Defining a Learning Object

This is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a very long time. The cute yellow warning box says it as well as anyone could… Click through for a legibly large image from the Wikipedia entry on Learning Objects.

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  • hee hee… WikiPedia is so wise!

    And look at that second bulleted definition. Where the *&#^% did that come from? 😉

  • Sad. It only goes to show how careful one must be when coining neologisms. Of course, this dictionary definition isn’t much more clear:

    1. anything that is visible or tangible and is relatively stable in form.
    2. a thing, person, or matter to which thought or action is directed
    3. the end toward which effort or action is directed; goal
    4. a person or thing with reference to the impression made on the mind or the feeling or emotion elicited in an observer
    5. anything that may be apprehended intellectually
    6. Optics. the thing of which a lens or mirror forms an image.
    7. Grammar. (in many languages, as English) a noun, noun phrase, or noun substitute representing by its syntactical position either the goal of the action of a verb or the goal of a preposition in a prepositional phrase, as ball in John hit the ball, Venice in He came to Venice, coin and her in He gave her a coin.
    8. Computers. any item that can be individually selected or manipulated, as a picture, data file, or piece of text.
    9. Metaphysics. something toward which a cognitive act is directed.
    10. to offer a reason or argument in opposition.
    11. to express or feel disapproval, dislike, or distaste; be averse.
    12. to refuse or attempt to refuse to permit some action, speech, etc.

    (entry for “object”, lifted from dictionary.com)

  • Ok, I need to rant a bit more… David, delete this if you feel its out of place.

    Notice the purpose of listing the dictionary definition of “object” was to suggest that “Learning Object” may have inherited some of its ambiguity.

    Second, I’ve noticed a penchant for ID and IT people to publish half-baked concepts, and for the ID and IT community to swallow those concepts hook-line-and-sinker.

    Compare past ID theories past and present (eg. “transaction shells,” “design languages/layers”) in their first published form to the original form of psychological theories such as “automaticity” and “self-efficacy”. Self-efficacy was a very complete concept before its original publication by Bandura, and that original theory has been protected by Bandura’s continuing research and Pajares organization of a not-so-silent college. Automaticity’s tale is similar (though it has been co-opted by less-informed researchers to be synonymous with “response time”). There seems to be a relationship between the robustness of the theory’s initial development and its longevity.

    When I express this opinion in the ID community, it usually rubs people the wrong way. “It takes *years* to develop these theories, and they have to be published sooner or later,” was one comment I received. The length of time it takes to develop a theory is irrelevant to me. It’s the quality of the published version that I consider important because that canon represents the point of origin for subsequent research.

    I’m all for what Donald Campbell called “evolutionary epistemology” wherein new ideas are subjected to harsh intellectual environments so they either adapt (improve) or die. But Campbell used brown-bag discussions with grad students are his environment, not the peer-reviewed literature. Likewise, I applaud people like David (and I try to emulate them) who post nascent thoughts on their blogs. (Pajares’ online self-efficacy clearinghouse/community serves a similar purpose.) Hopefully, such open developmental habits will improve the quality of mainstream ID theories.

  • Jon

    So did you edit the article?

    (See the Edutech Wikipedia Challenge, which I believe Brian Lamb will be blogging soon…)

  • Jon

    Actually, I went ahead and issued the challenge myself, here.

  • Javier

    Actually, the second definition is often quoted in several works…

  • Jon

    Well, I spent quite some time editing the article, and so finally removed the tag: I’m hoping that it’s less confusing now. But you guys are the experts, so you should be the ones to improve it further.