Why I Love the Open Learning XML Format and XBlocks

George Kroner, edutechnica, Mar 16, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There's a bit of a sense in which I feel this is a post from ten years ago, but I am faced with the inescapable fact that learning management systems (LMSs) haven't really changed in that time. And they've been emplying the same disjointed design all that time:

  • learning tools separated from learning content
  • links everywhere with several clicks before actually reaching learning material
  • new tools just added to the bottom of ever-increasing dropdowns

The author recommends Open Learning XML, which is the 'markup language' edX provides for course authoring (note that i see no sign of this in the OpenEdX tools I'm using). It "prompts the course author to think holistically about how the course design fits together and how the courseware operates as a whole instead of considering each piece separately." This is indeed a better approach. It's also something FutureLearn does particularly well.


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