Learning Object Standards in Education: Translating Economy into Epistemic Atomism
2011 (English)In: Science as Culture, ISSN 0950-5431, E-ISSN 1470-1189, Vol. 20, no 4, 513-533 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
In the early 2000s a technological standard for modular learning material, so-called Learning Objects (LOs), was developed by a group of organizations and individuals. The vision behind developing this technical standard was to create online courses as a jigsaw of independent ‘off the shelf’ pieces that could be found in a database and assembled as you please. Using a computer program, it would be possible to choose the desired materials and join them into a course. In this standardization process, the chief problem of online education was argued to be high production costs, so LOs were performed as a means to lower these costs by achieving economies of scale. Furthermore a technical method, modularization of LOs, was proposed as a means to achieve this aim. It was argued that modularization would be more efficient if course content was broken into ‘packages’ with small ‘granularity’. The economic purpose was, as Actor–Network Theory would put it, translated into technological design. Additional translations put into play links between modularity/ granularity and the treatment of LOs as ‘atomic’. Atomic LOs were to be self- contained, non-sequential, and contextless digital objects. Lastly, in an extreme argument by one of the key proponents, LOs were performed as being the road to a new atomic science of education. By enacting Learning Objects in this manner, a specific materiality of learning was geared toward what I call ‘epistemic atomism’: the performance of knowledge as discrete and basic entities—as stable reference points which exist ‘out there’, beyond any social contextuality.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 20, no 4, 513-533 p.
standardization, translation, knowledge, atomism, economy, education, Learning Objects
Sociology Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified Computer and Information Science Pedagogy
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53612DOI: 10.1080/09505431.2011.605923ISI: 000299214300006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-53612DiVA: diva2:290193