A major challenge facing providers of e-Learning is the provision of meaningful interactive courseware that is responsive to learners, allowing them to actively participate in the learning process.
It is believed by many educationalists that interactive courseware which allows "learning by doing" arouses interest and generates motivation providing a more engaging experience for the learner (e.g. Lewin 1951, Brookfield 1986). The much-used quote from Lao-Tse written in the 5th century BC sums this up:
"If you tell me, I will listen
If you show me, I will see
If you let me experience, I will learn."
A learning object is a discrete digital activity designed to result in a targeted learning outcome. We customized learning objects engage learners in interactive experiences that can include multimedia like video, graphics, narrative, animation, and applets. These activities require learners to think critically, manipulate data, select among options, and solve problems. Learners receive immediate feedback which further enhances content understanding and performance outcomes.
There are two major forces driving increased publisher demand for templatized interactivities, and independent learning objects - the promise of differentiated instruction and the need to generate an acceptable return on digital spend.
Differentiated instruction allows you to offer the most efficient and effective learning path for each student, depending on their aptitude, preferences and engagement levels. To enable this, content needs to be created and made available on a granular level as independent learning objects.
Having low cost templatized interactivities and self-contained learning objects also offers publishers greater opportunities for content management and monetization.