Semantic Interoperability, Communities of Practice and the CanCore Learning Object Metadata Profile

This is a great paper by Norm Friesen (of Cancore fame) that backs up the conclusion we came to this afternoon concerning the value of the Cycle project. The Cycle is providing expert context and evaluation of the learning objects that are best left out of the rigid meta-data definitions and instead best developed within the communities of practice. To quote the abstract:

“The vision of reusable digital learning resources or objects, made accessible through coordinated repository architectures and metadata technologies, has gained considerable attention within education and training communities.  However, the pivotal role of metadata in this vision –and in more general conceptions of the semantic Web– raises important and longstanding issues about classification, description and meaning.  These issues are of special importance in indexing educational resources, where questions of application and relevance to particular learning contexts often supersede more conventional forms of access such as author, title or date.  This paper will survey the controlled vocabularies defined in a number of educational metadata specifications (in particular, the set of values such as “quiz”, “simulation”, and “exercise” used to identify a “learning resource type”). Understanding these vocabularies in terms of their potential harmonization or rationalization in the CanCore Profile, this paper will illustrate the problems inherent in specifying educational and subject contexts and types.  It will propose that the specification of these and other elements can best be approached not through further formalization and abstraction, but via careful study of their use, currency and relevance among existing communities of practice.  It will conclude by emphasizing that a similar acknowledgement of the importance of community and practice will also be significant for further developments in XML and the semantic Web.”

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Semantic Interoperability, Communities of Practice and the CanCore Learning Object Metadata Profile