IMS Learning design?

January 30, 2007

Yesterday we discussed can we use IMS Learning design for describing the Activity-theory driven pattern descriptions of learning activities with social software. Our ideas about how the elements of the activity system constrain the operation level of the activities are here:

activity constraints

Here are my comments about IMS Learning design:
We can use a this framework if (Activity Theory – IMS Learning design):
tools=environments; *services (their affordances to perform certain activities)
artifacts=environments: *learning objects
general learning sequence? = play
part of the general learning sequence, will it be separated by events? = act
simple activities or sequenced activities as workflows = activity structures

IMS LD and Activity Theory components

The UML activity diagrams seem to be an intermediate view, that is quite useful. However, where are EVENTS and OUTCOME? It is possible to add the EVENTS between ACTS and OUTCOME with EVENTS.

Sometimes OUTCOME may also become as a learnig object participating in he second ACTs, how is this solved?
How can we go to ACTION and OPERATION level? It seems to be related with the tools..services function where we can indicate the affordances of the tool.

Do REFERENCES to /environments *services/ enable to indicate certain different environments, and we could translate services into ACTION or even OPERATION level?


Services seem to be the affordances of tools to perform certain types of

Currently they write down activity part using elements like this (i have deleted the code elements due to wordpress problems):
imsld:role-ref ref=”Teacher”
imsld:environment identifier=”Poland_Italy_Confer”
imsld:title=Poland-Italy Forum
imsld:service identifier=”Poland_Italy_Confer_SO”
imsld:conference conference-type=”asynchronous”
learning-activity identifier=”LA-fuel-valve-lesson-intro”
item identifier=”I-fuel-valve-lesson-intro”

In general using LMS LD might solve two problems: how we write down the workflows (UML and XML views), and we may stop using the Alexandrian Activity pattern approach, because the perliminary phase of making LMS LD descriptions involves quite understandable case description format.

Aims at establishing specifications for describing the elements and structure of any unit of learning.

Provides a means of expressing many different pedagogical approaches in a relatively succinct language what is pedagogically neutral. A system that has to interpret this language does not need to know the pedagogical approach underlying the design: it only needs to be able to instantiate the design, allocate activities and their associated resources to participants playing the various roles, and coordinate the runtime flow.

EML – Educational Modelling Language was the ancestor of IMS LD

From the Conceptual Model, the fundamental concepts behind a Unit of Learning include Role, Resource, Activity, and Method. Additionally, Units of Learning have various meta-data which include Objectives, Title, etc.

The descriptions of use cases:
Primary Actors
Stakeholders and Interests
Scenario Steps

Developing the unit of learning
# n the analysis phase, a concrete educational problem (use case) is analyzed, usually by talking to the various stakeholders. What matters here is that the analysis results in a didactical scenario that is captured in a narrative, often on the basis of a checklist.
# The narrative then is cast in the form of a UML activity diagram in order to add more rigor to the analysis. This is the first design step. The UML activity diagram then forms the basis for an XML document instance that conforms to the LD spec. This is the second design step.
# This document instance subsequently forms the basis for the development of the actual content (resources) in the development phase.
# The content package with both the resources and the learning design will then be evaluated.

Learning Design specifies a time ordered series of activities to be performed by learners and teachers (role), within the context of an environment (this is tools?) consisting of learning objects (this is artifacts?)or services.

Most formal learning design strategies start reasoning from learning objectives, but one may also start from the learning activities, the support activities (usually provided by the teacher), or the environment

The major elements of the Learning Design Specification

components ( are reusable within a learning design)

activities (activity references an environment (tools?) which contains the learning-objects (artifacts?) and services (what is this in activity heory framework?) that are to be used by someone when they engage with the activity).

learning-activity* (activity (learning-activity or support-activity) has a number of parts. They can have their own learning-objectives, prerequisites, and meta-data. Typically, they also have a reference to an environment (tools?) which will contain the learning objects (artifacts?) and/or services (is services like the tool affordances?) to be used in that activity)


activity-structures* (activity-structure contains either simple activities e.g. learning-activity or a support-activity or other activity-structures, referencing other activity-structures means that you can form an arbitrarily complex structure of activities. )


learning objects*


play* (contains a number act elements in sequence, triggered by the end of the preceding one, if there is more than one play element, these will be run in parallel …is it the whole instructional sequence?).
act* (Within an act there is a set of role-parts run in together in parallel.)
role-parts*(role-parts are the element that links the method section to the components, contain a reference to a role and a reference to an activity, at runtime each player in that role gets separately presented with and separately uses the assigned activities and its associated learning objects and services)

The hardest part of this process is determining what should go in the sequence of acts and what should go into activity-structures. (What is then act?). Referencing makes the elements reusable in different places.

The narrative should be structured in the following way

Title – a very short description.

Provided by – author, institution, etc.

Pedagogy/Type of learning – case based, problem based, individualized linear, etc.

Description/Context – idem

Title – a very short description.

Narrative – a general description of the use case in educational terms (see below).

Primary Actor – student in student led learning, teacher in teacher led situations.

Scope – runtime systems involved in the delivery.

Level – description of the level of complexity.

Stakeholders and Interests – a discussion of the roles and their respective responsibilities.

Preconditions – a specification of what is needed in order to provide the student with learning experiences.

Minimal Guarantees – role specific preconditions.

Success Guarantees – role specific demands for the learning experience to be successful.

Main Success Scenario – relate to the runtime systems involved.

Extensions – various failure scenarios.

Learning objectives – idem

Roles: – the various participants, such as student, tutor, assessor, etc.

Different types of learning content used – local texts, internet pages, multimedia DVDs.

Different types of learning services/facilities/tools used – external expert, groupware.

Different types of collaborative activities – among students, between students and tutors, etc.

Learning activity workflow – how Actors / Content / Services interact.

Scenarios – e.g., the same content may be used for face-to-face and distance learning.

Other needs / Specific requirements – e.g. accessibility, specific target groups, etc.


One comment

  1. CopperCore LD
    Schemas of IMS LD and the learning design engine

    IMS LD editor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: