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E-Learning specifications. An introduction

Authors: Burgos, Daniel; Griffiths, David
Publication Type: Article
Publication Year: 2005
Timeline Relationship: Communities

This article contains a section dedicated to the UNFOLD project.

The move to e-learning has been a major development in the recent history of education, involving changes in pedagogy and in the way in which technology is used to support learning. New approaches to education are emerging which promise improvements in provision and learning. Open source and free software and resources are also increasingly important in e-learning and e-teaching, in contrast to the 90´s, when proprietary code and software were dominant. This development is in part driven by economic and policy issues, but also by a desire to make knowledge more accessible. Our intention in this article is to draw attention to two specific aspects which can make a key contribution to making these wider developments in e-learning successful. Firstly, in parallel with the changes we have mentioned, a number of institutions have collaborated to provide specifications and standards that address several widely recognised problems in e-learning. One key focus for this effort has been on interoperability and re-use, making it possible to use the same information package or learning scenario in several different tools, and to create new units of learning re-using some existing content. This is seen by many as being a key requirement for making e-learning an effective solution, and the main body of this article is taken up by a an introduction to some of the specifications which have been developed to address this need. Particular attention is given to IMS Learning Design, as its pedagogic expressiveness, and its function as a co-ordinating specification, give it a particularly important role. Secondly, any successful e-learning effort (platform, specification, repository, editor…) needs to be supported by an active community, which is often partly or wholly virtual. The community requests information and raises problems, and provides answers and solutions. In the most cases, the community is open and free and the drive to participate is pure altruism and/or a need of information interchange (Hummel et al, 2005). At the end of the article we briefly describe how the UNFOLD project has contributed to supporting the communities which are working with e- learning specifications.


URL: E-learning specifications. An introduction

APA Reference: Burgos, D. & Griffiths, D. (2005), E-learning Specifications. An introduction, LN: Publications and Preprints Collection, CELSCEC Open Universiteit (2005)

Learning Design: A Handbook on Modelling and Delivering Networked Education and Training

Authors: Koper R., Tattersall C.

Publication Type: Book

Publication Year: 2005


E-learning is still in its infancy. This can be seen both in the limited pedagogical quality and lack of portability of e-learning content, and in the lack of user-friendly tools to exploit the opportunities offered by current technologies. To be successful, e-learning must offer effective and attractive courses and programmes to learners, while at the same time providing a pleasant and effective work environment for staff members who have the task to develop course materials, plan the learning processes, provide tutoring, and assess performance.

To overcome these deficiencies, the IMS Global Learning Consortium Inc. released the Learning Design Specification in 2003. With Learning Design it is possible to develop and present advanced, interoperable e-learning courses embracing educational role and game playing methods, problem-based learning, learning community approaches, adaptivity and peer coaching and assessment methods. In this handbook Koper and Tattersall have put together contributions from members of the “Valkenburg Group”, consisting of 33 experts deeply involved in e-learning and more specifically learning design. The result is a rich and lasting source of information for both e-learning course and tool developers, providing information about the specification itself, how to implement it in practice, what tools to use, and what pitfalls to avoid. The book not only reports first experiences, but also goes beyond the current state of the art by looking at future prospects and emerging applications.

URL: Learning Design: A Handbook on Modelling and Delivering Networked Education and Training (Springer)

APA Reference: Koper, R., & Tattersall, C. (2005). Learning design: a handbook on modelling and delivering networked education and training. Berlin ; New York: Springer.