Saturday, November 10, 2007

OpenEduWeek 11: Open Education and Learning Objects

QUESTIONS: Some people believe that open educational resources "fix" many of the problems experienced by those who work with learning objects. Why do you think they would say this? Do you agree? Why or why not?

I found in this week’s reading there are lots of new vocabularies for me; so I need to look up the dictionary all the time. I even can’t find the exact translation for the term learning objects, the English definition help me understand this term. I am still not 100 percent sure about the exact definition since there are a few similar but different definitions for it. It hasn’t been found the definition what learning objects are. From the reading, I think the open educational resources and learning objects are very similar, leaning objects seems just a newer name of open educational resources in most cases as the time passed. When some people say that open educational resources “fix” many of the problems experienced by those who work with learning objects, they may have their own definitions for learning objects. I cannot agree what they say unless there is a generally acknowledged definition for learning objects.

In Wiley’s definition of learning objects, “A digital resource that can be reused to mediate learning”, for my understanding, that means learning objects are still alive and all over. However, what are the problems experienced by those people who work with learning objects? I have to know first what definition they have for learning objects. In Wiley’s presentation, he indicates that the best way to make learning objects easy and simple is to make them open. Open educational resources are good example for new learning objects which make people’s life easier and simpler. To make learning objects open can also help people express themselves, Wiley also mentions that after Youtube, Wikis, and some other new learning objects appeared in the world, many thoughts and videos no matter good or not at first have been posted on the web. People are able to share their opinions with the people all over that world. And Wiley’s class we are taking now is a good example of open learning object, but it is not 100 percent open yet; because we are still getting the same learning materials, we have to pay the tuition to the school, and we are consuming instead of create our own.

In Greg’s post this week, he mentions that, “First principles methods of instruction may not work in cultures that have rich traditions of pedagogies that differ greatly from first principles. However, it may well be that introducing such a culture to first principles would result in more effective instruction.” I partly agree with his opinion. Also compare to Wiley’s opinion that “it is not possible to make a piece of instruction more effective for everyone in every culture and this is why localization is so important.” I do agree that localization is very important, but I think it is possible to make a piece of instruction effective in every culture because the world is getting flatter. We all know there are some obstructers for any nations to innovate like rooting open education in people’s mind; no doubt, it is harder for some cultures have rich traditions of pedagogies. But traditions can change from time to time, if it is an effective way to make education easier and simple, traditions can be changed. It just takes time for people to fully accept the new ideas. I can see in China, even it has thousands of years traditional pedagogy since Confucius, the educational system still changes as the technology, society change. The term of open education is well-known by Chinese nowadays, but I found that the definitions in China are somehow different from what I am learning now. It just takes time for the people in other nations to figure out the principle first and work more with it in the future. Open education will be a very effective way for other nations and especially I think China because of the large population requiring education; and it will be a way to save time, money, teachers, and so on.


Elisa - ITALY said...

As a matter of fact, there is some confusion about the definition of learning objects in Italy too. Some Italian teachers use this expression as a synonym of learning unities, or as a synonym of digital lessons in their lesson plans, or just because the term is fashionable and they've heard it somewhere.
I like your example about the issue of openness and Dr. Wiley's course, but have you noticed that we, the so-called learners, are starting to react to this hierarchical setting up? :-)

robmba said...

The world is getting flatter, and it may be that some materials may be more usable without adaptation because we understand each other better and communicate faster, but how good is it that it is happening? Are we heading towards some homogeneous blob of culture and education? I would hope that the flatteners that bring us closer together don't make us all the same, but rather help us understand how different we are.