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Content-independent learning objects developed for the DART project

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Learning objects are intended to be sustainable by virtue of their reusability, but they tend to be designed within a specific learning context and may not be appropriate when moved to a new context. A more sustainable solution could be achieved through the design of generic learning objects, or ‘learning classes’, that enable a specific learning activity and allow the teacher to plug in whatever content they require. The DART project at the London School of Economics has developed two such learning classes. Although originally designed for teaching anthropology, the content of the learning classes can be taken out and replaced, so that the same class can be used to create a new learning object for a completely different subject. In this paper, I shall describe two such learning classes that DART has developed. The first, called “What’s Going On?”, is a video-interpretation exercise that allows the teacher to annotate a piece of video with synchronised subtitles, hotspots, and links to other resources, which the student can use to interpret the content of the video clip. The second, called “Investigator”, allows students to explore a map (or any other image) and ‘collect’ resources from pre-defined locations into a personal portfolio. I shall demonstrate the anthropological applications of these tools, and show how they have been applied to other subject areas.

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