The critical element


A teacher who plans an eLearning project takes into consideration the following factors at the beginning:


the trainees' characteristics and learning needs,


the learning objectives of the institution,


available learning materials and tools,


technological aids, in particular a “platform” or a LMS.

Starting from this information, and from the learning model chosen, he/she plans and develops:


the learning environment dependent on the kind of relational context he/she wants to promote,


the plan of activities,


the core and supplementary materials to be used.




In on-line training models which are focused on self learning, didactic material must be highly structured and accomplish all the tasks carried out by the teacher: the transmission of content, sustained motivation, controlled learning, feedback, etc.

Virtual class


In models which are based on a virtual class, where there is a relationship between a teacher and with a peer group, the didatic materials do not have an all-embracing role because the teacher and the group intervene directly to maintain motivation, to control learning and to offer feedback with new content. The importance of the pre-defined didactic material is reduced, however the didactic material must be specifically designed to be used online.


Most teachers have become acquainted with ICT, and many of them have already carried out eLearning activities with their students. However many cannot go beyond these few and limited experiences because of the lack of time to develop suitable learning materials.

This is one reason why the availability of materials is essential, to encourage more and more teachers to carry out online learning activities. But learning materials - in order to be available for and to be used in different contexts - need to have the typical features of LOs, namely granularity, adaptability, accessibility, transportability/interoperability, re-usability and durability.
Last but not least, they must provide the potential of free use.

The idea of Learning Objects was generated to meet the requirements to have “chunks” of reusable didactical contents. Yet, if they are protected by copyright, only the one who owns the rights to them can reuse them. The logic of ownership goes against the requirements indicated in the premises.


In the field of software, nowadays, a different perspective has become dominant: the one of Free Software and Open Source, with copyleft rights.