LoLa: Learning Objects, Learning Activities


what is a learning object

development process


next steps


things you can do

credits & thanks

Five Hard Questions (and no easy answers)

1. What would motivate someone to add their learning object to LoLa?

Why would someone take the time to create metadata for their learning object? How would they know to use LoLa to do this?

2. What would motivate someone to add their assignment to someone else’s learning object?

Same as question #1, only harder. One can imagine that the creator of an object might have reasons for wanting others to know about their object. Why would a casual user of someone else's object take the time to write down what they did with that object? And how would they ever come to think about doing this in the first place? (Most people, for example, don't write to authors of articles saying that they assigned that article to their class.)

3. What will the future of learning object creation look like?
Textbook publishers, the Department of Defense, and many other national governments are actively pursuing the creation of systems of exchange for learning objects. What role might small liberal arts colleges have in these new exchanges?


4. How do learning objects fit into the ecology of scholarly communications?
MIT's OpenCourseware ( is now harvesting learning objects from their system and putting them into dspace, and thereby elevating their status from mere term-specific ephemera to things that need to be archived. Our work with many of our faculty suggest that the same techniques of visualization, animation, and re-visioning by webificiation that enliven their thinking about how to teach a particular subject simultaneously can enliven their thinking about their scholarship.

5. What evidence is there that Learning Object use improves learning?

Ethnographic research on learning habits of our undergraduates Surveys, Focus Groups, Usage Stats, Performance on exams