Creating Digital Learning Objects for Use in Large Lecture Classes

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Large lecture classes sometimes fail to provide an informal approach for students to “practice” what they’ve learned, or delve deeper into materials that are not in the textbook. There is currently no textbook that addresses the systematic study of micronutrients, and therefore, researchers from Virginia Tech, James Madison and George Mason Universities are developing a freely accessible online Digital Learning Object (DLO) for the study of micronutrients in body systems. Links to scientific research articles, government Dietary Reference Intakes and other web-based factual information will be provided through the DLO. Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in vitamins and minerals courses across three institutions will serve as the control group (no exposure to DLO) in 2014 and treatment groups (exposure to DLO) in 2015. The presentation will address the design of the DLO and provide results from year one regarding learning styles and student interest in and perceived utility of DLOs. The discussion will address how to begin developing a DLO, and how it can address learning objectives in large classrooms. As a DLO can be applied to various subjects, this session will be of interest to faculty from many disciplines, as well as instructional designers and administrators.