Learning Material Application Profile scoping study

A while back the JISC asked us to investigate the creation of a learning materials application profile, let’s call it LMAP for short. Well, there’s already the UK LOM Core, which is usable despite the latest (and best) version being an incomplete draft. But, as I discussed in my previous post, there have been other developments in metadata for educational resources since then. There are also considerations arising from areas such as assessment, learning design and packaging complex objects that need to be taken into account. So marching on down the UK LOM Core road wasn’t necessarily going to be the right thing to do, accordingly we (Lorna and I) decided to take a more circumspect approach.

A typical collection of learning materials is likely to include a wide range of resource types (e.g. images, web pages, assessment items, tutorial-type packages) all of which require description. In addition ther are other factors related to activities such as rights management, ensuring accessibility and preservation that may need to be considered when describing the resources. Expert and advisory groups for most object types and activity domains have developed their own specialized metadata sets and have their own perception of the requirements for best (or acceptable) practice.

We proposed a scoping study that will draw up a list of the relevant domains, identify domain experts for each of them and interview these experts to ascertain the recommendations they provide to repository managers on what would be considered an adequate minimum element set to cover issues arising from their domain. Through synthesis and analysis of this advice we hope to provide managers of repositories of learning materials with an appreciation of the various domain issues they may need to consider and the range of metadata that they might have to accommodate. Additionally, we hope the study will inform advisory services about the range of demands on (finite!) repository resources that may be made by other domains. I see this as being complementary to the approach taken by the DC-Education community: they’re looking at what might go into a modular application profile to describe educational properties; we’re scoping our what the whole profile might look like. Our starting list of domains (and an indication of the metadata involved) is:

  • general resource discovery (DC, MARC)
  • Education (LOM, context descriptions)
  • Accessibility (Access4All)
  • Curation / preservation (premis, METS)
  • Complex object management (IMS CP, METS, DIDL, OAI-ORE)
  • Technical (technical metadata)
  • Digital rights (ODRM, XrML)
  • Repository management (admin metadata)
  • Assessment (IMS QTI metadata)
  • Scholarly publishing / citations (OpenURL, SWAP, PRISM?)
  • Images (MIX)
  • Videos
  • Geo-spatial

(Which is a long list for a short project.) My first job is to finalize this list, so I would be really interested in receiving comments on it from repository managers, domain experts and others.

This is some work that I am doing for JISC CETIS but in addition to and separate from my regular (part-time) CETIS role of domain coordinator. If you’re interested please get in touch.

5 thoughts on “Learning Material Application Profile scoping study

  1. Hi Phil, v interested in your proposal for context descriptions of the education domain – obviously a big issue for repurposing and re-using content effectively – also identified by the CRAX report into sharing e-learning content which reported recently (see http://www.jisc.ac.uk/whatwedo/programmes/programme_digital_repositories/project_sharing_elearning_content.aspx). You might look at outcomes from the JISC Design 4 Learning programme, and in particular issues arising from the ‘design bash’ we will be holding on 23 October, trying to identify what enables designs to be translated across different contexts of use. The CETIS support project are the ‘repository managers’ for these project outcomes.

    I notice you don’t have anything in your list specifically about users i.e. learners and I wonder if this is something that should be represented in the profile. E.g. descriptions of intended users would certainly help in content discovery. But might there also be someting about how users can access, adapt and repurpose materials that would cut across your education, access and assessment domains?

  2. Hi Phil (and Lorna),

    If you open the box of worms, you might consider specifications relating to Learning Needs Analysis/Compentency Analysis , e.g. specifications like IMS RCDEO, HR XML etc.?

  3. Here’s another “domain” for the list:

    *Community generated tags.

    Helen’s comments also lead me to raise the issue of what exactly is being described here and what will be in and out of scope. Will we only consider metadata that relates to educational materials themselves or metadata relating to the use and users of those materials e.g. user tracking information? I don’t know if I’m explaining myself very well here but to my mind this is related to the kind of issues that were discussed on the DC-Ed community list recenly.

  4. Hi Lorna,
    I’ve been thinking about the “what” question as well, as part of trying to sketch out a domain model or entity-relationship map: it does include users and intended audience. Hopefully more here soon on that, but I hope the “where” and “why” questions are useful in answering the “what” question. Where? – at a repository; why? – to help resource management, discovery, selection. (…?)

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