The problem with educational metadata

Continuing to think around the information to provide around our OpenSpires content it is reminding me how problematic educational metadata is.  It seems obvious that learning objects or OERs should be discoverable by metadata describing things such as, subject and educational level and it is arguably desirable that things such as instructional method or pedagogy might be covered as well.  However from both our work reusing content and in learning design it is clear that the latter is almost never something that can be usefully encapsulated in a few simple terms, and while there are many lists for subject and level they are often surprisingly hard to penetrate. Browsing by subject in JORUM English literature is under Linguistics (can you tell what subject Mosaic was in) and while I know what Undergraduate level 1 means I am not confident I am right in guessing it maps to  SCQF 2, Entry level 1, CQFW Entry, Access 2.

Clearly repositories like JORUM are just trying to make sense of a complex landscape – but we already know perceived complexity of the process is a barrier to sharing – and the reality won’t help.

So for now I think we are going to ask people to provide information in the following areas, title, description, subject, keywords and some variation on intended audience/use which will hopefully be a way of indicating level.  As much as possible relying on existing information and individually provided definitions and see what comes out.

Comments are closed.