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Changing the structure
For assistance with Toolboxes and Learning Objects, contact the
National VET E-learning Strategy
You've discovered that learning objects are easy to find and download, but what if they aren't 'quite right'? This section will show you how to get started with basic customisation.....in other words,
them to better fit your needs.
Basic principles of customising a learning object
A learning object is a complete 'package'....and in fact they are often called IMS or SCORM packages. A learning object is actually a
of files which are bundled together with built-in navigation, all ready for use in the classroom, or uploading to a learning management system (LMS). Most also come with a 'viewer' which means they can be used outside of an LMS within a browser....which means you could simply burn them to a CD for your students, or put them on your organisation's network.
When you download a learning object it comes to you as a zipped folder with all the files neatly packaged inside. If you want to upload them into your LMS, you leave them all zipped up so that they install all together, with everything in the right place. That part is easy.
BUT......what if you want to change something?
Detailed instructions can be found within the
section, however it is helpful to understand the
of what needs to be done, and how it works. This is 'customising' in a nutshell:
The learning object must first be 'unzipped' so that you can access the separate files and pages.
Then you need to find the page (or pages) which you want to change.
You make your changes by using html editing software (see Tools below)
Finally, everything needs to be 're-packaged' into a learning object again, and for this we use 'reload software' (also in the Tools section)
Learning objects are not difficult to customise....you only need to understand how the process 'works', and have a couple of (free) tools on hand. :-)
What tools will you need?
Before starting to edit your learning objects you will need to have:
Software to edit the pages in your learning object -
a html editor
Software to 'put it all back together again' -
The following tools are recommended (and used for the video demonstrations in this resource):
a free web page editor (to make the changes). Download it from
VET Reload Tool
(to repackage the customised files). Download it from
If you have your own favourite web page editor and you know how to 'drive' it (eg Dreamweaver, Xara etc) then use that....Kompozer is only suggested as it is freely available and is relatively simple to use. Other options can be found at either:
The 10 Best Free Web Editors for Windows
The 10 Best Free Web Editors for Macintosh
Exploring your learning object
Your downloaded learning object will be in the form of a .zip file. The zipped folder contains all the separate files which make up the learning object, all 'zipped' together.
The following is a step-by-step guide to unzipping the folder, taking all the files out, then finding the ones you need:
There is also a video demonstration at the bottom of this page.
Create a new folder (perhaps on your desktop or in a location where you can easily find it).
Go back to your zipped folder...RIGHT click...then select 'Extract all' (or similar, depending on which operating system you have on your computer).
You will be asked for the location where you want it extracted to....select your new, empty folder.
Open your new folder containing the unzipped files
Find the one called start_here.htm.....and double-click on it. It will open in your browser.
NOTE: If you get an error message saying that your browser can't find the file, this is usually because you haven't unzipped the folder first...see step 2 above.
Explore your learning object, noting where you need the changes and the name of the page that requires customisation. Depending on which browser you use, this process may alter slightly. Here are the instructions for a couple of commonly used browsers:
: RIGHT-click in the middle of the page that needs to be changed - select
, then note the web address.
RIGHT-click in the middle of the page that needs to be changed - select
View Frame Info
...then note the web address
7. In the window that comes up, you will see a web address which will look something like the one above. It won't be exactly the same because it will be showing where the file is on
computer. You are looking for the name of the page and in this example the name is
the names of the pages which require customisation. You'll need this information to hand for the next step.
This video demonstrates the above process:
* Note that the method used in this video to obtain the name of the page is slightly different to that described in the steps above, but the outcome is identical.
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