LRMI, and Educational Alignment
The primary purpose of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) is supporting end-user search and discovery of educational resources. The focus is on human discovery using search engines, not machine discovery.
The project will create a metadata extension that builds on the work of Schema.org, the recently-announced Bing/Google/Yahoo! project to develop and encourage use of metadata vocabularies that can be used to enhance search results. LRMI has the support of the open educational resources (OER) community and education media publishers (textbooks, software, services).
“There is growing evidence regarding how mainstream metadata conversations have become,” according to a Voice from the Industry column by Dave Gladney in the April 4 EdNET Insight. Gladney, LRMI Project Manager for the Association of American Publishers PreK-12 Learning Group, points to encouraging results from a recent LRMI survey and suggests that if readers haven’t yet climbed aboard the metadata bandwagon, now is the time.
Gladney cites these findings from a soon-to-be-released LRMI survey that was conducted among educators and publishers in February 2014:
- More than four out of five publishers surveyed (82.5%) were aware of metadata tagging initiatives.
- Nearly 6 in 10 publishers (58.1%) currently tag or describe their resources with metadata.
- More than half (55.6%) of those not tagging plan to start within the next year.
Touted as the LRMI’s “killer feature,” Educational Alignment remains one of the specification’s hottest properties. In surveys of both educators and publishers, alignment consistently shows up as one of the top “filters” respondents believe would most aid online search for learning resources, along with content area and age/grade range.
Why is being able to search for resources based on alignment so important? Basically, the alignment property allows content creators and curators to show how a particular learning resource aligns with specific national or state standards, as well as other curriculum or educational frameworks. With the Common Core State Standards ramping up in many U.S. states and with states beginning to adopt the Next Generation Science Standards, being able to easily identify learning resources that align to these standards (and others) becomes increasingly important. The LRMI Educational Alignment property makes this possible.
Last June, at an LRMI workshop in Washington, one breakout session focused on “Taking Advantage of LRMI’s Killer Feature”—that feature being Educational Alignment. To learn more, read this LRMI blog post, which also includes links to three separate slide presentations covering various topics related to alignment.
Today, alignment remains one of the most-discussed aspects of the LRMI specification. An article posted to the Cetis (Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards) blog on March 6 by Phil Barker focused on “Explaining the LRMI Alignment Object.” Cetis was recently commissioned by LRMI co-leader Creative Commons to help manage the third phase of the project.
Barker’s blog post not only explained the concept of alignment, but also discussed practical use cases, described common mistakes in usage of the Alignment Object property, and provided real-world examples of alignment assertions. Barker’s post also stimulated comments on the discussion page of the LRMI website.