Open forum : “Standards for Digital Learning Resources: publishing, referencing, delivery, tracking”

“Standards for Digital Learning Resources: publishing, referencing, delivery, tracking”

Initiatives 2015 (Open forum 2015)

Seminar in parallel with the ISO/IEC JTC1-SC36 28th Plenary - 2015

Rouen (France) June, 26th, 2015


Call for papers

The countries involved in the standardisation of IT-LET have participated for more than ten years in the concertation Initiatives on Ethics and ITC: appropriation of knowledge in question (2001); on Standards for Online Learning (2003); on Standards as an Instrument for the success of a shared Knowledge Society (2005) and on Standards for IT-LET facing territorial, economic, cultural and linguistic diversity (2011).

From these Initiatives, it appears that globalisation not only affects economy, but also education. More precisely, in this field, it has consequences which impacts negatively knowledge production. Globalisation generates a lot of unsteadiness, and, in a context where the acceleration of exchanges through the uses of digital technologies provides benefits for some, it can be a factor of divide and exclusion for the others. Alternatives facilitating digital publishing arouse, such as the Budapest Initiative for open archives, the publication of the principles of “universal public good”, of those induced by the Open Learning Resources, or even the creation of “thematic digital universities”.

Initiatives 2015 aims at questioning the place of Standards for Digital Learning Resources according to three community dimensions: national, international and francophone. It means to consider the actors, the activities, the institutions, in their own context of uses and constraints, when they deal with digital learning resources publishing, referencing and delivery as well as tracking learning outcomes. These constraints are linked to the development of interactions between virtual community networks producing contents and knowledge, on one hand, and the socioeconomic environment of the publishing sector, on the second hand.

The new forms of exchange and collaboration on standardisation and interoperability issues, as well as the level of consensus in establishing standards for designing learning resources may well induce different levels of understanding between ministries of education, organisations from the publishing industry sector and teachers or learners communities.  

Among the issues raised by this theme, the following deserve consideration:

  • Which are the position and the status of learners’ production in front of teachers’ production, within the perspective of the constructivist paradigm?
  • Is a new digital divide made possible by the semantic web?
  • What is the impact of the new forms of open knowledge production on the formats and the status of the delivering resources, and on their standards?
  • Are there effects produced by the “Post-Web 2.0” accelerated exchanges on the learning resources coproduction?
  • Are there effects of the public policies ranging from teachers’ training to standardisation on the production of learning resources?

Strand 1: Publishing

Publishing open digital learning resources may oblige the knowledge production virtual communities to use proprietary or open standards, reflecting linguistic, cultural or economic specificities.

Such an option raises the following issues:

  • freedom, time and will to coproduce digital learning resources,
  • resistance around open learning resources,
  • adaptability and intellectual property in terms of license and rights,
  • standardisation of components or basic material used by the production,
  • achievement of the process planned in the production chain,
  • choice of standards guaranteeing durability, security and compatibility of a product to the user.

Strand 2: Referencing

It is difficult to apply standards to open resources in order to allow them to become an alternative to knowledge commodification. Nonetheless, is there a culture of digital resources referencing which mobilises documentation and archive and library sciences professionals? Such a culture of referencing can now use information systems based on metadata schemas and repositories, and call on vocabularies used for indexing and its semantics in terms of ontologies and knowledge maps. But is it the case?

If not, it raises the following issues:

  • How to insure interoperability of the systems referencing the resources?
  • How to insure the visibility of resources?
  • Are there difficulties to acquire methodologies and technologies, and how to overcome them?

Strand 3: Delivery

Digital delivery requires new forms of pooling material and human resources, and become more complex with the development of new mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and electronic readers. It has also to take into consideration open and proprietary formats for digital learning resources. Does the delivery of digital learning resources using appropriate standards allow them to gain utility, circulation, re-use? Does “harvesting” or dissemination as open archives play a role?

The issues associated with the delivery process are the following:

  • Is there a national delivery policy?
  • Is there a determination in favour of an open publishing economy?
  • Is there a possibility of consensus among the different communities of interest?
  • What are the conditions for an open access to and a free movement of data?
  • What is the place of new medias?

Strand 4: Tracking

As an instrument of regulation and good governance, can standardisation allow traceability and better follow-up in a context of learning expansion? What can be the contribution of tracking to digital identities, in a context of an increasing mobility of learners and of lifelong learning, and when learning analytics and linked data are bursting out?

The tracking systems raise several issues, among which:

  • Which protection for the collected data?
  • Which authorisation is required to process these data?
  • What are the standards for tracking learning paths, in the perspective of continuous improvement, or in view of any other type of process?