Learning Objects & Standards Resources

No one could have imagined learning objects and learning standards would be so talked about in our lifetimes. Here are some of the best resources to acquaint yourself with them. Please let us know let us know your favorite resources and we’ll include them here, too.

Articles and Reports
Organizations and Websites
Articles & Reports
Achieving Interoperability in E-Learning. Harvi Singh. Learning Circuits, March 2000.

All About Learning Objects. Robby Robson. Eduworks.

Capitalizing on the learning objects economy: The strategic benefit of standard learning objects by Brian Degen. Learning Obejcts Network. [Requires Adobe Acrobat]

Components of Instruction: Toward a Theoretical Tool for Instructional Design. Instructional Science. M. David Merrill (In Press).

Demystifying e-learning standards. Harvi Singh. eLearning Magazine. October 2000. Bringing flexibility to content and infrastructure solutions…

Ed Walker Talks Standards. Ed Walker. Learning Circuits, November 2000.

Everything you ever wanted to know about learning standards but were afraid to ask. Wayne Hodgins with Marcia Conner. Learning in the New Economy Magazine (LiNE Zine), Fall 2000. Reprinted on Learnativity.com.

Instructional Transaction Theory: Instructional Design based on Knowledge Objects. M. David Merrill & ID2 Research Team (1996). Educational Technology, 36(3), 30-37.

Instructional Transaction Theory: Knowledge Relationships among Processes, Entities, and Activities. M. David Merrill & ID2 Research Team (1993). Educational Technology, 33(4), 5-16.

An Intro to Metadata Tagging. Harvi Singh. Learning Circuits. December 2000.

A Knowledge Object and Mental Model Approach to a Physics Lesson. Educational Technology. M. David Merrill (In press).

Knowledge Objects. M. David Merrill. CBT Solutions, March/April 1998.

LCMS = LMS + CMS [RLOs] – How Does This Affect the Learner? The Instructional Designer? Maish Nichani. elearningpost. May 2, 2001. An article that describes how learning objects work in a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) and asks: How does this approach affect learners and designers?

Learning Object Design and Sequencing Theory Dissertation. David A. Wiley II. June 2000. [Requires Adobe Acrobat]

Learning Objects Tutorial. Robby Robson. Eduworks.

Learning Object Pioneers. Tom Barron. Learning Circuits, March 2000.

Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide. Stephen Downes. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 2, No.1. A critique of Stephen Downes’ learning objects: A Middle Eastern Perspective. Osama Shata. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 2, No.1. A critique of Stephen Downes’ learning objects: A Chinese perspective. Fuhua (Oscar) Lin. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 2, No.1. A critique of Stephen Downes’ learning objects: A perspective from Bahrain. Muain Jamlan. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, Vol. 2, No.1.

Learning Objects. Stephen Downes. Newstrolls. May 23, 2001. This essay discusses the topic of learning objects in three parts. First, it identifies a need for learning objects and describes their essential components based on this need. Second, drawing on concepts from recent developments in computer science, it describes learning objects from a theoretical perspective. Finally, it describes learning objects in practice, first as they are created or generated by content authors, and second, as they are displayed or used by students and other client groups.

Learning Objects and Instruction Components. Clark Quinn, Samantha Hobbs. IEEE. February 2000.

Meta-data for Advanced Structures of Learning Objects in Mathematics Wolfgang Lenski, Elisabeth Wette-Roch. Trial Solution.

Most Learning Objects Aren’t by Dan Daniel

The Object is Learning: New Component Standards Promise to Change the Training World. Rhonda M. Morin. Service News, March 1999. Wayne is one of the people interviewed in this article. “Imagine being able to create a Web-based training course within minutes, or drill down to one particular training unit, circumventing the pieces of the course you don’t need. Now imagine being freed from vendor hyperbole and expensive products, because you have access to basic components that standardize training and allow you to produce homegrown apps. Sound too good to be true? Well, according to some experts, it’s right around the corner. These components, or learning objects, are fast becoming the hottest thing in training, and, experts agree, are the way the industry will move in the 21st century. In the simplest terms, learning objects are pieces of content deliverable over the Web. Video, audio, text, interactive content-or a combination thereof-are all examples of learning objects…”

Objects of Interest. Clive Shepherd. Fastrak Consulting Ltd. 2000.

