As we all know, organizations consider employee training as a crucial component of their development and spend billions of dollars on conducting training every year because they believe that employees become more efficient and productive, if they are trained well. It is also a fact that they will continue to invest on training and likely may increase these investments.
But in a large organization, most of the training managers unknown to each other develop lot of similar content wasting their efforts, costs and also time. One reason for this may be the lack of having a central training repository from where they can search for the existing content of same topics and get access to them.
Even if they have a central online training repository and get access to existing training material, it cannot be reused or repurposed because they do not exist in standalone formats.
There might also be situations in which the learners do not need the complete courses all the times; many times they only need some very specific knowledge bytes that are a part of a long course.
Like for example, a sales person who is preparing himself for a sales presentation needs to quickly brush up the features and functionalities of the product before meeting a customer. But he will not have both time and interest to complete the course on selling sells. He needs some instant bytes of learning on how to deal with customers at that point of time. So wouldn’t it be a great boon if online trainings are personalized and accessible in a format that they can retrieve easily!
One way to address all the above aspects is reusable learning objects (RLOs). RLOs help in increasing the learning effectiveness while at the same time allowing optimization of the resources, cost and effort.
According to Chuck Barritt and Lee Alderman “re-usable learning object is defined as an independent collection of content and media elements, a learning approach and metadata for searching and storing of content”.
Reusable learning objects represent an alternate approach to content development. Here the learning objects are the small pieces of content that are assembled into a database and then delivered to the learner. They are associated with the metadata allowing authors to search for the existing content avoiding duplication of same content. Because they are standalone pieces, they can be repurposed to come up with more personalized courses without any new investment into course development.
It is the first post in the series of “RLOs – An Approach to Increase Learning Effectiveness and Optimizing Cost.” Let’s look at the characteristics of RLOs in the second post.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2013 and has appeared in learning technology category whereas now it is updated in Learning Design category.