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Last modified: February 17, 2003
Shareable Content Object Reference Model Initiative (SCORM)

Note: Sometime in 2001 [?], the acronym "SCORM" became known as "Shareable Content Object Reference Model Initiative"; earlier it was given as "Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model Initiative." Both expansions are retained in this document.

[January 13, 2001] XML-based specifications supporting learning technologies have been developed by the Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model Initiative (SCORM) and distributed through the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative Network. Chapter 5 of the current SCORM specification presents the Course Structure Format. CSF is "an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based representation of a course structure that can be used to define all of the course elements, structure, and external references necessary to move a course from one LMS environment to another..." Description: "SCORM consists of three main sections: an Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based specification for representing course structures (so courses can be moved from one server/LMS to another); a set of specifications relating to the run-time environment, including an API, content-to-LMS data model, and a content launch specification; and a specification for creating meta-data records for courses, content, and raw media elements. The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a set of interrelated technical specifications built upon the work of the AICC, IMS and IEEE to create one unified 'content model'. These specifications enable the reuse of Web-based learning content across multiple environments and products. SCORM development teams are working with the standards groups internal and external to the Department of Defense (DoD). They are working closely with Educom IMS (Instructional Management System), a consortium of over 600 public- and private-sector organizations, to develop common guidelines and standards for ADL. They are also supporting the other Federal agencies (like the National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST) and other standards groups, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) and the Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC). SCORM standards enable small, reusable, sharable course content; discoverable learning content (interoperable repositories); the ability to find and move entire courses; vendor support for SCORM-compliant COTS products; and the development of adaptive learning systems that can assemble content to meet the learner's needs 'on the fly'. Compliance test software is under development and will be made available to all free-of-charge. Reference implementations are under construction. A sample LMS (Learning Management System), available for download, provides a very simple working example of course content and a learning management system that illustrates the use of the SCORM API, data model, API adapter and more. The .ZIP package includes source and executable code and a working sample course. The Course Structure Format is designed to be able to support any number of levels and can be self-describing as to your organization's curricular taxonomy (e.g., Course, Chapter, Unit, Learning Step, etc.). There is no 'one-size-fits-all' assumption in SCORM. For learning content to conform with SCORM, must it must use the SCORM Application Programming Interface (API); however, content is only obligated to support LMSInitialize() and LMSFinish(). SCORM conformance test software is available online and includes the ability to test content, LMSs, and more." [adapted from the ADL/SCORM FAQ documents]

CSF: "A course structure format defines all of the course elements, the course structure, and all external references necessary to represent a course and its intended behavior. This CSF is intended to promote reuse of entire courses and encourage the reuse of course components by exposing all the details of each course element. The CSF is intended to reduce or eliminate dependency of a course on a particular LMS implementation. The CSF is derived from the AICC content model for course structure, properties, and objectives. This model was chosen as a starting point because key components of course representation are defined in the AICC's Semantic Document v3.0 (CMI-Sem30.doc). One objective of this version of the CSF is to map the course structure, properties, and objectives in the AICC-defined tables into an XML format for Web applications. Another objective is to extend the CSF to include additional features such as referencing external IMS/IEEE metadata records. Thus, this CSF extends the AICC CMI practice to include new capabilities for Web-based content. The CSF describes a course using three groups of information. The first group, called globalProperties, is the data about the overall course. The second, called block, defines the structure of the course, and the third group, objectives, defines a separate structure for learning objectives with references to course elements within the assignment structure. ...Three of the CSF elements use the XML 'ID' and 'IDREF' attributes to uniquely identify other elements within the CSF. These are the block, objective, and au elements. These three elements are candidate targets for reference elsewhere within the CSF. XML requires that these attribute values begin with a letter and may otherwise be composed of letters, digits, hyphens, underscores, and full-stop characters. XML also requires the attribute value to be unique with the XML document (which fits the usage in this course representation). ID attributes may not have fixed default values, and only one attribute per element may be of type ID. It is assumed that the assignment of ID values will be automated within tools and LMS environments to ensure uniqueness..."

