There Is No Such Thing as a Learning Object

The title of Michael Feldstein’s article, There’s No Such Thing as a Learning Object, is as provocative as the article is thought provoking. Some tidbits:

“An object is a thing. We don’t learn from things. We learn from doing things.”

To move away from the emphasis on the object as a learning fait accompli, Feldstein proposes the term cognitive catalyst:

Cognitive catalysts can be learning content, learning activities or, most often, a fusion of the two. A PDF can be a cognitive catalyst but it doesn’t automatically become one just because we can download it from a Web site or email it to our students. To have an object fairly called a “cognitive catalyst,” one must answer the questions, “What cognition does it catalyze? What learning process does it stimulate?”

He suggests that we look at objects as the equivalent of the direct object of a full sentence, as something we do something with:

“Jane measures velocity. Harry critiques The Iliad. We debate learning objects.”

Hear! Hear!

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