Steve Carson, who does a lot of great instructional technology writing on a blog deceptively titled OpenFiction, finishes a recent post on producer culture with this great quote:
In other words, learning objects may ultimately be a consumer culture approach misapplied to a producer culture environment.
I guess it is a matter of one’s pedagogy and philosophy of learning object design and reuse. Steve suggests, “Even the idea of learners as consumers of learning objects (even if they “custom-tailor” their learning experience) may be misguided.” He’s much kinder in his statement of it than I would be. In the vast majority of domains I would say that the idea of learners as consumers is outright stupidity. I won’t repeat or rederive Freire’s critque of “banking education” here, but the notion of “learners as consumers” seems to be the same idea expressed in modern lingo.
If we don’t conceptualize learning objects as edit-able primitives designed for learners to use in the construction of new artifacts, what are we doing? Steve repeats the popular notion that he learns more by teaching than by learning. Guess why? Because teaching is a construction process in which a person adapts parts of many existing components to create a new artifact (whether they create a tangible expression of the artifact or not). Learning is generally, as Steve says, consuming. So guess why we always learn more when we teach? And guess how we should think about learning objects?