A Primer on Learning Objects. Warren Longmire. Learning Circuits, March 2000.

Reusable Learning Object Strategy. A Cisco Whitepaper. Version 3.1. August 2000.

Standards: The Vision and the Hype. Tom Barron. Learning Circuits, November 2000.

What are Educational Objects? Norm Friesen. Examines various definitions and approaches to learning objects in recent publications, questions whether learning objects are really objects (the way we talk about software/programming objects), and is skeptical about the prospects for true interoperability and open standards. Emphasizes reusability as a shorter term realizable value.

Organizations and Websites
Advanced Distributed Learning initiative (ADL). To learn more about SCORM and find other terrific resources.

Alliance of Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe (ARIADNE)

Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC)

Broadband Enabled Lifelong Learning Environment (BELLE) is a project to offer a searchable database of multimedia content (interactive and virtual environments, data sets, video, images, audio, text and applications) for use by adult learners and educators across the country. Learners will have access, for the first time, to a well-structured common portal offering peer-reviewed stores of data-intensive content, which can be searched and delivered into prototype learning environments connected to Canada’s national and regional advanced Internets. Using bandwidth to increase quality of service, BELLE will implement and test a conceptual architecture for tagging learning objects and making them available via a national broadband test bed for multimedia serving.

This site is the official home for documents, presentations and other resources related to the Canadian Core Learning Resource Metadata Protocol (CanCore) CanCore is based on and fully compatible with the IMS Learning Resource Meta-data Information Model. CanCore has defined a sub-set of data elements from this IMS model for the purposes of the efficient and uniform description of digital educational resources in Canada and elsewhere. It is intended to facilitate the interchange of records describing educational resources and the discovery of these resources both in Canada and beyond its borders.


Center for International Education: Learning Objects. University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee

Dublin Core Metadata Initiative


Educational Object Economy (EOE) Originally at Apple, but now an independent foundation.

IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee. To learn more about learning object metadata. Also see the IEEE P1484.12 Learning Object Metadata Working Group

IMS Global Learning Consortium. Learn more about content packaging.

ISO’s International Standards in the areas of Learning, Education, and Training

MERLOT Project

Microsoft Learning Resource iNterchange (LRM) is toolkit for marking up data in the IMS format.

Quality Standards Applied to All Learning Objects

Reusability.org. David Wiley’s terrific website includes links to several interesting articles on learning objects.


Wisconsin Online Resource Center

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) basic standards for the World Wide Web forming the basis for virtually all learning standards.

The Instructional Use of Learning Objects, edited and introduced by David Wiley. Includes some very good chapters, ranging from theory to case studies. Available here online or for purchase.

Knowledge Objects and Mental Models. M. David Merrill (In Press). In David Wiley (Ed.) Learning Objects.

Knowledge Objects and Mental Models. M. David Merrill. Presented at USU IT Institute August 29, 2000 and at IWALT Palmerston North, New Zealand December 4-6, 2000.

Metadata for Educational Object Repositories. Norm Friesen, Sue Fisher, and Anthony Roberts. CanCore.org.

Introduction to Learning Objects. Presented by Harvi Singh at an eLearning Forum meeting, July 2001.

Reusable Learning Objects for Personalized Learning. Ellen Wagner. International Council on Distance Education, April 2001. Dusseldorf, Germany.

From eLearning to Knowledge Commerce: Strategies and Tactics. Ellen Wagner and Dan Hughes. WBT Producers’ Executive Summit, April 18 2001.

Wayne’s done countless presentations. See some of them.


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Special thanks to Warren Longmire, Robby Robson, and Robert Clark for help with this list.

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