CSF Conformance Testing: "A CSF record is expected to be created from within an LMS or course-authoring environment. Within that environment, a course may have its own internal representation of course structure and its related elements. A conforming LMS or course creation environment is expected to map its internal representation to a valid CSF record (as defined by the SCORM CSF DTD). Similarly, a conforming LMS or authoring environment is expected to read and correctly interpret the SCORM CSF format and map the contents of the CSF to its internal representation as required. The course should then execute as intended. Conformance testing, therefore, focuses on testing CSF files that are generated by an LMS or authoring tool and verifying that the resulting CSF is able to be read and correctly interpreted by another LMS or authoring tool.. ...Conformance testing consists of verifying that a CSF record is valid (against the DTD) and adequate to represent a course, and that LMS or authoring tools correctly implement the basic mapping from internal representation to the intermediate CSF (and back again)."

SCORM background: "In 1999, the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) established the first of a series of ADL Co-Laboratories to test and validate new ADL technologies and provide a series of test bed projects for the emerging standards. ADL focuses on learning technologies that ride on top of emerging Internet standards. This, of course, is a challenge since the Internet is evolving rapidly. Nonetheless, the need to transition to a point where learning content is developed on a large scale is understood by many. This in turn requires standardization of learning content. The longer term expectation of ADL is to encourage technologies that enable so-called dynamic learning where content is custom-assembled and delivered to learners according to their own personal pace and need. During 1998, ADL observed that several organizations were developing a variety of draft standards, each of which affect different aspects of Web-based learning systems. These efforts, however, lacked a common framework. So, ADL developed the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) incorporating many of these emerging standards into one content model. Version 1.0 of SCORM was released on January 31, 2000."


  • Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative. "The US Department of Defense (DoD) and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) launched the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative in 1997."

  • SCORM Home Page

  • About SCORM

  • SCORM FAQ document

  • [February 17, 2003] "E-learning Hits Web Services Books. E-learning Standards Take Shape." By [InfoWorld Staff]. In InfoWorld (February 15, 2003). "As e-learning platforms and content evolve toward open standards, the capability to surface learning seamlessly within the context of enterprise applications and business processes is almost within reach. This idea of just-in-time, contextual learning is driven by pure-play e-learning technology vendors, such as Saba, Docent, and Plateau Systems, as well as platform vendors IBM and Oracle. IBM last month unveiled a new LMS (learning management system) consisting of e-learning components designed to connect to other applications and learning products. The J2EE-based IBM Lotus Learning Management System runs on WebSphere and DB2 and supports Web services standards SOAP and XML. The intent is to leverage Web services to embed e-learning functionality into business applications such as CRM and ERP, according to Andy Sadler, director of e-learning at IBM Lotus Software in Cambridge, Mass. Integration flexibility is gathering steam as most e-learning technology vendors move away from proprietary systems toward open standards, either by architecting new systems from scratch or adding support for J2EE or Microsoft .Net... With the foundation of an open architecture in place, the door is opening to Web services -- and the related capability to surface e-learning as events within other applications. Oracle recently introduced a Web services version of its Oracle iLearning platform. Version 4.2 leverages Web services for integration and bolsters analytics capabilities between systems. A forthcoming update to the product due mid-year will increase linkages between the LMS and the Oracle E-Business Suite, specifically weaving learning management into customer service and project management applications, according to Bill Dwight, vice president of learning management applications at Oracle, in Redwood Shores, CA... In addition to platform standards, e-learning content standards are also being hashed out. SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), first developed by the Department of Defense, is a set of specifications that aim to enable interoperability and reusability of Web-based e-learning content. A draft of SCORM Version 1.3 is under development. Oracle is spearheading an effort to standardize Web services for e-learning. The IMS Global Learning Consortium aims to provide standard Web service APIs to learning management functions, according to Oracle's Dwight. The charter for this new standards effort will be up for ratification vote later this month..."

