Friday, 8 May 2009

National Learning Network materials

One of the pleasures of working on TASH is people contacting you with interesting ideas and resources that they've found useful, and want to share. Victor Guillen of the ELTC did just that, by calling our attention to the National Learning Network, or NLN. This is a JISC-funded repository for e-learning materials, targeted primarily at FE institutions and programmes, but with possible cross-over for some aspects of HE provision. Victor's found it particularly useful in terms of ESOL and literacy materials, but was keen to show us more generic resources about, for example, critical thinking, problem solving, and learning to learn.

The resources are SCORM-compliant Reusable Learning Objects, which, to put that in terms I can understand, means you can pick them up complete, and drop them into MOLE, Moodle, and other VLEs or platforms. They are also finished to a high degree of professionalism, with some of them looking really nice, and presenting the material in a very accessible way. The flipside of this professional finish is that they can't be easily tinkered with or adapted to fit new contexts; but, as Victor was keen to note, they are just as useful for inspiring your own ideas for resources and activities as they are for being used directly.

Sheffield's only the second HEI in the region to request access to the NLN, so it's still largely uncharted territory. This, plus Jorum, points to the growth of e-repositories for sharing learning resources; and while there are a range of arguments, from grounds as diverse as pedagogy, politics, and pragmatism, against a wholesale adoption of the strategy, it's certainly useful to have access to other people's ideas and ways of working out solutions. If anyone's interested in looking more closely at the NLN materials, or learning more about how they've already been used, then Victor would welcome you getting in touch.

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