A Convergent Participation Model for Evaluation of Learning Objects


  • John Nesbit
  • Karen Belfer
  • John Vargo




The properties that distinguish learning objects from other forms of educational software - global accessibility, metadata standards, finer granularity and reusability - have implications for evaluation. This article proposes a convergent participation model for learning object evaluation in which representatives from stakeholder groups (e.g., students, instructors, subject matter experts, instructional designers, and media developers) converge toward more similar descriptions and ratings through a two-stage process supported by online collaboration tools. The article reviews evaluation models that have been applied to educational software and media, considers models for gathering and meta-evaluating individual user reviews that have recently emerged on the Web, and describes the peer review model adopted for the MERLOT repository. The convergent participation model is assessed in relation to other models and with respect to its support for eight goals of learning object evaluation: (1) aid for searching and selecting, (2) guidance for use, (3) formative evaluation, (4) influence on design practices, (5) professional development and student learning, (6) community building, (7) social recognition, and (8) economic exchange.