  • [December 23, 2002] "E-Learning Lessons Learned. Standards Reduce Compatibility Problems." By Gail Repsher Emery. In Government Computer News Volume 21, Number 34 (December 16, 2002), pages 29-31. "... The Defense Department-inspired SCORM e-learning specification seems to be taking off... Federal requests for proposals increasingly ask whether electronic-learning products and services comply with the Sharable Content Object Reference Model, which lets content be shared and reused on multiple learning management systems, [IBM's David] Grebow said. 'With SCORM you can input content once and publish it in print, digitally, to a handheld device, to audio, he said. Content becomes usable by many people in many ways and places. That's when e-learning really takes off. SCORM's specifications were adapted from many sources. The first version of SCORM came out in 2000, and Version 1.3 is in development by the DOD-funded Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative. Version 1.3 will permit reordering of material based on factors such as student performance. DOD established the ADL Initiative in 1997 to standardize government, industry and academic e-learning specs. There are now three ADL Co-Laboratories for cooperative research, development and assessment of new learning technology. The labs are funded for fiscal 2003 with $14 million from DOD, said Bob Wisher, director of the initiative... Most proprietary e-learning systems can't talk to each other. But SCORM buyers needn't worry that their investments in courseware and learning management systems will be incompatible, said Wisher, who works at the ADL Co-Lab in Alexandria, Va. Also, vendors that conform to the spec can reach a larger market, he said. SCORM has increased government business for VCampus Corp. of Reston, Va., company officials said. 'SCORM lets us find other standardized content and grow our library. We've gone from a couple hundred courses to thousands,' said Tamer Ali, director of product management for the e-learning application service provider. The company has contracts with the General Services and Social Security administrations and the Veterans Affairs Department. About 25 percent of VCampus' business now is federal, compared with less than 3 percent two years ago, said Ron Freedman, vice president of government and security solutions. Corporate buyers are following the government's lead in requiring SCORM-compliant e-learning technology, others said. 'You may be out of business' if you don't follow SCORM, said Michael Parmentier, a principal of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. consultants in McLean, Va. Parmentier, former director of readiness and training at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, is a founder of the ADL Initiative... Many agencies want to share content, said Mike Fitzgerald, e-training project manager at the Office of Personnel Management. OPM manages a cross-agency training initiative, the Gov Online Learning Center. Since its July launch, about 40 agencies have signed up to train their employees via More than 30 free courses are available on topics ranging from project management to government ethics. In January, the center will make more courses available on a fee-for-service basis, Fitzgerald said. OPM requires commercial content to conform to SCORM and asks agencies that want to share custom content to do the same, he said'..."

  • [December 23, 2002] "Advanced Distributed Learning Emerging and Enabling Technologies for the Design of Learning Object Repositories Report." Version 1.0. By Dr. Thelma Looms (Principal Learning Technologies Architect, ADL) and Clark Christensen (Lead Software Engineer, ADL). Technical Repository Investigation Report. Released 2002-12-23. Completed November 26, 2002. 66 pages. "The ADL Initiative is preparing for a world where communications networks and personal delivery devices are pervasive and inexpensive, as well as transparent to the users in terms of ease of use, bandwidth and portability. ADL development envisions the creation of learning 'knowledge' libraries, or repositories where learning objects may be accumulated and cataloged for broad distribution and use. These objects must be readily accessible across the World Wide Web or whatever forms our global information network takes in the future. This report focuses on major standards for networked repository architectures and other important infrastructure technologies that may be useful for managing SCORM conformant content. It does not provide an authoritative view, but rather focuses on those elements most likely to be of interest in future development of a SCORM Repository Application Profile..." See especially section 4.2 on IMS Digital Repository Interoperability: "The IMS Global Learning Consortium is a specification authoring organization with headquarters in Burlington, Massachusetts. The IMS Digital Repository Interoperability (IMS DRI) model is the product of the IMS Digital Repository Working Group. The goal of the IMS DRI is to provide repository technology to support the 'presentation, configuration and delivery of learning objects.' The IMS DRI Version 1.0 Public Draft Specification was approved in August of 2002. The specification is comprised of three documents, the IMS Digital Repositories Interoperability Information Model which defines the information model, describes the core functions, IMS Digital Repositories Interoperability Best Practice and Implementation Guide and the IMS Digital Repositories Interoperability XML Binding..." Learning Objects Network IMS DRI Reference Implementation: "The Learning Objects Network (LON) has developed a reference implementation of the IMS DRI core functions. The LON proof-of-concept implementation was evaluated as part of the ARTI in the summer of 2002... the proposed architecture was developed in Python and Java and uses a Native XML database to store SCORM Meta-data. The architecture was designed for the following components: (1) a learning object registry, (2) a learning object repository, (3) an XML meta-data search engine, (4) a Client message broker... All the components interact with other components using a set of SOAP web services. The learning objects in the repository are identified using a unique identifier implemented using the IDF's Digital Object Identifier (DOI). The LON Message Manifest Specification [LONM02] describes a messaging API that supports the basic functions for a LON repository. The Message Manifest describes the structure and format of the messages exchanged by services within the repository and registry. Messages are defined for all the functions provided by the client and server components of the system..." [ADL source .DOC]

