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Learning object design and sequencing theory

, Brigham Young University, United States

Brigham Young University . Awarded


Given the likelihood of the broad deployment of learning objects-based technology, and the dangers of employing it in an instructionally unprincipled manner, the need for an instructional design theory providing explicit support for the instructional design and use of learning objects is clear. “Theory” here follows Reigeluth's (1999) definition of design theories as “describ[ing] methods of instruction and the situations in which those methods should be used.” This study reviews, synthesizes, and combines four existing instructional design theories, namely Elaboration Theory (Reigeluth, 1999), Work Model Synthesis (Gibbons, et al., 1995), Domain Theory (Bunderson, Newby, & Wiley, 2000), and the Four-Component Instructional Design model (van Merriënboer, 1997) with new work, the result being a new instructional design theory, Learning Object Design and Sequencing Theory (LODAS). LODAS provides guidelines for the analysis and synthesis of an undifferentiated content area (e.g., English), the application of which produces specifications for the scope and sequence of learning objects. The theory also provides a taxonomy of five learning object types and provides design guidance for the different types of learning objects.

Currently, any person or organization that wants to employ learning objects in their instructional design is required to create their own taxonomy of learning objects. The author considers this to be a major cause of the current poverty of practical applications of learning objects. However, taking the taxonomy and learning object design guidelines presented in LODAS, an instructional designer may be able to connect these to the instructional design theory of their choice via the creation of “prescriptive linking material,” a considerably simpler exercise than the creation of a new taxonomy. As the theory is tested, this development has the potential to speed the practical adoption of the learning object approach, allow the simplified application of any instructional design theory to the learning object approach, and provide a common ground for future research in the instructional technology called “learning objects.”


Wiley, D.A. Learning object design and sequencing theory. Ph.D. thesis, Brigham Young University. Retrieved October 23, 2020 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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