WP3 Development of an Open Source Learning Toolbox for Collaborative Learning
The high expectations set for Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) are not yet being met, even by the latest second generation learning platforms. Most teachers are still using VLEs as little more than a “digital distribution space”, somewhere to upload store and distribute content and to issue assignments to students. Moreover, many existing platforms are also underused simply because they are already too complex and the associated requirement for teacher in-service training is often too great.
The goal in CALIBRATE was to try advancing the state-of-the art concerning learning platform development by integrating what are usually two quite distinct development methodologies - the first coming from a background in social constructivist pedagogies and collaborative knowledge building and the second coming from a background in SCORM and LCMSs.
By drawing on both these approaches, partners in WP3 developped an open source toolbox for collaborative learning (building on Fle3 and Plone/Zope) that offered a much richer feature set and one which had been developed in concert with practicing teachers. In support of this work, WP3 carried out an empirical study of IMS Learning Design in order to determine to what extent it could successfully model “multi-learner” activities in a way that teachers could understand and find useful. The aim here was to examine to what extent Learning Design could actually have an impact at the classroom level. The results of this study were also directly informing the specification and design of the toolbox. Finally, based on this work, the project also attempted to provide some innovative examples of ‘shareable’ LOs that supported more sophisticated pedagogical models than could be currently supported by SCORM.
The CALIBRATE learning toolbox is still available at the LeMill web community for finding, authoring and sharing learning resources.
LeMill is an open source platform which Ministries and schools may take and use themselves. The LeMill platform can be downloaded from http://lemill.org/trac/.
Watch our short presentation video: