Article Summary: Factors affecting faculty use of learning object repositories

Learning objects are resources to support learning, like textbooks, journal papers, videos, animations, slideshows, case studies, drills and practices, etc. Collections are made at various institutions to gather these objects in one place is to make curriculum development more effective – reducing cost and time in finding the objects to incorporate in a course. These collections are called learning object repositories (LORs). Previous studies (as cited in Xu, 2014, p. 1066) show that LORs are lacking users. What are the factors that motivate or impede faculty to use LORs? This study aims to answer this question.

Motivation and impediment to usage will be measured using the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT) theoretical framework. Four of UTAUT’s seven dimensions are key factors in user acceptance: performance expectancy, effort expectancy, social influences and facilitating conditions. Faculty from two universities were research subjects. Metadata schema at both LORs was based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers standard for learning object metadata (IEEE LOM).

A coding scheme was created at the onset of this study. Results of the study (page 1073) indicated that faculty users are motivated by 22 factors to use LOR with 12 of those highly motivating; 13 factor impede faculty from using LORs, with 2 highly impeding.

Motivates (in parenthesis are author strategies for using this factor):

  • Usefulness
  • Reduce students’ education costs
  • Education environment-fit
  • Support active learning (market LOs as a course supplement; presents their concept in existing class in another way for students to learn)
  • Save time
  • Convenient for teaching
  • Free
  • Advance students’ learning
  • Institution facilitation (integrate LOR into existing online learning management systems so faculty can see it as an option without going to the LOR)
  • Copyright facilitation (make copyright clear; particularly if using Creative Commons licenses)
  • Belief in sharing (promote the use of and ability to add to the LOR)
  • Enjoy using technology (provide training and technology support)

Impedes:

  • Concerns about LOs stability and persistence (implement version control and a persistent URL; make consequences and notices for those withdrawing existing LOs)
  • Inadequate quantity (encourage faculty to deposit LOs; urge educational professionals to create LOs)

In a time when libraries are searching for ways to be more valuable to institutions, I would make this my number one priority. Professors want their classes to be educational and technologically current; this is an optimal way to hand them several options. It would behoove us as librarians keeping the repository to be on the lookout for them to add more items and make sure to keep an eye on what is being used in classes already so faculty do not feel the LOR is out-of-date if they see fellow professors using LOs that are not in the LOR inventory. Even if there are copyright issues it may be beneficial to at least list the very cool permission restricted items and give an explanation so the faculty member knows how to get permission if they want to jump through those proverbial hoops. Metadata filters would include type of LO, subject matter, and learning outcomes.

Xu, H. (2015). Factors affecting faculty use of learning object repositories. The Electronic Library, 33(6), 1065-1078. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1108/EL-07-2014-0108
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