Simplifying LRMI in schema.org

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Phil Barker

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Dec 12, 2019, 11:37:58 AM12/12/19
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Hello all

On behalf of the DCMI-LRMI task group I would like to let you know about some developments relating to LRMI (Learning Resource Metadata Initiative) properties in schema.org.

As you know it is possible to use the educationalAlignment property and an AlignmentObject to show how a learning resource relates to shared educational frameworks as an indirect way of expressing information about important educational characteristics (the AlignmentObect's alignmentType). All the feedback that we have to date indicates that this is overly complex and under used.

We have been considering this problem and over the last few months have developed a suggestion to address it by adding simple properties for some of the most common / most important relationships. This proposal will add the properties teaches and assesses to reference the competencies the resource is intended to help someone learn or assesses, and educationalLevel to reference the level of the resource in terms of progression through through an educational or training context. These properties are suggested for addition to CreativeWorks and EducationEvents. We acknowledge that there may be other properties that can be expressed directly, for example relating to prerequisites.  The educationalAlignment  property and AlignmentObject will be retained to catch the long tail of other types of alignment, but its use where there are direct properties should be discouraged in the future.

Today I submitted this proposal to schema.org as an issue and pull request that makes the necessary changes to schema.org. Perhaps the easiest way to view these is on our test-instance of the schema.org website: see

You can comment on these suggestions either here or on the issue I raised on github.

When pending any suggestions arising from the proposal to schema.org, these properties will proposed as additions to the DCMI LRMI Terms

Phil Barker, Chair DCMI-LRMI task group


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This email is sent to the lrmi Google group, which is used for general announcements and discussion of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative.

The DCMI LRMI task group is charged with defining and executing DCMI work on the LRMI family of metadata specifications and the related activities necessary to their stewardship and adoption.

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Hugh Paterson III

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Dec 12, 2019, 11:53:43 AM12/12/19
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If these metadata items are used. Then it should be specified if the sample syntax is to be used in addition to the alignment object when a data provider is also providing an alignment object. 

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Stuart Sutton

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Dec 12, 2019, 11:57:13 AM12/12/19
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Hugh, can you give me an example of what you mean?

Phil Barker

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Dec 12, 2019, 11:58:05 AM12/12/19
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Thanks Hugh. These proposals include statements that the educationalAlignment property and AlignmentObject "Should not be used where the nature of the alignment can be described using a simple property, for example to express that a resource teaches or assesses a competency." Does that cover what you have in mind?

Phil

Phil Barker

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Jun 30, 2020, 9:58:55 AM6/30/20
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Hello all.

I am somewhat late in writing this, but back in May the new properties we discussed in December last year were added to schema.org. These properties simplify and expand how schema.org can be used to describe learning resources and educational events.

The new properties are:

teaches: The item being described is intended to help a person learn the competency or learning outcome defined by the referenced term.

assesses: The item being described is intended to assess the competency or learning outcome defined by the referenced term.

These are added as properties of CreativeWork and EducationEvent, and can both be used with either a DefinedTerm or text as the value (or URL, which is an allowed value for any schema.org property).

In a related change, the domain of educationalLevel, (“the level in terms of progression through an educational or training context”), which was added last year for EducationalOccupationalCredentials was expanded so that it can also be used with CreativeWork and EducationEvent. It also can have DefinedTerms, text or URL as a value.

As well as providing a way of describing the educational characteristics of EducationEvents, which was previously not possible, these represent a simplification of how learning resources can be described. Previously in order to describe these characteristice one had to use the educationalAlignment property and an AlignmentObject with alignmentType property of “teaches”, “assesses” or “educationalLevel”. As well as being a somewhat complex indirect way of saying something simple, the use the AlignmentObject had the effect of hiding the availability of these important properties.

Having DefinedTerm as a value means that one can still describe the value as being from an educational framework, modeled as a DefinedTermSet, as one could when using various properties of the AlignmantObject. In fact there the improvement that you can provide a URL for the framework being used, not just the name of the target term and the name of the framework. There are some examples provided on the schema.org pages to show how to do this, here are a couple:

The educationalAlignment and AlignmentObject are still valid, and indeed are still the only means of describing some other educational characteristics of learning resources. However, going forward, we suggest you use the new teaches, assesses, educationalLevel properties where appropriate.

We will add these new terms to the DCMI LRMI namespace shortly, I hope, giving them a stable existence independent of schema.org.

Best regards, Phil

Phil Barker, Chair DCMI-LRMI task group


Notes:

This email is sent to the lrmi Google group, which is used for general announcements and discussion of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative.

The DCMI LRMI task group is charged with defining and executing DCMI work on the LRMI family of metadata specifications and the related activities necessary for their stewardship and adoption.

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