Project Summary
RELOAD: Reusable Learning Object Authoring and Delivery is a JISC Exchange for Learning, X4L Strand B Project.
The degree to which educational content can be reused and re-purposed depends on how it is stored, made available, and delivered to the academic user community. Existing learning technology interoperability standards are designed to ensure the reusability of educational content within different authoring environments, content repositories and delivery platforms such as virtual and managed learning environments (VLEs/MLEs). Emerging learning technology interoperability specifications, in particular IMS Simple Sequencing and IMS Learning Design, provide pedagogical frameworks which enable significantly more effective use of learning resources. These specifications are therefore relevant to the basis of the X4L Programme, which focuses on pedagogical outcomes. This project focuses on the development of tools that are based on interoperability specifications being developed by IMS, ADL and the OUNL.The primary aims of this project are to:

These aims will be achieved through the production of a suite of software tools for authoring and delivery standard-compliant learning objects incorporating comprehensive user guides and exemplar resources. RELOAD will:

The tools will be of significant value to the JISC and wider community, since they provide the crucial "missing link" which allows users to author and transfer learning objects, in specification compliant format, between authoring and design tools, local and distributed digital repositories, and VLEs.

Overall Approach
RELOAD consists of two strands of deliverables. The first strand focuses on developing a set of open source tools: Content Package Editor, Runtime Delivery System, and the Colloquia VLE. The second, smaller strand aims at producing User Guides and Exemplars for disseminating and integrating the project tools into the JISC community. Both strands of the deliverables will be implemented and made available in three main phases:
Working with the Valkenburg Group
The project will work collaboratively with the members of the Valkenburg Group, which is an international implementation community formed out of public and private organisations. It has a shared interest in EML, the basis of the IMS Learning Design Specification and in developing tools and systems tools to support its use - editors, repositories and runtime systems. It has agreed to define a shared set of interfaces that will allow both open source and commercial developers to work together to produce interchangeable components that will work together. The majority of participants were interested in developing open source Java implementations and the RELOAD partners fall into this group.

An initial framework has been developed at the system level to outline the main components (authoring tools, repositories and runtime systems and where the interfaces between them lie); and another more detailed set looking at the authoring tools. This proposes a number of modular 'editors' similar to the deliverables proposed under RELOAD, each enabling a smaller part of a learning design to be authored and which can be assembled according to need. These will plug into an engine that will translate their input into the required format (EML or Learning Design) and interface to the Repository. The input of considerable expertise from the group, particularly from the OUNL who developed EML and have already made several trial implementations of runtime systems, and of contributed open source software, will have a multiplier effect on the output of the this project.