András Benedek 1

1Hungarian Academy of Sciences and MMATT Ltd. (HUNGARY)

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Learning Design (LD) emerged from the development of educational modeling languages used for the description of learning scenarios.  As a formal specification (IMS-LD) of their interoperable representation it can operationalize a wide variety of instructional models in terms of roles and activities and other standardized concepts in a machine readable way. Unfortunately, with the notable exceptions of the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL), IMS GLOBAL Learning Consortium (IMS), and some devoted centers of instructional design, its use could not become widespread community practice, and IMS-LD apparently faces the destiny of top down educational standards as HTML5 based mobile learning trends call into question its usability. The usability problems that led to simplified but expressive tools for designing, managing, and delivering online learning activities, such as J. Dalziel’s Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) converge towards issues of Learning Experience Design (LXD) that transplanted principles of usability engineering from the User Experience Designers’ (UXD) community into the field of technology supported e-didactics. Meanwhile, the new Training and Learning Architecture (TLA) of Advanced Distributed Learning is transforming the landscape of activity management with the introduction of the new Experience API (xAPI/TinCan) specification. Both IMS LD and xAPI exceed the Simple Sequencing methodology of SCORMand focus on the organization of learning activities, but their approaches are related to different knowledge management conceptions. LD is more education oriented, while xAPI is closer to the learner centered knowledge management conception of LXD. Reconsidering the original goals of LD forces the conclusion that it is worthwhile to maintain its modeling advantages, separating issues of interoperability, machine interpretability of course management, and transparency of modeling learning scenarios. “Don’t make me think (unnecessarily)” is a rule of the “second media age” that does not tolerate non domain specific complexities. If the needs of user friendly visual tools suitable for digital content creation, conceptualization, and activity oriented knowledge organization are not acknowledged, as opposed to the requirements of writing XML lines, it is hard to expect in the era of social learning that pedagogic knowledge transfer will comply with powerful e-learning standards. Claims to transparent nodal knowledge representations and orientation in the whole spectrum of mobile multimedia based e-contents are rightful expectations on behalf of learners anticipating positive learning experience. Analyses of the possible use-cases of the TinCan API specification point to the recognition that it extricates web based learning from the closed, content packaged “course conceptions” of LCMS based e-learning 1.0. Its extensions including potential refinements of activity tracking may pave the way for effective performance testing. The advantages of the modeling capabilities of the original LD approach and of the promising capabilities of TLA together with the xAPI specification circumscribe a more provident, Web 3.0 conception of LXD. Such a conception adapts to new self organizing and knowledge explorative roles of the learner, to the orienting, orchestrating activity of the “coach” and to the free use of web based tools and user generated content. The emergence and the expositions of the UXD conception confirm that in the open, collaborative 3.0 world of Digital Content Creation LXD is becoming an activity that shapes the space of learning opportunities, problems, motivations and interests recovering the ancient meaning of learning: “to follow and/or find the track”.

Keywords: e-Learning Standards, Learning Experience Design (LXD), Learning Design, IMS LD, Experience API, TinCan, e-Didactics, Digital Content Creation, Educational Modeling Languages. 

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