  • [December 23, 2002] ADL News: "ADL Releases the Technical Repository Investigation Report." - "The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative is preparing for a world where communication networks and personal information delivery devices are widespread, inexpensive and transparent to users in terms of ease of use, bandwidth and portability. ADL envisions the creation of repositories, or learning 'knowledge' libraries where learning objects may be accumulated and catalogued for broad distribution and use. These objects must be readily accessible across the World Wide Web or whatever forms our global information network takes in the future. There has recently been much effort to advance repository technologies. Current efforts in the development of repository standards and software are broad and varied, with players coming from nearly every major sector. This diversity of interest has resulted in an impressive number of competing standards and supporting technologies. ADL is aware of the important role repository systems play in facilitating content storage, delivery and reuse. Repository systems provide key infrastructure for the development, storage, management, discovery and delivery of all types of electronic content. SCORM content packaging, with its inclusion of mandatory self-descriptive meta-data, plays an important role enabling advanced functionality for repository systems. As such, SCORM packaging plays a key role in accomplishing ADL goals for e-learning interoperability and in advancing the repository state-of-the-art. Paul Jesukiewicz, Director of the ADL Co-Laboratory in Alexandria, has commented that: 'The ADL Repository Technical Investigation Report is the first step in a long process to get a handle on the various repository efforts that could contribute to a potential application profile for SCORM. We are in about the same place today with repositories as we were three years ago with LMSs. We look forward to continuing the investigation into repositories and hope to continue as a catalyst in bringing the various communities together.' The ADL Repository Technical Investigation Report summarizes a number of major specification and standards efforts that may affect future repository architectures and be useful for managing SCORM conformant content..."

  • [November 27, 2002] "SCORM Version 1.3 Application Profile." Working Draft Version 0.9. By the ADL Technical Team. November 27, 2002. 193 pages. Available from This document defines the SCORM Version 1.3 Application Profile. It is technical in nature and is meant for content developers, learning designers and learning management system (LMS) vendors. The document introduces the integration of the IMS Simple Sequencing specification, changes to the SCORM Run-Time Environment Data Model to support the integration of the IMS Simple Sequencing Specification and general clarification and cleanup. This document serves as a precursor to the SCORM Version 1.3. Note: The SCORM Meta-data XML Binding update is to be supplied; it is a work in progress and the current section [3.1.3] does not contain information at this time. See earlier versions. source from ADL

  • [April 04, 2002] "ADL and SCORM: Creating a Standard Model For Publishing Courseware. [SCORM Sets a Standard For Publishing Courseware.]" By Mike Letts. In Seybold Report: Analyzing Publishing Technology [ISSN: 1533-9211] Volume 2, Number 1 (April 8, 2002). ['Founded by the U.S. Dept. of Defense in 1997, the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative is a public-private partnership working to create the globally distributed learning environment of the future. Where do higher-education, medical and IT publishers fit in?'] "The U.S. Defense Department buys a lot of instructional materials. Working with academic institutions, standards bodies, private corporations and military suppliers, it is developing a Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) for reusable modules of learning content that it can use anywhere in the world. Far from playing the role of 800-pound gorilla, the DoD has adopted existing standards wherever possible. But it can't wait for the marketplace to perfect distance-learning technology, and publishers can't afford to ignore its purchasing power... Version 1.2 of the SCORM standard was released in October of last year, and version 1.3 will be released this month. One of the main reasons SCORM has been so readily adopted is that nearly all of the guidelines have been adopted from the various industry segments it serves. As John Purcell put it, 'SCORM is really nothing different from regular XML markup. The ADL cherry-picked the best pieces from these various organizations and wrapped it up. Taking popular and proven XML elements from various industries has been critical to SCORM's success.' In contrast with the way that most computer-based instruction is written today, SCORM demands that content be authored to stay independent from any larger contexts. A lesson on how to apply gauze bandages, for example, must be written in a way that does not depend on it following instructions for disinfecting a wound. By breaking instructional materials down into discrete, self-contained chunks, the DoD hopes to make it possible for its own staff to build customized curricula at a very detailed level... SCORM also requires content to stay independent from the software used to render it. This formal separation of content from software is consistent with the decades-old move toward SGML and XML in high-end documentation. But it is very different from most computer-based instruction materials, which are typically authored in a particular software environment. As a result, SCORM can be expected to spur development of XML-based authoring tools and e-learning systems. The uptake in the civilian economy will not be as explosive as it will be within the defense industry, but the safe bet is that SCORM will see widespread adoption among education publishers. The DoD isn't the only customer interested in SCORM, and publishers are already paying attention. Some publishers have already moved beyond the research phase to trial implementations. AAP and ADL now count approximately 20 SCORM-compliant pilot networks, which are allowing major education publishers to explore the potential ROI of learning objects. The Academic ADL Co-Lab at the University of Wisconsin is helping nearly 40 higher-education institutions evaluate SCORM-compliant tools and technologies. Despite potential roadblocks to SCORM adoption in the private sector, publishers need to take note of SCORM and the DoD's ADL initiative if they don't want to miss the boat..."

