LOR of the Educational Things

By: Michael Croft

The Learning Object Repository, or LOR, is that mysterious place where educational content gets curated, packaged, tagged and ultimately consumed by learners, typically via a learning system. In a LOR, it’s all about taxonomy and curation of learning content. The content is reusable across learning systems with LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability) and can work in concert with other LORs, creating a network of dynamic content discovery.

However, LOR is shifting from content to tools, and Volute is leading that shift. With learning demands, methodologies, and pedagogies moving to digital during this state of disruptive change, the issues of online engagement, JIT (Just in Time), intelligent design and analytics performance outcomes can only be solved with tools.

Why? Content does not have behavior. Content is not adaptive. Content is not intelligent. This sounds contrary to how content is typically described in this new age of adaptive, JIT and intelligent learning design. But, content itself does not have these characteristics, it’s the digital tools presenting the content that may have these characteristics. Better yet, the tool IS the content. This is the mission of Volute.

Volute’s fundamental architecture is based on composable tools. Composability is defined as dealing with the inter-relationships of components. A highly composable system offers recombinant components that can be assembled in various combinations to satisfy hyper-specialized needs. Volute is a new ecosystem business model and platform for education. Everything in Volute is a tool. This includes the navigation toolbar, the tools in the ecosystem, and even the ecosystem itself. Every tool can be swapped for another tool.

Volute’s suite of digital tools creates a global learning network that can be connected on-demand. These tools are authored, owned and shared by organizations and thought-leaders worldwide. Once shared to Volute’s ecosystem, these tools can be used by anyone, anywhere on any device. Tools also seamlessly connect with each other.

The aggregation of tools form personalized courses, micro-courses, learning bursts, certifications, projects, trainings and programs. This concept changes how we think about LORs. In fact, Volute is developing its own LOR to better manage tools as content. If tools are to become the new content, then LORs need to adapt. To make the point, consider an online course that includes a PDF, PPT, a video link and a multiple-choice Word document. Instead, what if these were built as interactive tools — a gamified simulation of sorts — where the learner is engaged via digital controls. The learner is presented with a series of challenges using sliders, drag-n-drop features, and pathways to come to a solution. Leveraging the composability concept, a video tool can “talk” to a simulation tool, and an assessment tool. They “react” to the interaction of the learner.

Volute is breaking new ground to support today’s educational demands and tomorrow’s learning needs. Volute has created a standard by which tools can be connected and interacted with in a UI (User Interface) standardized fashion. Tools have further reaching implications in corporate training. Since a tool is a standalone, behavioral digital asset, it can be embedded within workplace flows and business processes, and even preferred workplace applications — e.g. Office 365 — to finally answer the ultimate question: Did this training actually work?