This article presents the research-based design process that have informed authoring and sharing via LeMill, an open learning object repository and collaborative authoring platform. As of October 2009, the platform supports 8,500 reusable learning resources and 7,500 members. LeMill’s licensing scheme encourages collaborative reuse and remix of content for quality. Accordingly administrators have made a special effort to address technical jargon, complicated forms, multicultural, and multilingual concerns for users.
The researchers refer to their method as “research-based design with software as hypothesis,” noting that users are capable of creating meaningful navigation of the tools among which they are immersed, and, furthermore, that these same users can seldom identify the software tools they need before use. Four iterative phases in a cyclical model define the research-based design method: contextual inquiry, participatory design, product design, and production of software as hypothesis.
Results of this article primarily offer critical understanding and justification of LeMill design choice, which is certainly valuable and ripe for emulation. The method they use assists designers in scaffolding user behavior. Further study that compares byproducts of this design/research methodology with the interactive spaces brought forth by others would be interesting.