Open Learning objects, freeLOms and the SLOOP Project: a new perspective for an effective use of digital resources (2006)

The OECD 2007 Report "Giving knowledge for free: the emergence of open education resources" highlights the importance of "open educational resources" for education and training.

The term "open" refers to free resources for education. Moreover, the concept of "open" includes the possibility for professionals to modify and shape resources according to the context to make them pedagogically effective. Finally this concept refers to the adoption of ad hoc mechanisms for the protection of intellectual and economic property connected to the use of such resources according to the current legislation.

The OECD report points out that the ever growing number of schools and universities in Europe and across the world that share open digital educational resources through the internet has not been sufficiently supported at national level.

The CNR Institute for Educational Technology-ITD has been carrying out research work on Open Educational Resources within the Leonardo da Vinci EC project with the following outcomes:
- the design of an Open Educational Resources model in accordance with international standards adopted by Italy with reference to online learning, e.g. SCORM;
- the implementation of the FreeLOms portal for the management of Open Educational Resources.

Specifically, the portal enables supplies teachers with the following facilities:
- sharing educational contents produced in different environments;
- designing open educational resources in a collaborative way;
- structuring and making contents available, e.g. through CDs and files and making them visible/accessible to specific groups of users.

Such function could also be used to create a specific area of resources from publishers accessible by registered users. FreeLOms allows users to manage metadata through the IEEE LOM standard and guarantees the compatibility with standard SCORM complaint LMSs also for non standard e-learning compliant resources that can be easily transformed into standard SCORM Learning Objects.

FreeLOms was presented at the Open Learn Conference at the Open University (Milton Keynes, 2007), a major event in the field. It certainly is a major reference in Europe and the only one in Italy able to compete with those American institutions that initiated the movement on Open Educational Resources, i.e. the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with the OpenCourseWare Initiative; the Rice University with the Connextions repository; the Carnegie Mellon University with the Open Learning Initiative and finally the Utah State University with the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning.

The FreeLOms platform is available at
e-mail: SloopGroup(AT)