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A Reusable Learning Object (RLO) is a networked instruction providing digital education resource that is reusable, scaled, and shared from an online repository in the support learning and teaching. In the application of RLOs, each RLO supports a specific learning objective that is streamlined according to the digital library. In as much as RLOs vary in terms of scope, size, and level of instruction, they are combined to deliver comprehensive and complex learning objectives or experience. Often, RLOs can lower the costs of accessing e-learning resources. While this independent nature of the RLOs enhances reusability, their efficiency can be curtailed if integrated as a learning resource without explicit intents (Koh, 2017). Further, reusable learning objects are characterized by different features. For instance, RLOs are digital, searchable, flexible, standardized, self-contained, can be aggregated, offer interoperability, and provide student-centered learning. According to McGreal (2004), there are different resources such as audio, pictures, video files that could be considered as RLOs since they are a collection of content aimed at attaining a learning objective.
Advantages of Reusable Learning Objects
In the integration of RLOs as educational resources, the RLOs have been first used as a standalone resource to facilitate independent learning; however, there are offering far more benefits to instruction. According to Watson (2010), RLOs are designed to deliver feedback which facilitates student's actions, practices, and self-evaluation. In some cases, Watson (2010) had assigned learners RLOs for remedial purposes. Also, RLOs have been merged with e-learning to offer accumulative learning. Since RLOs can be used as an on-demand resource, it can provide an opportunity for better management of the learning resources of content. For instance, this could include minimizing redundancy at varying levels, which promotes learning. Within the provision of better learning management, RLOs allow update of learning and instruction to be centralized as they allow immediate learning materials and searches for different learning objects.
Furthermore, RLOs can enhance increased accessibility. Through an increase in accessibility, this is evident through multiple classes of the teacher, 24/7 availability of materials, and the information is also accessible to learners with specific interests. In other events, RLOs offer increased education and learning opportunities by allowing further levels of instruction in more comprehensive depth and customized materials (Pokorny, 2007).
Once an RLO is applicable, the Kolb learning cycle can be used to reflect on the application of RLOs. In Kolb's experiential learning style theory, Kolb states that learning involves acquiring concepts that are applicable in a range of occasions (Terry, 2001). In theory, Kolb offers that the impetus for the development of new information and ideas is based on new experiences. According to Kolb, effective learning is achieved when the person develops through four major stages: acquiring concrete experience accompanied by observation and reflection on the new practical experience, which results in the creation of abstract concepts and conclusions that are later used to test future events hypothesis (Terry, 2001).
Also, RLOs can be incorporated with other media, such as pictures, videos, and audio. Such developments offer inclusive learning since they are essential learning tools. If learners used the press in education, it promotes a cognitive interpretation of experiences rather than a regurgitation of data (Ausubel, 1963). Also, technology-based learning offers learning experiences targeting a high order of thinking as defined by constructive knowledge that can be achieved through RLOs (Howland, Jonassen, & Marra, 2013).
Disadvantages of Reusable Learning Objects
In the decision to integrate reusable learning objects as an educational resource, it is critical to note that shortcomings could be brought along hindering instruction and learning. The learning content or online data is subject to time whereby RLOs might become obsolete sooner than expected since the information is being accessed online. In other cases, the management and organization requirements could be immense. When accessing online content, there are requirements to access the information. For example, in some platforms, one is expected to register before they can access any content. In others, the individual is required to subscribe or pay for accessibility, thus explaining the immense requirements.
Another issue that could be related to RLOs is the legal and ownership issues. In most of the RLOs, one must request for the material from the author, which equally leads to more time consumption.as for the legal issues, RLOs may require author permission, which, if breached, could cause a legal matter. Most of the reusable learning objects seem to be instruction-centered rather than student-centered. When learning is instruction-centered, there are chances that students are not engaged since the teaching methods focus on instruction, shifting focus from the teacher to students. However, for successful learning, it must be student-centered since students can choose what to learn, how to learn, and how they will access their materials. In some cases, RLOs seem rigid rather than flexible.
Nonetheless, to overcome the disadvantages of RLOs, the learners can engage in interactive learning, which is meant to ensure that they are not limited to the information presented to them but can conduct more profound research. With the application and integration of RLOs into an educational resource, adopting a meaning learning rubric could curb the shortcomings since it blends student learning experience from learning activities and beyond RLOs (Koh, 2017).
Ausubel, D. G. (1963). Cognitive structure and the facilitation of meaningful verbal learning. Journal of teacher education, 14(2), 217-222. doi:10.1177/002248716301400220
Howland, J. L., Jonassen, D., & Marra, R. M. (2013). Meaningful learning with technology (4th ed.). Hudson, WA: Pearson Higher Education.
Koh, J. H. L. (2017). Designing and integrating reusable learning objects for meaningful learning: Cases from a graduate program. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(5).
McGreal, R. (2004). Learning objects: A practical definition. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning (IJITDL), 9(1).
Pokorny, H. (2007). Reflective Writing and Re-usable Learning Objects. Investigations in university teaching and learning, 4(2), 126-131.
Terry, M. (2001). Translating learning style theory into university teaching practices: an article based on Kolb's experiential learning model. Journal of college reading and learning, 32(1), 68-85. doi:10.1080/10790195.2001.10850128
Watson, J. (2010). A case study: Developing learning objects with explicit learning design. Electronic Journal of e-Learning, 8(1), 41-50.
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