When is a Learning Object not an Object: A first step towards a theory of learning objects

  • Mike Sosteric
  • Susan Hesemeier


For some, “learning objects" are the “next big thing” in distance education promising smart learning environments, fantastic economies of scale, and the power to tap into expanding educational markets. While learning objects may be revolutionary in the long term, in the short term, definitional problems and conceptual confusion undermine our ability to understand and critically evaluate the emerging field. This article is an attempt to provide an adequate definition of learning objects by (a) jettisoning useless theoretical links hitherto invoked to theorize learning objects, and (b) reducing the definition of learning objects to the bare essentials. The article closes with suggestions for further research and further refinement of the definition of learning objects.

Author Biography

Mike Sosteric
Mike Sosteric, Ph.D., is a professor at Athabasca University – Canada’s Open University. His interests centre on inequality, social injustice, and social transformation, and his research focus is on using technology to provide opportunities to engage the world in a critical and transformative manner. He is the founder of the first fully electronic (and free) journal of sociology, the Electronic Journal of Sociology. He is also the founding editor of Radical Pedagogy. In 1998, founded the International Consortium for the Advancement of Academic Publication (http://www.icaap.org), a research institute / publication house that provides technological support and production expertise for independent scholars seeking to publish their own journals. ICAAP currently has close to 90 affiliated resources, including the International Review of Research of Open and Distance Learning.
How to Cite
Sosteric, M., & Hesemeier, S. (2002). When is a Learning Object not an Object: A first step towards a theory of learning objects. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 3(2). https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v3i2.106
Research Articles