What is a learning object?

What makes a good learning object?  Something you find useful in your own academic discipline.


To create a learning object, first ask yourself…

  • What is hard for your students to learn now?
  • What concepts can you envision clearly, but are not successful in conveying to your students?
  • What is the most exciting and compelling aspect of your academic subject?
Stop and reflectDid you look in a learning object repository (such as MERLOT, Sophia or KY Learning Depot) to see if a learning object with this focus already exists?

learning objectiveTo build a learning object, you first want to create its core – a learning resource.  That resource needs a good learning objective. Interwoven Cogs in a Learning Objective: learning, practice, assessThe learning objective drives the way the resource is put together.  The content of the resource needs to include a way for the user to practice what is being learned, and finally a way to assess that the learning happened.

The learning resource should be constructed in a digital platform that is accessible to all.  Core Knowledge Object with learning objective and interoperabilityUsing a universal design strategy assures that your materials work for everyone and can be adjusted to meet individual needs.  The learning resource can be placed in a system that will allow for interoperability – allowing different systems to work together without special or additional effort by the user.

This process part of the design is best developed in partnership with IT support staff.  Library IT staff can support the development of the core knowledge object also. As it is uploaded into a learning object repository, the learning resource needs to have an original title, a summary of the learning content and key descriptive words (keywords or meta-tags) for search engines. Learning Object Using a repository allows your work to be part of a collective where others are publishing and seeking similar objects.  Also, you can increase the likelihood that search engines are more likely to access your learning object.


Discipline-based learning object repositories can be found in the respective UK Core LibGuides.  Some general learning object repositories are:

See more in the New Media Consortium’s Guidelines for Authors of Learning Objects; and the Southern Regional Education Board’s SCORE modules on Designing Learning Objects and Developing Learning Objects (Presentation, Practice, Proof, Packaging).
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