceptance, adoption and uses of REM among educators. If the outcomes of (2) are not up to the expectation, providing practical workshops is a key factor, since this offers educators hand-on experience in creating, discussing and sharing REM, thus increasing their interests and enthusiasm in using REM. Finally, the active involvement of an organisation for providing learning assistance, workshops, consultancy, VLE and a series of interactive learning, is critical for maintaining momentum for encouraging educators in creating and sharing REM. This is an ongoing process that requires a strong collaboration and support between educators and this organisation, which can act as (1) a centre for learning, training and sharing and (2) a centre for providing recommended ways of practicing REM that suit individual cases, thus delivering the most effective REM by maximising the adoption of REM

Year: 2004
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Provided by: e-Prints Soton
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