Learning Objects

What makes a Learning Object a “Learning Object”?

Learning objects (L.O.) have become central in the latest development of the field of Education and E-Learning. According to the Higher Education Academy in the UK, the definition of an L.O. is:

“A learning object is a particular type of online electronic learning material that is generally defined as a small, digital and self-contained unit of learning that can be broadly (but not exclusively) described as context independent, reusable and adaptable. A key quality of a learning object is that it contains a high level of interactivity, will have defined learning outcomes and specific tasks or activities for the learner."

Although it may make use of other resources, it will not depend on other resources or other units of learning and should be reusable in a number of learning situations. Three dimensions are central to defining what could and could not be an L.O.:

  • the ‘Content’ dimension
  • the ‘Technological’ dimension
  • the ‘Pedagogic’ dimension

Please visit and run the Learning object creation checklist, in order to figure out how to create your own Animal Welfare Learning Object!




A central question when creating an L.O. is: ‘How small is small enough?’

This issue becomes a complication factor for anyone trying to define the scope of an L. O. and can only be answered with the inclusion of a fourth dimension: the 'Communication’ dimension.

The question of “How small is small enough” is critical. Try to figure this by using examples from other mass media channels. Today, we are dealing with a new generation of students with shorter attention span which is used to multitasking activities in the digital world. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, L.O.s should not exceed more than 30 minutes of study.  We suggest that each new L.O. should be tested with the primary target audience it was created, in order to verify its efficacy, comprehension and ease of use. PLEASE DEFINE CLEARLY WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD BE THE PRIMARY AUDIENCE OF YOUR PROPOSED LEARNING OBJECTS (a few examples: freshman Vet Med college students; Farmers; Industry technicians)

Researchers Kasia Maslowska and Judit Banfine Vas generating L. O. ideas.

Examples of learning objects:

Title: Harvest of History


Title: HyperHeart


Further Reading about Learning Object

Learning Objects: Contexts and Connections


Gray Harriman


Algonquin’s Virtual College Initiative