Community dimensions of learning object repositories

Littlejohn, Allison; Margaryan, Anoush; Douglas, Peter and Milligan, Colin (2007). Community dimensions of learning object repositories. In: ALT-C 2007 Abstracts: beyond control.



This paper describes a set of structured guidelines for the implementation and evaluation of learning object repositories that were developed as part of the JISC-funded project CD-LOR (Community Dimensions of Learning Object Repositories). CD-LOR was a 2-year project which set out to investigate enablers and barriers to successfully embedding learning object repositories (LORs) within a diverse range of communities. Such communities included those based in individual and federated institutions and those that exists across institutions (regionally, nationally and internationally), e.g. discipline based communities.

The hypothesis underlying the CD-LOR project and, hence, the structured guidelines is that the issues which impact upon the successful uptake and functioning of a LOR can be related to key dimensions of the community or communities it aims to serve, as well as key dimensions of the repository itself. For example, the potential problems facing an institutional, multidisciplinary repository serving several communities will differ from those of an international, single-discipline repository serving one community. CDLOR worked with several partners to identify specific issues affecting the uptake and use of their repositories. These issues can be grouped around the following broad groups: organisational, socio-cultural, pedagogic and technological.

So far much of the emphasis in the development of learning object repositories has been primarily on technological issues and solutions, while the former three groups of issues have been largely ignored. The research however, has shown that these factors are critical in the implementation and use of repositories. The guidelines are innovative in that they are focused on the organisational, cultural and pedagogic needs and contexts of the end users. After a prioritisation process some of those issues were taken forward and developed into use cases which describe functionality intended to address the original issue. These use cases and the findings from their evaluations are used throughout the structured guidelines as practical examples to illustrate specific barriers and enablers to LOR usage.

The guidelines are aimed at managers and LOR curators and they take the user through a series of questions regarding the LOR and the communities that will use it. The questions relate to a range of key community and repository dimensions. The community dimensions are Purpose, Composition, Dialogue, Roles and Responsibilities, Coherence, Context and Pedagogy. The repository dimensions are Purpose, Subject Discipline, Scope, Sector, Contributors and Business Model.

The guidelines have gone through an extensive peer review and evaluation. The findings of the evaluation will be presented. The structured guidelines could be a useful tool to guide future developments of effective LORs. They can also be a continually-developing resource as others contribute their experiences of implementing LORs with their own communities.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 53845
  • Item Type
  • Conference or Workshop Item
  • Project Funding Details
  • Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
    Community Dimensions of Learning Object RepositoriesNot SetNot Set
  • Keywords
  • learning object repositories; learning communities; repository implementation and evaluation; structured guidelines; barriers and enablers
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
  • Depositing User
  • Allison Littlejohn