The Learning Object Repository, or LOR, is that mysterious place where educational content gets curated, packaged, tagged and ultimately consumed by learners, typically via a learning system. In a LOR, it’s all about taxonomy and curation of learning content. The content is reusable across learning systems with LTI (Learning Tool Interoperability) and can work in concert with other LORs, creating a network of dynamic content discovery.

However, Volute is leading the charge for a shift from content to tools. With learning demands, methodologies, and pedagogies moving to digital and in a state of disruptive change, the issues of online engagement, JIT (Just in Time), intelligent design and analytics performance outcomes can only be solved with tools.

Why? Content does not have behavior. Content is not adaptive. Content is not intelligent. This sounds contrary to how content is typically described in this new age of adaptive, JIT and intelligent learning design. But, content itself does not have these characteristics, it’s the digital tools presenting the content that may have these characteristics. Better yet, the tool IS the content. This is the mission of Volute.

Volute’s fundamental architecture is based on composable tools. Composability is defined as dealing with the inter-relationships of components. A highly composable system offers recombinant components that can be assembled in various combinations to satisfy hyperspecialized needs. Volute is a new marketplace business model and platform for education. Everything in Volute is a tool. This includes the navigation toolbar, the tools in the marketplace, and even the marketplace itself. Every tool can be swapped for another tool. Volute’s marketplace of digital tools creates a global learning network of tools that can be connected on-demand. These tools are authored, owned and shared by organizations and thought-leaders worldwide. Once shared to Volute’s Community Marketplace, tools can be used by anyone, anywhere on any device and seamlessly connect with other tools. There’s even a royalty model for tool owners. The aggregation of tools form personalized micro-courses, courses and programs.

This concept changes how we think about LORs. In fact, Volute is developing its own LOR to better manage tools as content. If tools are to become the new content, then LORs need to adapt. To make the point, consider an online course to include a PDF, PPT, a video link and a multiple-choice Word document. Instead, what if these were built as interactive tools, a gamified simulation of sorts, where the learner is engaged via digital controls. The learner is presented with a series of challenges using sliders, drag-n-drop features, and pathways to come to a solution. Leveraging the composability concept, a video tool can “talk” to a simulation tool, and an assessment tool. They “react” to the interaction of the learner.

The LOR then, needs to have taxonomies and meta-tagging appropriate for these tools. There are two phases to this challenge. Phase one is mapping standard content types to applicable tools in the Volute Community Marketplace. These mapped tools are more “transitionary” tools, wrapping content to provide behavior, composability and contextual relations between content. Phase two is the full morphing of content into the simulation type tools described earlier. This is already underway at Volute. Both tools types have their place and can cohabitate allowing for even more composability.

Volute is breaking new ground to support today’s educational demands and tomorrow’s learning needs. Volute is creating a standard by which tools can be connected and interacted with in a UI (User Interface) standardized fashion. Tools have further reaching implications in corporate L&D (Learning and Development). Since a tool is a standalone, behavioral digital asset, it can be embedded with powerful analytics capabilities to finally answer the ultimate question: Did this training actually work?

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