Look closely at this post’s title: a phrase, or a sentence?
I freely confess I haven’t much patience with SCORM and the relentlessly hierarchical, content management frame of mind. I feel about these things much as I used to about the Novell network at a former job. I recognized at once it was messy, complicated, and not something I wanted to have expertise in. I adopted as my mantra, “I don’t know nothin’ ’bout linkin’ no lans.”
I certainly agree that information and resources have the potential to affect many different situations. In practice, however, I’ve seen learning objects treated much more like objects than like learning.
One project I worked on dealt with EEO procedures in a federal agency. As we developed online courses, SCORM orthodoxy required that no lesson referred to anything covered in another lesson. The rationale was that the “learning objects” could be “repurposed,” which is like being reused but costs a lot more.
In other words, another agency in theory could take these objects and string them electronically into its own EEO procedure course. And apparently they’d do that oh so efficiently because of the content management and whatnot.
Here on Earth, what would really happen is that some human being would rewrite the examples, changing a case study from an immigration officer to a wage-hour investigator. All the other content — charts, steps, procedures, topic and lesson structure — would be identical to the original course, because the procedure was identical across agencies.
All the learning object packaging, all the SCORM manifests, were simply a top-down approach to warehousing information, apparently with the idea that the photo used to illustrate an employee making a claim could someday reappear in a completely different context.