  • [October 01, 2001]   Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory Publishes Updated SCORM E-Learning Reference Model.    The Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory has announced a version 1.2 release of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM). The SCORM reference model with its XML bindings "defines a Web-based learning 'content aggregation model' and a 'runtime environment' for learning objects, providing a bridge from general emerging technologies to commercial implementations. At its simplest, SCORM is a model that references a set of interrelated technical specifications and guidelines designed to meet the US Department of Defense's high level requirements for web-based learning content, supporting content reusability, accessibility, durability, and interoperability. The goal is to leverage existing practices, promote the use of technology-based learning, and provide a sound economic basis for investment. SCORM originated as a program for information technologies designed to modernize education and training, and to provide cooperation between government, academia, and business through developmenet of e-learning standardization." The model has been developed in cooperation with several e-learning partners, including ARIADNE (Alliance of Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe), the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training [CBT] Committee, the IMS Global Learning Consortium, and the IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee. The version 1.2 release of CSORM "adds the ability to package instructional material and meta-data for import and export. These XML-based specifications provide a crucial link between learning content repositories and learning management systems. The new SCORM version incorporates the IMS Global Learning Consortium's Content Packaging Specification and expands it to include additional course structure capabilities." [Full context]

  • SCORM DTD 1.0

  • XML Examples - XML documents, taken (as examples) from Example LMS Code Version 2.0.

  • ADL Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model. Version 1.0. January 31, 2000. Editor: Philip Dodds. Comments to: 219 pages. Chapter 5 presents "Course Structure Format." CSF is "An Extensible Markup Language (XML)-based representation of a course structure that can be used to define all of the course elements, structure, and external references necessary to move a course from one LMS environment to another."

  • SCORM XML DTDs "This file includes the ADL Course Structure Format DTD and the IMS Meta-data DTD referenced within the SCORM Version 1.0." [cache]

  • [January 11, 2002] "XML Speak. Companies Tout XML For Fed Market." By Joab Jackson. In Washington Technology (January 07, 2002), pages 18-20. "'Government agencies are adapting extensible markup language to smooth the flow of information everywhere from Congress to the Pentagon. Anybody can manipulate XML documents on any platform, on any language whatsoever,' said John Taylor, marketing director for U.S. operations of Software AG... Harford County chose an XML-based solution provided by Netherlands-based Seagull. For $100,000, the county extended its database into the Web at a fraction of the cost of a new system. The county's approach is just one of many uses for XML, which government agencies are adapting to smooth the flow of information everywhere from Congress to the Pentagon. Launched in 1996, this open standard is being touted as the lingua franca of the computer world. In February 2001, the U.S. CIO Council created a portal ( that helps agencies use XML. In August, Congress, the Library of Congress and the Government Printing Office developed XML definitions to make it easier to track bills as they wind their way through Congress. Other XML projects are under way at the departments of Energy and Health and Human Services, and at the Patent and Trademark Office... Another company using XML to develop middleware is Vitria Technology Inc., Sunnyvale, Calif. In November, Vitria introduced its Value Chain Markup Language, an XML definition for purchase orders, invoices and other transactions that replace electronic date interchange specifications. The company is marketing this language to the Department of Defense's Collaborative Defense Department, an initiative to cut costs and improve response times by bringing commercial best practices to the department's logistics management. The new possibilities XML presents may go far beyond extending the life spans of legacy systems. A chief advantage of XML is that it provides the ability for developers to define their own tags that instruct applications how to interpret the data. The Defense Department developed an XML-based standard, called Sharable Content Object Reference Model, or Scorm, that allows e-learning content to be used across multiple end-user devices, The Army National Guard has used Scorm as the basis for its Distributive Training Technology Project, which will provide online, on-demand, multimedia e-learning materials to reserve members across the country in formats such as text and video.... Sebastian Holst, vice president of marketing for Artesia, said the key to the National Guard win was the upfront work the company already completed in XML. As a provider of enterprisewide digital management solutions, Artesia used XML to index media formats, ranging from sound files to video, banking that this open standard would be used widely in the future... With the National Guard contract, that approach paid off. 'We put in tens of millions of dollars of development for our digital asset management, and with very small incremental effort we had it speak Scorm,' Holst said..."

