With the advances in online and mobile technologies that have come about in the last decade, the contexts in which we teach and the way students learn have become more diverse. Classes can be taught completely online, face-to-face in the traditional format, or a blended mix of the two. Learning has become less about memorizing information. It has become more about knowing how to use, evaluate, and interact with information in our daily lives. Students have come to expect, and benefit from, a mix of learning content in their lessons: text, graphics, video, audio and interactivity. The inclusion of multimedia learning objects in online or blended course design often enhances how students process information by appealing to the multiple ways students learn and giving them opportunities to test or practice their understanding of content.
What is a Learning Object?
Essentially, a learning object is a tool that instructors can use to teach a particular topic and address a specific learning objective. A learning object can be considered to be a single, self-contained tool, but can be composed of multiple resources, such as Web-based documents, practice exercises, and assessments. A few good examples of learning objects are narrated PowerPoint presentations, videos, animations, interactive simulations, case studies, executable programs, and other Web-based media.
Making your own multimedia learning objects can often be time consuming or expensive, but fear not. There are several high-quality Web-based resources instructors can take advantage of to find engaging, interactive learning objects to include in their courses. For example, instructors can search California State’s Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) database of over 27,000 high-quality peer-reviewed higher-education resources shared by teaching professionals from around the world. For instructors teaching topics in math and science, the Khan Academy can be a great resource for finding educational tutorial videos and game-like training exercises. Lastly, there is WISC-Online, a digital library of Web-based learning resources developed primarily by Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) faculty for use by WTCS faculty. MATC faculty and students qualify for free access to the wonderful materials stored at WISC-Online.
WISC-Online is a database Website that is similar to the electronic card catalog that you may use at your local library, except that all of the resources it catalogs are Web-based and meant to be viewed online. The WISC-Online digital library contains over 2,000 high-quality learning objects and other teaching materials designed by instructional designers, editors, and multimedia technicians. Materials housed at WISC-online are accessible to all MATC faculty at no cost and with copyright clearance for use in any MATC classroom or online application as part of the WTCS.
By creating a free account at WISC-Online, you...