The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) is a collaborative initiative that aims to make it easier for teachers and learners to find educational materials through major search engines and specialized resource discovery services. The approach taken by LRMI is to extend the schema.org ontology so that educationally significant characteristics and relationships can be expressed. This, of course, builds on a long history developing metadata standards for learning resources. The context for LRMI, however, is different to these in several respects. LRMI builds on schema.org, and schema.org is designed as a means for marking up web pages to make them more intelligible to search engines; the aim is for it to be present in a significant proportion of pages on the web, that is, implemented at scale not just by metadata professionals. LRMI may have applications that go beyond the core aims of schema.org: it is possible to create LRMI metadata that is independent of a web page for example as JSON-LD records or as EPUB3 metadata.
The approach of extending schema.org has several advantages, starting with the ability to focus on how best to describe the educational characteristics of resources while others focus on other specialist aspects of the resource description. It also means that LRMI benefits from all the effort that goes into developing tools and community resources for schema.org. There are still some challenges for LRMI, one which is particularly pertinent is that of describing educational frameworks (e.g. common curricula or educational levels) to which the learning resources align. LRMI has developed the means for expressing an alignment statement such as "this resource is useful for teaching subject X" but we need more work on how to refer to the subject in that statement. This is challenge that conventional linked data for education could address.
Local copy: LRMI, Learning Resource Metadata on the Web
version: Publiched extended abstract