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Reusable e-learning development (RED) is defined as the cloning, modification and customisation of existing files or source codes for developing another Web site or another Web-based application. RED does not imply just copying and changing existing files or source codes but rather, it provides a practical technique for time-saving, improving efficiency and maximising utility of existing resources for creating another Web site or another Web-based application. RED is particularly useful for a large-scale Web development, where there is an extremely high degree of overlapping of information, resources and Web designs. Therefore, RED has been widely adopted by many knowledge-based organisations (KBO). In order to investigate the impacts of RED on KBO, various case studies, practices and issues of awareness for KBO are presented and analysed. This paper particularly focuses on studies and recommended practices from the University of Cambridge. Results from these case studies reveal a number of outcomes as described below. Firstly, RED has increased work efficiency by decreasing the quality project completion period, on average by 2-3 times less than the estimated period. This is particularly true for the Department of Physics at the University of Cambridge (DPUC). Secondly, RED can accelerate the progress of large-scale software development and course development due to its cost effectiveness, reusability, scalability and open source characteristics, thus bringing convenience to IT developers, tutors, course developers and learners. Company A in Singapore has made use of this benefit for generating more revenues. The Department of Engineering at the University of Cambridge (DEUC) has made use of this benefit for developing a student-centred model of learning. Thirdly, RED has further integrated with face-to-face training workshops, thus creating a greater improvement on both learning processes and learning efficiency as illustrated by the case study of DPUC. However, there are two issues of awareness. Firstly, RED should not be over-used. If so, developers who over-deploy RED for many years may create a habit of over-relying on source codes. In addition, learners may suspect the accuracy of Web resources due to an extremely high degree of information and resourc- e overlapping. Secondly, it is difficult to trace those who have partially copied the resources: (a) the extent of resources being copied and (b) the extent of ideas being copied. These issues reveal that there are currently no definite guidelines for RED due to different policies and different practices in different organisations and in different countries. However, recommended practices and new standards should emerge due to the increasing implementation and awareness by growing numbers of organisations and practitioners.
Date of Conference: 28 June-1 July 2004