Learning Objects: definitions and characteristics

Learning Objects


The term Learning Object (LO) was coined by Wayne Hodgins who transferred the concept of objects from IT to training and education.
In IT programming, objects are produced which can be reassembled and reused in different contexts. Similarly "learning objects" can be used in the training field where they can be reassembled and reused according to different teaching and learning situations.

From their beginning, metaphors have been used to describe and simplify the characteristics of LOs. In recent years lively debate has developed amongst elearning experts, and different definitions of a LO have been coined. These definitions are linked to the context in which they are used and to the educational models involved.

In simple terms, and taking into account shared elements, we can say that a LO is any digital resource which supports learning:

  • it corresponds to a definite, single training objective
  • it stands alone
  • it can be reused
  • it can be assembled
  • it provides information (called metadata) which allows it to be retraced and used