Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

What You Should Know about “Learning Object” – Part III

GUIDELINES FOR AUTHORS OF LEARNING OBJECTS is an openly licensed document published by NMC, The New Media Consortium, authored by Rachel Smith. We put the guideline summary as below which readers will find it useful. You can download the document through the link associated with the document title, it’s a very detailed introductory material for learning designers. The techniques outlined in this guide apply specifically to digital learning objects.

Designing to Enable Learning

 Keep your educational goal in focus.
 Choose meaningful content that directly supports your educational goal.
 Present content in appropriate ways.
 Select appropriate activity structures.
 Consider assessment issues.

Designing the Learner’s Experience : Graphic Design Guidelines

 Each page or screen should be visually balanced.
 Use physical placement on the screen or page to establish and strengthen visual relationships between items.
 Select one or two visual elements and use them throughout the piece to create a sense of rhythm.
 If elements in your design are not the same, make them very different (not just slightly different) to create contrast.
 All elements should work together to create a harmonious whole.

leaf photogrphy

Photo by KT Shiue (

Designing the Learner’s Experience : Usability Guidelines

 Be consistent in the use of design elements, language, formatting, appearance, and functionality.
 Allow learners to control their interactions; give them the freedom to choose how to complete tasks.
 Follow established standards of design and use conventions that are familiar to learners.
 Simplify the design wherever possible, and stick to basic principles of aesthetics

Designing for Accessibility

 Design for device independence.
 Provide alternative formats for visual and auditory content.
 Allow learners to control moving content.

Designing for Reusability

 Solve the copyright problem for others who want to reuse your materials.
 Make sure your learning object is self-contained and can stand on its own.
 Design your learning object so it may be used by a diverse audience.

Designing for Interoperability : Adding Metadata

 Include appropriate metadata in learning objects you author.
 When you add learning objects to a collection or library, provide requested metadata information.

Choosing a Technology and Development Tools

 Choose a technology and a tool your primary developer is comfortable using (or learning).
 Choose a technology that supports the features you want to include in your learning object.
 Choose a tool that is supported by your institution’s instructional technology staff, if applicable.
 Choose a tool you can afford.

Care and Feeding of Your Learning Objects

 House your learning objects on a secure, stable computer with permanent Internet access.
 Provide contact information, copyright and use licenses, technical requirements, and version information. Keep these current.
 Provide sample assignments, usage tips, links to related resources, and other support material.

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  1. Classroom Aid: What You Should Know about &quot...
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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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