As an instructional designer, the task of creating quality training resources can be daunting. However, with greater access to technology based tools it is becoming easier to create learning resources; in particular technology enhanced learning objects.
What is a technology enhanced learning object?
To put it in simple words, a technology enhanced learning object is:
- (a) A chunk of content structured to support learning delivered using available technology.
- (b) Electronic content designed to be reused within different instructional settings.
Technology enhanced learning objects can be used for content delivery, instructional activities and assessment.
What are the key elements of technology enhanced learning objects?
The basic principles of instructional design and user experience design apply to designing quality technology enhanced learning objects. The principles provide the foundation for the key elements, which include:
Technology enhanced learning objects must be aligned to a learning objective. Consider what skills and/or knowledge the learners will develop from the learning object. Develop the learning object so that these skills and/or knowledge can be developed.
For example, if you want learners to be able to recall information then flash cards could be used to deliver the content or a simple drag and drop could be used to apply the information.
Learners should want to use the learning object. There should be an emotional connection with the object that excites the learner, making them want to explore its contents.
For example, providing an engaging introduction that highlights the importance of safety before an object related to health and safety.
To engage learners they need to be able to interact with the object. The advantage of technology enhanced learning objects is that they can be layered, allowing the learner to explore further information, and they can provide immediate feedback to the learner. Interactive learning objects also allow the learner to practice skills they would use in the workplace, not just learn the theory behind them.
For example, A scenario based learning object which allows a learner to apply their knowledge on a challenge, receiving feedback on the choices that were made.
The technology enhanced learning object should provide a positive user experience. Learners need to be able to easily use the object. This usability should apply across all devices, so learning objects need to be responsive.
For example, navigation should be clear and easy to use on all devices.
Technology enhanced learning objects need to be reusable. That is, the object must be able to function in different instructional contexts.
For example, a quiz game could be used in a traditional classroom setting or as part of an online course.
The learning objects need to be interoperable. That is, the object can be freely transferred to different delivery platforms. The learning object should be able to operate independently of the delivery media or learning management system.
For example, the learning object could be embedded into a digital publication, viewed on a tablet device, or placed in an e-learning module, delivered through an LMS.
For more information on interoperability see the e-standards for training website.
Technology enhanced learning objects need to be accessible to all learners. This means the content is accessible to a wide range of people with disabilities, such as vision impaired, hearing impaired, learning disabilities, cognitive or physical limitations, speech disabilities or a combination of these.
For more information on accessibility see the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0