Have trouble finding educational resources online? You’re not alone. Thankfully, the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) is trying to change that.
In April 2012, the LRMI surveyed educational publishers and resource providers about the online visibility of their content and products.
The majority of publishers (87%) viewed online visibility as “essential” or “important” to their sales and marketing, yet more than half stated that their customers find it “difficult” or “somewhat difficult” to find their content and products online.
A parallel survey of educators revealed similar frustrations with online searches. In addition, educators agreed with publishers that the most important search criteria for educational resources are (1) content/subject area, (2) grade level and (3) standards alignment.
Sandra Schugren is general manager of EdGate Correlation Services, a company that not only helps publishers align standards, content and curriculum, but also offers an online portal called Curriculum Matrix™to help teachers find standards-based lessons. She knows firsthand how important it is that educators be able to locate quality resources for the classroom. “The move to digital curriculum is driving the enhancement of search capabilities to find content that is relevant, in context and aggregated more effectively for teacher use,” said Schugren.
The LRMI survey also indicated that nearly two in three publishers would be likely to implement a new standard for tagging online educational content if that would help educators to find those resources.
Data from the survey will help inform implementation of the project’s recently published metadata framework, which aims to help students, educators and parents search for and access educational resources online with greater accuracy and efficiency.
“By developing a uniform way to construct metadata and also capture other search ‘paradata,’ LMRI is paving the way for teachers to migrate more easily from print to electronic resources that can be far more targeted for each student in their classroom,” Schugren explained.
The Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) project—led by the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation—is working to make it easier to publish and discover quality educational content and products online.