Achieving E-learning with IMS Learning Design - Workflow Implications at the Open University of the Netherlands

Wim Westera, Francis Brouns, Kees Pannekeet, José Janssen, Jocelyn Manderveld

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    This paper uses the Open University of the Netherlands as an instructive case for the introduction of e-learning based on the IMS Learning Design specification (IMS LD). The IMS LD specification, as approved by the IMS Global Learning Consortium in 2003, enables the specification and encoding of learning scenarios that describe any design of a teaching-learning process, i.e. support events, exchanges of projects, interactions and communications between participants. In 2004, after several years of small-scale pilots, the Open University of the Netherlands launched IMS LD-based online learning in an operational setting (over 3000 students). Rather than technology, the paper describes the implications for the workflow. The paper explains the processes involved with both IMS LD-based course creation and course delivery. Preliminary findings establish severe inconveniences for developers in the process of course creation, due to immature IMS LD tooling. Tutors, however, comment positively on course delivery, in particular on the way IMS LD supports course logistics, i.e. the arrangement of course runs, the control of student groups, tracking the students’ progress and the support to the exchange of messages and papers. Even though the applied IMS LD-models were deliberately kept simple with respect to interactions and methods, students for their part appreciated the online courses, in particular the functionalities typically enabled by IMS LD, like personalised flow, tailored feedback and portfolios. In sum, taking for granted the immature tooling, the IMS LD specification seems to work in large-scale operational settings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)216-225
    Number of pages10
    JournalEducational Technology & Society
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2005


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