Learning Objects: Promise versus Reality
Joseph M. Scandura
Creating standards for LOs has the potential of increasing opportunities for reuse. What a LO is, however, often depends on undisclosed assumptions regarding media, content and pedagogy. Abstract Syntax Trees (ASTs) (Scandura, 2003, 2005) offer one promising candidate for defining LOs. All knowledge can be represented as ASTs. Furthermore, LOs correspond to nodes in ASTs, making it possible to precisely define both media and content. It also has been shown recently that essentially any pedagogy can be defined independently of content (see TutorIT in Scandura, 2005). Nonetheless, we must be cautious. An inadequate ‘learning object” paradigm (SCORM, IMS) could easily become dominant – due to political or commercial clout – not technical superiority. At present, the best we can do is assume de facto standards for media. The danger lies in premature definition of standards for content and pedagogy.