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Development framework

The CETL Agile Development Method

Image of RLO-CETL development process
Typical workflow in the Development of a set of learning objects

The CETL has developed an Agile framework for the development of learning objects. This method proceeds in a structured but flexible way through the processes of design, development, use and evaluation of the learning objects.

Photo of RLO development process in action

Group working on the early design of a learning object at the CETL residential event in Cambridge June 2006

The framework emphasises the need to understand the problem before designing the solution. Projects start, therefore, with an analysis of the learner's needs. The output of this analysis informs the design and development process. Design and development is an iterative process involving a collaborative group, including centrally the academic tutor(s), a multimedia developer and usually one or more students.

Often the first stage of the design is the generation of rough sketches and ideas generated at one of the RLO-CETL workshops (see ‘Download tools’ below for posters designed to facilitate this process). Quality control is crucial. As the learning object is developed peer review is carried out by experts in the subject area.

An important feature of the method is that the learning objects are then used with significant groups of students. There is 'use before reuse'. The use with students provides a basis for evaluating the extent to which the learning objects have met the original objectives. Finally, and only at this stage, are the learning objects packaged, with full metadata description, and stored in a repository for wider reuse.

There are flexible paths within this general framework, as Agile approaches encourage adapting methods flexibly to local possibilities and constraints. However there are a number of 'nodes' within the development process that are common. The RLO-CETL has produced a set of tools for use at each of these nodes of the development process.

An example of a typical workflow pattern and the tools available at key nodes in the process can be seen in the diagram above. The evaluation tools are all available for downloading from the Evaluation section.

A full description of the basis and the structure of the CETL Agile Development Method is given in a paper presented to the Ascilite conference in Sydney in December 2006. This may be downloaded from: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/sydney06/proceeding/pdf_papers/p64.pdf

Download tools

RLO storyboard development posters (as used in our workshops)

These A0 posters are best used laminated. Use semi-permanent marker pens if you want to clean them! Digitally archive the results then wipe clean and use over and over again. Reusability in action!

  • RLO Spec poster graphicReusable Learning Object Specification [pdf | 739 kb] The original RLO spec based on the classic ‘presentation - activity - assessment’ format. Complete with guidance notes.
  • GLO poster imageGenerative Learning Object Specification [pdf | 1,578 kb] This poster allows separation of the core content from the surface instantiation. Up to three separate examples can be included.
  • Storyboard poster imageStoryboard Sheet [pdf | 698 kb] Contains an eight panel storyboard. These can be linked in any order. Learning design hints included.

Evaluation toolkit

The evaluation tools are all available for downloading from the Evaluation section.