Skip to content

Yet another Learning Object repository

Learning Object Repository (UBC – Applied Science)
At one time, I thought eventually we would end up with one large, dominant repository for learning objects. Instructors and developers would use this central repository for adding, selling, acquiring learning objects. That view has changed. It seems that learning object repositories are more like web pages – every institution has one (or will have one)…and each will have functionality, look, and feel in keeping with the branding of the organization. This personalized, decentralized approach is probably a good thing…but some standardization is needed. If this is trend (everyone creating their own repository), then two things are needed in order for repositories to be useful to others outside of a particular institution (after all, repositories are most useful when they can connect and foster learning resource exchange between collleges/universities/schools…not just internally):

  • A standard for learning object repositories. HTML is simple, flexible, effective. Yet it allows browsers to access most websites. A similar standard is needed for LORs…but it has to be simple. This standard should dictate how learning objects are exposed to tools seeking to locate/explore them. I’m not sure if RSS is the final answer…
  • A search service. Google makes the Internet valuable. 4 billion pages without organization has no more value than 1000. The organization is the value. Learning objects need to be “findable” to have value.


  1. Scott Leslie wrote:

    Your earlier post about de jure standards notwithstanding, isn’t part of what you are looking for?

    Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  2. gsiemens wrote:

    Hey Scott…thanks for the link. I was aware of the spec (I think Wouter posted something on it recently)…but some days, putting 2 + 2 together is a challenge…:). I’ll explore it…

    Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 10:54 pm | Permalink
  3. Jim Sibley wrote:


    First I like to comment on how much I enjoy your blog….consistently good posts

    As the creator of “Yet Another Repository” I like to give some history.

    Large Central Standards based Repositories have emerged (merlot, careo, etc)but they in my opinion consistently have two failings…

    One is the inability to customize the data entry forms….the vocabulary needs to be right for my discipline (even if it is mapped in the background to more generic taxonomies) this invariably helps the data entry enduser. Also having to enter 30 of 40 fields (careo) is not going to be too popular. My take on this is that we need to consider the data entry person and the data extractor when deciding how many and which fields to capture. In Applied Sciences case, it is about 17 fields (some system generated) in a subset of the CanCore subset of the IMS specification.

    The second problem is cultural with faculty comfort/discomfort with sharing of resources. In some discussions with faculty we discovered that there is less resistance to posting their material on a locally branded repository, even if the repository can be searched by other repositories. I think it might have something to do with “will I get credit for my contribution?”

    Our repository is standard compliant, has RSS feeds and a SOAP interface to connect to external resources.

    The landscape has change alot since the beginning of this project…more Adjustable Tools are starting to emerge.

    Now to the harder job of creating quality objects that reusable or at least re-purposable easily.

    Monday, June 2, 2003 at 6:38 pm | Permalink