  • [May 08, 2001] "Pushing the SCORM Envelope. The Role of XML, Content Management Systems, And Dynamic Delivery in ADL-SCORM." By Jeff Larsen, Jeff Katzman, and Jeff Caton. Peer3 company white paper. December 12, 2000. 12 pages. "The Advanced Distributed Learning initiative (ADL) emerged this year as a focal point for eLearning standards. Its Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) 1.0 technical specifications gained widespread acceptance and implementation among government, commercial, and academic circles. SCORM represents the integration of all leading eLearning standards (AICC, IMS, IEEE, and soon Microsoft's LRN) to create a unified standard. SCORM seeks to enable reuse of Web-based content across multiple environments and products, as well as provide a means for individualized eLearning. The goals of ADL are laudable. By promoting a digital knowledge network based on reusable objects and individualized learning, ADL believes it can help reduce the cost of instruction by 30-60%; reduce the time of instruction by 20-40%; increase the effectiveness of instruction by 30%; increase student knowledge and performance by 10-30%; and improve organization efficiency and productivity. Further, the vision of ADL is consistent with that of many thought leaders in the eLearning and Knowledge Management industries - mainly, that true interchange of learning objects across disparate Learning Management Systems (LMS) will require adherence to accepted standards for describing learning taxonomies, course information, and course packaging. However, we believe that SCORM must address three fundamental issues before the goals of ADL can be fully realized. These issues can be posed as the following three questions: (1) Will XML be prescribed as the data format for learning content itself? (2) Will a standard methodology be specified for integrating Content Management Systems with Learning Management Systems? (3) Will dynamic delivery of content objects be supported? True reusability of learning objects requires a data format that separates content from its pre-sentation; this fundamental requirement is met by XML. Learning Management Systems (LMS) provide only part of the solution for eLearning; XML authoring, Content Management Systems (CMS), and dynamic delivery round out the technologies necessary to complete the ADL vision. As participants in the Technical Working Group for SCORM, Peer3 remains committed to supporting the ADL and the evolution of these important standards. Peer3 was the only vendor to present a commercially available eLearning solution for XML authoring, content management, and dynamic delivery at the first ADL PlugFest earlier this year. Now Peer3, in collaboration with other eLearning-oriented CMS vendors, is promoting the recognition of this distinct product category as well as changes to the SCORM that will result in open standards for XML-based eLearning content..." [cache]

  • [May 10, 2001] "The ADL Co-Laboratory Announces the Availability of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) Version 1.1 Conformance Test Suite for Plugfest 4." - "The Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory (ADL Co-Lab) has released the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) Version 1.1 Conformance Test Suite Version 1.1 (Self Test). The Conformance Test Suite provides organizations with the ability to perform self-testing on Learning Management Systems (LMSs), Sharable Content Objects, Content Structure Format XML documents and Meta-data XML documents to determine their conformance to the SCORM Version 1.1. SCORM Version 1.1 was released on January 16 after extensive interaction and agreement among international standards groups. The SCORM is the sine qua non enabler of an open-architecture specification and the foundation for large-scale development and implementation of ADL tools and content to meet the ADL fundamental requirements of interoperability, durability, accessibility, affordability and reusability. The ADL Co-Lab in Alexandria, Virginia will be sponsoring Plugfest 4 from May 30 to June 1, 2001 at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA) in Alexandria, Virginia. This will provide an opportunity for participants who have tested their products with the Conformance Test Suite to share experiences and contribute to the future developments of the SCORM. In a continuing effort to provide partners and others an opportunity to synchronize their products with SCORM, ADL provides an open invitation to those wishing to participate in Plugfest 4. This Plugfest will be the latest in a continuing series designed to synchronize development of commercial authoring tools, learning management systems and Web-based courses with the evolution of the SCORM open-architecture specifications. The ADL initiative is a collaborative effort between government, industry and academia to establish a common framework that permits the interoperability of learning tools and content on a global scale. The Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Department of Labor and the National Guard have established the ADL Co-Lab as a forum for cooperative research, development and assessment of new learning technology prototypes, guidelines and specifications. After extensive cooperation with the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc., the Institute of Electrical And Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training (CBT) Committee (AICC), and the Alliance of Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe (ARIADNE), ADL released in January 2000 SCORM Version 1.0. Over the past year, ADL has conducted several Plugfests with industry, academia, the military services and international standards groups to assess the viability of the initial SCORM specifications."

