Learning Objects - The World Has Become Our Repository

I've really enjoyed the sparring that has been taking place between Stephen Downes and David Wiley related to learning objects. Having followed the progress of learning objects for several years now (I first met Dr. Wiley in 2001 in connection with my Master's program at Utah State), I can say that (a) they've come a long way and (b) there's still a long way to go. For those keeping score at home, a learning object (as defined by Wiley) is "any digital resource that can be reused to support learning."

Much like the "most famous scream in Hollywood" (above), there exists a plethora of educational content (much already digitized) that is just as effective in its reuse as it was in its first use. Wherein many original issues surrounding the implementation of learning objects centered on the practicality of creating and maintaining a centralized repository, it appears that Google has provided our much needed, neatly indexed repository: the world wide web itself. Furthermore, use of such learning objects is becoming easier and easier as most social media distribution sites (think: YouTube) freely offer the embed code that most wikis, blogs, and other content management systems willingly accept.

I suppose the next real hurdle for the global implementation of learning objects is the question of licensing. Ironically, we're back to the lessons that were once taught to us in Kindergarten: It's always nice to share.

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