Managing Content in e-Learning Environments

Mwanza, Daisy and Engestrom, Yrjo (2005). Managing Content in e-Learning Environments. British Journal of Educational Technology, 36(3) pp. 453–463.



The use of e-learning environments to support teaching and learning has had great impact on the way content is developed and managed. In most cases, both teachers and students have had to re-adapt the way they prepare, access and engage with educational matter. The adjustment in human mechanisms for organising and interacting with educational content has become necessary due to the re-mediation of established practices through the introduction of software-based techniques to structure content, for example, using metadata. Whilst metadata standards provide effective guidelines for organising content in web-based e-learning environments, technology-based approaches to managing educational resources do not fully address social-cultural and pedagogical aspects of users in the context in which teaching and learning takes place. In this regard, the effectiveness of using metadata to structure the discovery and access to educational content should be considered in relation to the extent by which metadata descriptors are associated with established socio-cultural and pedagogical practices. Towards this end, we reflect on potential contributions of social-cultural and learning theories to the task of managing content in e-learning environments. The paper presents an activity-centred approach to abstracting contextually and pedagogically enriched metadata descriptions of educational content and interactions with learning objects.

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