Node – A unit of information. Also known as a frame (KMS), card (Hypercard, Notecards). Used with this special meaning in hypertext circles. (W3.org 1992)
David Wiley post a few days ago a very nice post with the title “RIP-ping on Learning Objects”. Arcy Norman was fast commenting David’s post and wrote that learning object concept is not dead, but now we will put “emphasis on learning rather than object”.
I would like to claim that the latest online debate (this is not a new debate, at all) about the concept of learning object was partly started with the post “Learning objects – Is the King naked?” last May on Flosse Posse. With references to this post Alan Levine then announced the dead of learning objects.
Funnily enough in some conference last year someone was already presenting me as the guy who killed learning objects. I think that he was actually thinking my polemic writing on “dead of e-learning” and was confusing it to the ongoing online discussion on learning objects.
As a reflection to the learning object debate I wrote later on Flosse Posse that: “There is maybe nothing new in the LO thinking. We already have the Web where content is as reusable and modular as it can be.
The world of reusable and modular content – the web – is today better than a few years ago. Some people call it web 2.0. I would call it comeback of the web.
The original idea of the web as a web of nodes on which you make anchors that are linking to other nodes is crucial in blogs and wikis. More and more web sites are using so called permalinks and human readable links that use to be de-facto in the web ten years ago. From the perspective of learning and teaching this is just great. Web is already a great source of learning nodes. It is also growing and becoming more rich (audio, video) every day.
If I would be teaching international politics I could provide my students, for example, the following selection of (learning) “nodes”:
- Harold Pinter’s Nobel Lecture: Art, Truth & Politics. The lecture in video and text format in English, Swedish, French and German.
- The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear.
- Noam Chomsky on Iraq War.
- Plan Colombia – Cashing In on the Drug War Failure.
- A Few Bad Apples – CBC – The Fifth Estate.
After everybody has checked these nodes on their own time we could start a collaborative knowledge building on Fle3, debate on blogs, discussion on mailing list or even have a good old presentations and discussions in a class room.
The learning nodes are out there. Take them in use!