Repositories and Communities at Cross‐purposes: Issues in Sharing and Reuse of Digital Learning Resources

Anoush Margaryan, Allison Littlejohn

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Globally, institutions are setting up digital repositories to support the sharing of resources for teaching and learning. The educational rationale is that a single set of resources can be restructured to support different pedagogical approaches and to achieve economies of scale. A key problem is that these learning object repositories (LORs), like many other learning technology innovations, are often designed to exploit the capabilities of technology rather than to meet learners' needs. The premise of this study is that the nature and organization of a community is likely to impact the way an LOR is used. Key dimensions of repositories and communities are discussed. Three repository systems are analysed to identify how communities use repositories. Guided by Activity Theory, the LORs and user communities are analysed as activity systems. These activity systems are compared and contradictions between them are identified. From the analysis, barriers and enablers for the use of LORs to support learning are discussed and a framework for addressing the key issues in the repository development stage is proposed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)333–347
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Activity systems
  • Activity Theory
  • Learning communities
  • Learning object repositories (LORs)
  • Phenomenography
  • Socio-cultural issues in technology use

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