The infrastructures we use for developing, finding and combining learning objectsinfluence the usage of the material - inflexible frameworks will not support flexiblelearning. For this reason, it is essential to consider the pedagogical consequences of thedesign of the technical frameworks that are used in e-learning systems. Much of thecurrent work in e-learning technology targets learning objects stored in LMS (LearningManagement System) applications and/or in other centralized servers, often of verylarge scale. Even though standards such as IEEE LOM increase the interoperability ofsuch systems, they are still mostly information islands. Cross-searching of repositoriesis not a reality. It has even been said that the Web is still in the "hunter-gatherer phase"with respect to searching. This is certainly true for learning objects. We have not yetreached the goal of a global e-learning society. In addition, many institutions arereluctant to give up control over their learning resources. This is problematic for manycentral-server based methods of learning resource sharing, (e. g., e-learning "portals".)Such portals are costly and difficult to maintain.Edutella takes a different approach. It is one piece in an e-learning infrastructure with adecentralized vision. By encouraging sharing among small-scale content repositories,anyone can participate in the exchange and annotation of e-learning resources. Byallowing anyone to participate, the learner is given more control over their learningprocess, leading us one step closer to the dream of a learner-centric educationalarchitecture.Edutella is a peer-to-peer (P2P) network for exchanging information about learningobjects (and not for exchanging content). It is built with semantic web technologyapplying the latest P2P research. This chapter will discuss the technologies that makeEdutella possible, explaining the vision and importance of the project, and howapplications can use it.The Edutella project is being developed by a number of institutions - among others: theLearning Lab Lower Saxony, the KMR Group at KTH, the Uppsala DatabaseLaboratory, Stanford Infolab, AIFB at University of Karlsruhe, and the UNIVERSALproject - and it is still expanding. The latest developments can be found athttp://edutella.jxta.org.
New York: Falmer Press , 2004.