Learning Trajectories and repositories

What are Learning trajectories and how can they technically implemented using web3.0



In this article Learning Trajectories or Learning Pathways are described and possibilities for technical implementations are discussed such as vocabularies, Resource Description framework (RDF), linked and open data and semantic web or web 3.0. Based on technical requirements several standards are presented.

This article is based on the presentation: Strijker, A. (2010-10-06). Learning Trajectories and repositories. EdReNe, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Why Learning Trajectories

Learning Trajectories or Learning Pathways are used to specify global curricula or international curricular frameworks. In most cases the core objectives curricula are too general. Using simplified intermediate objectives in Learning Trajectories, teachers, publishers and educational developers can be supported in developing course materials and decisions about:
  • Content
  • Learning objectives
  • Sequence
  • Planning

Other functions of learning trajectories

Besides specifying the global curricula, learning trajectories can have other functions. Learning trajectories can be used for functions such as:
  • Coherence in courses
  • Continuity, consistency
  • Organisational aspects, planning
  • Differentiated education
  • Personal learning guidance 
  • Individual learning plan
  • Supporting an education approach

What is a Learning Trajectory

A learning trajectory is defined as:

A learning trajectory is a reasoned structured set of intermediate objectives and content leading to a certain core objective.

Depending on the exact function, context and audience curricula vary in the extent to which different implications for curriculum elements are developed.

This definitions is based on the dutch description of leerlijnen (SLO, 2010[1])
The following curriculum elements are described by Thijs & van den Akker (2010[2])



Why are they learning?


Towards which goals are they learning?


What are they learning?

Learning activities

How are they learning?

Teacher role

How is the teacher facilitating their learning?

Materials and resources

With what are they learning?


With whom are they learning?


Where are they learning?


When are they learning?


How is their learning assessed?

The curricular spider web

The curriculum elements are strongly related to each other. The following figure visualizes the relation between the elements and in the middle the rationale as central core.

Different levels of Learning Trajectories

Learning trajectories can just like curricula be developed for different educational levels. Several examples are available such as:
  • European level - Common European Framework of Reference: Learning, Teaching, Assessment (COE, 2010[3])
  • National level - Cross level learning trajectories Math, Dutch language(Taal en Rekenen, 2010[4])
  • School level - Supporting educational approach
  • Student level - Monitoring progress

Learning Trajectories model

The objectives and there relation can be visualized as following. Several intermediate objectives can lead to a core objective. Different trajectories can lead to a core objective.
Objectives and there relations

The objectives are always related to content. In the following figure these relations are visualized.
Learning trajectory model

Using learning trajectories for developing learning material requires the coupling to learning materials. The following figure shows the relation between learning trajectory and learning materials.
Learning trajectory coupled to learning materials
In this figure it becomes clear that learning materials are related to the actual content, but also to a certain objective are level of learning

Structures in learning trajectories

Curricula can be structured in different manners. In the following example one topic chosen and the cognitive level is increasing.
Example of structure with increasing cognitive level

Another example shows a structure based on several topics covering a more general topic.
Example of structure with a topic covering several subtopics

Learning Trajectory properties

The following entities can be identified when learning trajectories are described.
  • Core objective
  • Intermediate objective
  • Content / topic
  • Structure
  • Relations
  • Sequence


  • Title
  • Description
  • Context
  • Didactical approach
  • Reference level
  • ..LOM

Vocabularies and relations

For educational use several vocabularies are developed in the Netherlands. Collections of vocabularies can be found at the vocabulary bank at SLO (2010a[5]) and Kennisnet (2010[6]). Most vocabularies are developed to be used in the Learning Object Metadata (LOM[7]) standard.
  • Existing Dutch vocabularies
  • LOM (Learning Object Metadata)
  • Standard available set (CZP), Vdex
  • Education (primary, secondary, higher, vocational)
  • Levels (1,2,3..)
  • Age (8..12 Yr)
  • Core objectives
The following figure shows how vocabularies and relations can cover a learning trajectory

New Dutch vocabulaires

Not all vocabularies are available at this moment. The project “Kerncurriculum” (SLO, 2010b[8]) is working on a set of topics for each subject in secondary education that can be used in the future to develop vocabularies. To cover the whole dutch curriculum several vocabularies need to be developed such as:
  • Intermediate objectives
  • Core content topics
  • Language, Math
  • Relations
  • Didactical approach
  • Reasoned structure

Technical Requirements

  • Interoperability repositories
  • Lifecycle
  • Tooling
  • Machine readable
  • Standards
  • Flexibility
  • Complexity


  • IMS – Vdex (Vocabularies)
  • IMS – Rubrics 
  • IMS – Packages / SCORM
  • SCORM Simple Sequencing [9]
  • RDF – Resource description framework[10]

Linked data

Linked data [11]

SLO as data provider

  • Learning Trajectories as Relations between
  • Vocabularies
  • Core objectives
  • Intermediate objectives
  • Discipline topics  / content
  • Learning resources
Possibilities of Learning Trajectories?
Vocabularies vs Linked data?