How to use Reusable Learning Objects (RLO) and Open Educational Resources (OER)

RLOs and OERs offer educators the opportunity to embed pre-created applicable learning content directly into the course material. Their use is becoming ever more widespread as universities benefit from the advantages of both creating learning objects and repurposing existing material; enriching the student experience and impacting positively on recruitment, retention and progression within the institution.

Reusable Learning Object

An RLO is a digital learning object that can be reused to help facilitate and support learning activities.


There are many advantages of using RLOs and OERs to reinforce learning and engage students in the subject matter:

  • They are often freely available, online and at no cost.
  • Importantly they are reusable and negate any duplication of delivery.
  • Using pre-authored content can save time, enabling staff to focus on face to face contact with students.
  • Digital learning objects can be embedded directly into the institutional VLEs facilitating off campus and distance learning

University of Wolverhampton examples

Learning to Teach Inclusively – a multi media open access module for HE staff

The Learning to Teach Inclusively project ( will deliver a 30 credit ‘tailor-able’ module entitled ‘teaching inclusively’ that may be taken by teaching and support staff as part of an accredited professional development programme.

Each unit of the module will link directly to a new and existing body of OERs (including video clips of authentic inclusive teaching) located in JorumOpen. HEIs can access, tailor, reuse and add to the module, its units and the repository of inclusive OERs.

Law for Social Work – RLO embedded into a WOLF topic.

A WOLF topic can house a variety of different resources and this particular WOLF topic (Law for Social Work) has an interactive RLO embedded into its pages. The RLO was created by Social Care Institution for Excellence ( and consists of videos, audio, drag and drop questions, MCQ’s and much more. This RLO can now be accessed by all students studying the module, in a safe and secure environment such as WOLF. Ju Blencowe from the School of Health and Wellbeing is currently working with the creators of these RLO's in evaluating their effectiveness within the degree. The sole authors are Suzy Braye from University of Brighton and Micheal Preston-Shoot from University of Bedfordshire.

Essential Adult Clinical Nursing Skills.

The Multimedia Unit in the School of Health and Wellbeing is vital asset within the school, helping staff develop a variety of different assets and resources. The Essential Adult Clinical Nursing Skills RLO is accessible outside of the University network allowing clinical nursing students flexibility in their learning development. 

Technical Video tutorials - SAD

Dan Collins’ self-authored videos provide simple demonstrations of technical procedures relevant to photography students and are available on his ‘The Photo Technician’ Youtube channel and in the School of Art & Design Technical Hub Wolf topic.


The links below demonstrate the range of providers and the breadth of content available online - including everything from video tutorials and interactive Flash material to complete modular course content:

OER Catalogue

For further information download this list of OER sources (word doc- 83k - opens in a new window)


IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC) (2001) Draft Standard for Learning Object Metadata Version 6.1. <>

 Polsani, P. (2003) ‘Use and Abuse of Reusable Learning Objects’ in Journal of Digital Information, Vol 3, No 4 (2003) [Online] 2003 [last accessed 1st Feb 2011] Available from: <>