Learning Resources Framework Initiative

By , June 10, 2011

I’m intrigued by this week’s announcement of the Learning Resources Framework Initiative, promoted as a joint effort of the Association of Educational Publishers (AEP) and Creative Commons, with support from several major educational publishers.

Over the past seven months, I’ve struggled to design and implement a series of ontologies and taxonomies to organize information about “lesson plans and teaching resources.”  It’s proven quite difficult, in part because I’ve stopped and restarted and changed strategies many times.

Publishers and resellers rarely meaningful data about their products in a consistent format.  The largest publishers provide the skimpiest data, because their products are “sold, not bought,” meaning that they rely primarily on sales agents who contact prospective buyers and influencers at the state, county, city, district, and school levels.  Smaller publishers, whose resources are most often purchased by individual teachers, are often more careful to insure that teachers can find the products they sell.

Another problem is the inconsistent nature of the content standards for various disciplines: some are neatly-organized lists of specific concepts (history, science), while others reflect lots of “overlap” (so that many resources, even individual single-hour lesson plans, may sweep across a dozen or more content standards).

There are other complications: differentiating (for gifted or differently-abled students), addressing different learning styles, emphasizing different “intelligences,” including individual/pair/group work, and so on.

I’m looking forward to reviewing the schema(s) offered by the “Learning Resource Framework Initiative.”

Added: This project has two names: the AEP identifies it as the “Learning Resources Framework Initiative” (LRFI), while Creative Commons identifies it as the “Learning Resource Metadata Initiative” (LRMI). There is also an LRMI discussion group (using Google Groups).

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