Learning Object Metadata Standard

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  • Learning Object Metadata (LOM) is a metadata standard to describe educational resources
  • The IEEE Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard specifies the syntax and semantics of Learning Object Metadata, defined as the attributes required to fully/adequately describe a Learning Object. Learning objects are defined here as any entity, digital or non-digital, which can be used, re-used or referenced during technology supported learning.
  • Learning Object Metadata is a data model, usually encoded in XML, used to describe a learning object and similar digital resources used to support learning. The purpose of learning object metadata is to support the reusability of learning objects, to aid discoverability, and to facilitate their interoperability, usually in the context of online learning management systems (LMS). ( [Wikipedia] retrieved 20:28, 3 July 2006 (MEST)]]
  • LOM is a double IEEE and IMS standard and it is integrated in IMS Content Packaging. You can use LOM to describe the package as a whole, but also individual elements.

History and version

  • LOM was a reaction to Dublin Core used by many repositories, e.g. by DSPACE. Dublin Core was judged to be too simple for adequatly describing learning resources.
  • Originally LOM was proposed by IMS, later it was taken up by IEEE and the IEEE specification was in turn adopted by IMS. Details are bit hairy, there are incompatibilities between older versions of different standards. Conceptually speaking, these differences are really minor, but a Content Package with slightly wrong entries may not validate, may break import etc. Some tools will choke on some versions, etc.
Version history
  • Adriadne (????)
  • IMS 1.2 (2001)
  • IMS 1.2.1 (2001)
  • IMS 1.2.2 (draft)
  • IMS 1.2.4 (2001, final 1.2x version)
  • IEEE 1484.12.1 (2002)
  • IMS 1.3 (2002). This version is equivalent to IEEE 1484.12.1. It is also adopted by SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004.

Inside LOM

There are 9 sections:

  • the General category,
  • the Lifecycle category,
  • the Metametadata category,
  • the Technical category,
  • the Educational category,
  • the Rights category,
  • the Relation category,
  • the Annotation category,
  • the Classification category

The educational category contains roughly the following elements:

Element Description
Interactivity Type

(IEEE 1484.12.1-2002)

  • active: Active learning (e.g., learning by doing) is supported by content that directly induces productive action by the learner.
  • expositive: Expositive learning (e.g., passive learning) occurs when the learner's job mainly consists of absorbing the content exposed to them.
  • mixed: A blend of active and expositive interactivity types.
Learning Resource Type

(IEEE best practice)

exercise, simulation, questionnaire, diagram, figure, graph, index, slide, table, narrative text, exam, experiment, problem statement, self assessment, lecture
Interactivity Level

(IEEE 1484.12.1-2002 but meaningful only in community practice)

very low, low, medium, high, very high
Semantic Density

(IEEE 1484.12.1-2002 but meaningful only in community practice)

very low, low, medium, high, very high
Intended End User Role

(IEEE 1484.12.1-2002)

  • teacher
  • author
  • learner
  • manager

(IEEE 1484.12.1-2002)

  • school
  • higher education
  • training
  • other
Typical Age Range (range)

(IEEE 1484.12.1-2002 but meanigful only in a context of a community)

  • very easy
  • easy
  • medium
  • difficult
  • very difficult
typical Learning Time open text element
description open text element
language standardized def.

Standards and software


  • IEEE LOM Data Model Standard (1484.12.1). This part of the LOM specifies a conceptual data schema that defines the structure of a metadata instance for a learning object. This corresponds to IMS Learning Resource Meta-data Information Model 1.2.1 and 1.2.2
  • IEEE LOM XML Binding (1484.12.3). This part of the LOM standard describes an XML binding to enable the exchange of LOM instances between conforming systems that implement the 1484.12.1 data model. This corresponds to IMS Learning Resource Meta-data XML Binding.


  • LOM is used by IMS compatible LMS. That means that LMS web-based editing ought to allow a user to enter metadata fields. Stand-alone software for authoring IMS Content Packaging compatible zip files that later can be imported into an LMS do have support for LOM (e.g. reload).
  • Sometimes, LOM is also used by stand-alone learning object repositories. Metadata are mostly entered separately from the learning object (e.g. through a web form), although DSchneider can imagine that some repository sofware also ought to able to read an IMS content package and extract the information.
  • LomPad made by LICEF. It's a standalone Editor (multi-platform Java based, Win installer available)