New metadata model tailored for educational innovation

With The Archive for Education, we aim to make things just a little bit easier for teachers. They can find our partners’ high-quality audiovisual content on our educational platform, which they can then use to enrich their lessons, specially tailored to the classroom. But, for each image or audio clip to be easily discoverable, it’s essential that they are properly described. Enter: learning object metadata. Educational innovation in Flemish secondary education means the metadata behind the teaching materials on our platform needed revising. So, with support from VLAIO (Flemish Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship), we got to work.

Learning object metadata is used internationally to describe teaching materials, making them not only simple to find but also easily (re)usable. We’re very keen to take advantage of this for the image and audio clips, collections, bundles and soon also the assignments on our educational platform, The Archive for Education, and other educational platforms.


The increasing levels of innovation in secondary education have resulted not only in new educational objectives and learning outcomes, but also in the introduction of a lot of new concepts. In order for digital teaching materials on platforms such as The Archive for Education to evolve with this new reality, we had to thoroughly examine the underlying metadata. This was to ensure that:

  • teachers can always use the same conceptual framework to search, filter and find what they are looking for in an efficient and uniform way on different educational platforms; 

  • content can be exchanged between different platforms. 

Our role

At meemoo, we want to be a catalyst and initiator for innovation in education, and help to disseminate innovations to our users. With support from VLAIO, we have incorporated the new concepts introduced in educational innovation into a metadata model. We were primarily responsible for the content, while i-Learn took care of the technical side.

© meemoo


How did we go about it?

1. Content research

We started to investigate by conducting a lot of research and holding numerous discussions with various stakeholders in education so that we could map out all the information and new concepts. 

2. Introduction of themes

Then it was time for a thorough analysis: what is included in the educational objectives and leaning outcomes? And what do new terms such as key competences or building blocks mean? After that, we had to bring the essence of all these concepts together under one new umbrella term: the theme. By themes, we mean overarching topics about universal matters – such as literature, ecology, and norms and values – that are clear and usable for everyone. It is crucial that not only secondary school teachers but also university lecturers or part-time art educators can easily find relevant content on our platform.

A further advantage of themes is that they can stand the test of time. This therefore ensures that we are making The Archive for Education more resilient to future changes.

3. Subject list review

The list of subjects that we use on our educational platform, e.g. for filtering options or user account settings, also needed an update. Subject names and contents can vary per school, and the list we previously used was rather limited and outdated. To ensure the searchability and findability of the offerings on our educational platform, we decided to start following the Flemish Department of Education’s official and more uniform subject list (link in Dutch). 

The technical aspect

In addition to the content balancing act, the technical aspect is also important. Because how do you make all these terms and their underlying connections readable for a digital platform like The Archive for Education? We joined forces with the i-Learn project for this, as they were also interested in it for their educational platform, MyWay. They had the know-how required to find a solution for this puzzle we had set, and publish it in SKOS format (link in Dutch) (short for simple knowledge organisation system). This standard format makes it possible to make the hierarchies and underlying connections – for example between subjects and educational levels – machine-readable and interchangeable. Ready to use on the i-Learn platform and The Archive for Education, all in line with the meemoo metadata policy and compatible with our Knowledge Graph!

4. Migration and quality control

After we had finished working everything out and the underlying structure was in place, it was time to tackle the content on The Archive for Education. Since 2022, all the items there – over 25,000 of them – have been subjected to a quality control check at metadata level. This was a serious task, for which we were fortunate to have the helping hands of a number of dedicated temporary employees. They used our editing tool, which makes metadata tagging considerably easier, to add the new learning object metadata (the relevant themes and subjects) and the correct educational level to each item all at once. This tool also makes it possible to access the new metadata model (including all terms and underlying relationships) when describing an object in the meemoo archive system. This ensures our editors are easily guided to the correct metadata for each item, allowing them to work much more efficiently and effectively. For example, when they indicate an educational level and theme, they automatically receive a suggestion for one or more relevant subjects. 


This project was made possible with support from VLAIO (Flemish Enterprise & Innovation Agency). Other partners in this project include the Flemish Department of Education & Training, Digisprong Knowledge Centre, AHOVOKS, KlasCement and i-Learn.

Do you have a question?
Contact Leen De Bruyn
Project Leader & Account Manager Education
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