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Many problems must be overcome before we can expect widespread reuse and sharing. Learning tends to be highly contextual, and context is not as easy to disseminate as data alone. The specialized nature of learning resources sometimes requires specialized formats and specialized software to interpret them. Interactive resources seem harder to break up into smaller components than those consisting solely of text and graphics, making them less convenient to reuse than a book. Validity and trustworthiness are important issues for educational material, militating against the emergence of peer-to-peer educational file sharing networks. The simple metadata (title and author) and full text searches that seem adequate for searching and discovering entertainment and news content may not suffice for educational content. There are also elements of the academic and educational cultures that discourage a high degree of reuse. However, we should not be discouraged. The concept and potential value of reuse is clear to most educators, and there are no fundamental technological barriers to reusing and repurposing educational content. Furthermore, there are reasons to believe that increasing the reuse of digital learning content will have a positive effect on quality and access. That does not mean that reuse will occur without taking any proactive steps, but it does imply that there is value in digging deeper into what makes reuse easier. This collection provides resources (such as copyright guidelines) and a checklist of elements to consider for reusable design.


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