Introduction

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Learning ObjectivesTo define digital learning resources.

What do we mean by 'digital learning resources'?

The term 'digital learning resource' is used here to refer to materials included in the context of a course that support the learner's achievement of the described learning goals. These materials consist of a wide variety of digitally formatted resources including:

  • graphics images or photos
  • audio and video
  • simulations
  • animations
  • prepared or programmed learning modules.

Another term frequently used to refer to the digital learning resources as a single unit is 'learning object'. There is still much debate about what exactly constitutes a learning object but suffice to say the term implies smaller, more easily accessible digital resources used in an educational setting.

The learning resources included within a course may include digital and non-digital materials. For example, textbooks, study guides, journal articles and reading packets are often made available as part of the learning system and play an important role in providing the learner with the necessary course information and content. For the purposes of this module however, we will be focusing on the identification, selection, generation and inclusion of those learning resources that are accessible and useable in a digital format.

Not all of the digital learning resources included in the course have to be generated by the course author or instructor. Consider locating resources from a variety of sources that serve the learning needs of the learner. Additionally, consider how to integrate, where appropriate, materials designed and developed by the learner as a valuable source of course content.

An interview with a course author

In the video below a course author discusses the development of content and how content serves learners as they follow a course.

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    A course author discusses content

    Liam: When I set out to develop my course content, I first asked myself, 'What materials would my learner need in order to understand and master the concepts in this course?' The digital learning resources are those materials already in a digital format like audio, video, animations and simulations. I see providing those resources as sort of 'setting the table' so to speak for learning. The materials I select in whatever format must contribute to the students' understanding of the topics I want to cover. Sometimes I find it a challenge to narrow that list to just those materials they need to complete the course. It can be tempting to want to add lots of extras to make the course more interesting, but I know these can also distract the learners from their course outcomes.

In the space below add a paragraph of text to define what a digital learning object is and then click to compare this to the author's definition.

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