Learning Object In Distant Education In Nursing

Nurses Educator 2

Distant Education In Nursing and Learning Object

Learning Object In Distant Education In Nursing

Using Learning Objects to Enhance Distance Education,Faculty Challenges In Use of Learning Objects,What are Learning Objects In Distant Learning.

Using Learning Objects to Enhance Distance Education

    A student whom we will call Mark is struggling with the concept of levels of prevention in health care. He visits the course website and clicks on a “jewel” in an overflowing treasure chest marked LOP (levels of prevention). The screen opens to the scene of a climber scaling a mountain, which has plates at various points in the climb. In the foothills, the first plateau is called Primary Prevention Overlook. 

    When the mouse is moved over the signpost, a drop-down menu gives a definition. Moving the mouse over the adjacent telescopic viewer opens a box that provides operational examples relating to the mountain-climbing experience but parenthetically contrasting with maintaining health. Further into the climb, the next plateau reveals a similar pattern but with reference to increasing risk and consequences on the Secondary Prevention Overlook. 

    And at the peak, the Tertiary Prevention Overlook describes more increasing challenges and consequences to individuals and society. Mark has just experienced a learning object in the quest for knowledge. It has satisfied his need for visual stimulus and has challenged his critical thinking in understanding increasingly complex concepts. And it has taken 5 minutes of his time. 

    It will be there for Susan, Joy, Allen, and others. It is an elaborate example of pedagogy that is especially appealing to a profession experiencing diminishing resources-nursing education.

    So what is a learning object? A simple Internet search for the term “learning objects” (LOs), or “reusable learning objects” (RLOs), quickly reveals that the concept has emerged among educators in the last 6 years and is fiercely debated. The logical starting point in understanding a learning object is to define it. This would appear to be a fairly simple task, yet it is not, because the definition of a learning object is precisely where the debate begins, depending on the philosophical structure of various educational communities. 

    Because of and despite the debates surrounding LOs, an exploration of learning objects is worthwhile because they are being used extensively in higher education. Furthermore, nursing education is rapidly expanding into distance education and resources that enhance this modality should be examined, including lessons learned from other disciplines.

Faculty Challenges In Use of Learning Objects 

    There are challenges in teaching faculty to adopt ever more sophisticated technology into the curriculum, such as how to:

(a) recognize learning needs to utilize technology in the context of the intended theory or content

(b) bring clarity and purpose in the use of technology aids

(c) apply the knowledge in increasingly sophisticated methods through advancing levels of cognition

(d) divide learning information into “chunks.” Adult learners bring varying cognitive abilities (learning styles), demands for convenience and expediency, time constraints, expectations for immediacy, and various levels of educational skills. 

    Learners have a broad range of creativity, writing, and critical thinking skills; time management and study habit deficits; and a range of motivation to achieve. Educators are recognizing that methods are needed to help learners retain 80% of knowledge that is forgotten over time.

    The purpose of this chapter is to stimulate interest in a new method of content development though technology, namely, learning objects. The objectives are to define and explain LOs and their standards; why learning objects are suitable for nursing curricula; suggest how communities faculty may adopt their usage; and provide Internet resources for using, creating, and storing LOs. 

What are Learning Objects In Distant Learning

    A learning object is a small unit of content with its description of usability or application used for teaching and learning. It has been described as analogous to Legos building blocks in which a variety of shapes maybe creatively assembled by the visionary to form a creative object. In the case of education, the creator is the course content builder and the Lego pieces are the units, or building blocks, of knowledge. 

    A learning object can be reused, altered for other purposes, and enhanced for sophistication hence the name “reusable learning object”and organized with other material or objects associated with learning objectives. Because this chapter deals with the use of learning objects in distance education, the definition should include any digital object (audio, video, image, text, or any combination) that enhances learning and meets an objective. 

    A learning object that is computer-based can be used by multiple learners and educators and reviews can be accessed immediately (Wiley, 2000). Bear in mind that an LO is raw data and requires a system to organize it. It is not a medium to deliver instruction like a digital slide presentation (PowerPoint, for instance) or a course management system (ie, WebCT, Blackboard, etc.). Rather, a learning object is one of the several methods an educator will use to explain an objective.

    Because of its digital design, it enhances learning and may be delivered synchronously or asynchronously through a course management system (CMS) also known as learning management system (LMS) or learning content management system (LCMS). It is worth mentioning a few of the most frequently cited definitions in order to gain a clearer understanding of the differences and complexities surrounding learning objects. 

    The International Electrical and Electronic Engineering Association (IEEE) offers one of the most widely quoted definitions: a learning object is any entity, digital or non digital, which can be used, reused, or referenced during technology-supported learning. Although this definition is widely accepted, it is broad and illuminates little of what a learning object is or what it is not.

    David Wiley, an expert on learning objects, provides a more general definition: a learning object is any digital resource that can be reused to support learning (Wiley, 2000). But it is more than that: a description of the way in which it is used must accompany it to make it reusable. 

    And the author of learning objects, Wayne Hodgins of Worldwide Learning Strategies, challenges educators to apply a high level of “creating ability” in their development that may be applicable to the unexpected in the world of knowledge sharing. He speaks of availability everywhere, every time, to everyone an Any to Every concept. Although definitions vary, most authorities on learning objects describe three principles that should be present in all learning objects (Polsani, 2003):

1. interoperability-the ability to effectively and efficiently use content from multiple sources within different systems (Edu works, 2004).

2. reusability-the ability to use a learning object in multiple contexts

3. accessibility-the ability to access learning objects easily through stored and referenced databases

    These principles are necessary for the adoption of learning objects, which when properly used and shared are cost-effective, time efficient, and promote effective teaching and learning (Christiansen & Anderson, 2004).

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