  • SCORM 'Quick and Simple Meta-data Generator Version 1.0.1'. "This file contains the ADL SCORM Version 1.0 Quick and Simple Meta-data Generator Version 1.0.1. This software is being provided to simplify and accelerate the process of writing ADL SCORM Version 1.0 conformant XML meta-data records. The Quick and Simple Meta-data Generator Version 1.0.1 is a web based tool that allows for the entry of course, content, and raw media meta-data information and generates corresponding XML meta-data records... The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) Version 1.0 Quick and Simple Metadata Generator Version 1.0.1 contains three separate metadata generator tools, each used for a separate and unique type of metadata creation. The purpose of the Quick and Simple Metadata Generator is to simplify and accelerate the process of writing ADL SCORM Version 1.0 comformant XML metadata records. A list of all metadata elements can be located in section 7 of the SCORM Version 1.0. The Metadata Generator Version 1.0.1 has been designed for use with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or later, and Netscape 4.0 or later. Support for other browsers is limited and has not been tested at this time." See the Quick and Simple Meta-data Generator Version 1.0.1 Readme file.

  • [January 09, 2001] "Public Draft Version 1.1 of the IMS Content Packaging Specification is Released." - "The IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. approved Public Draft Version 1.1 of the IMS Content Packaging Specification in December 2000. Learning materials described and packaged using the IMS Content Packaging XML format are portable between tools and systems that support the Specification. The Specification provides the functionality to describe and package learning materials, such as individual courses or collections of courses, into interchangeable, distributable packages. Content Packaging addresses the description, structure, and location of online learning materials and the definition of some particular content types. The ADL Co-Laboratory has plans to incorporate the IMS Content Packaging Specification into the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) Version 1.2. Public Draft Version 1.1 of the IMS Content Packaging Specification contains several changes suggested by ADL to help integrate the SCORM Course Structure Format into the IMS Content Packaging Specification. This will allow ADL to deprecate the existing SCORM Course Structure Format. ADL will integrate the ability to test content packages into its SCORM Conformance Test Suite for SCORM 1.2. IMS Public Drafts are released to permit public review and implementation testing of specifications prior to their final release. ADL is looking forward to continuing its collaboration with IMS." See "IMS Metadata Specification."

  • [January 13, 2001] "An Introduction to Metadata Tagging." By Harvi Singh (MindLever). December, 2000. From American Society for Training & Development (ASTD), and LearningCircuits. ['Get ready for the Dewey Decimal Classification system of e-learning.'] "Standards and specifications are becoming increasingly important for all aspects of e-learning, including metadata tagging. Leading the way is the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS), a nonprofit organization that includes more than 200 educational institutions, commercial entities, and government agencies. Its purpose is to develop and promote standards that define an open architecture for networking learning systems. In August 1999, the IMS announced a specification for metadata tagging that includes 19 core fields used to describe learning resources, ranging from author and cost to language. The IMS also identified XML (Extensible Markup Language) as the principal tool for creating metadata tags. It's not an official standard, but XML is quickly becoming the predominant tool for describing learning resources. Furthering the importance of the IMS specification, the Department of Defense has incorporated it into the SCORM (Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model) initiative. SCORM consists of DoD specifications that focus on the ability to deliver and track content from multiple sources... There's a core set of 19 recommended metadata fields, but metadata tags can be used to describe broad or specific types of information (the IMS has identified 89 fields). The scope depends entirely on each organization... Most organizations probably won't use all 19 core fields recommended by the IMS. A select few fields will curry the most favor within the instructional design community, including title, author, name, and language. Furthermore, individual markets -- such as information technology, trade associations, and so forth -- will develop unique metadata fields to better meet their e-learning needs. The availability of metadata tags is far from ubiquitous in e-learning products. As the industry continues its drive toward standards and specifications, the technology will be integrated into offerings from leading e-learning suppliers. As the volume of learning resources increases, the ability to search tags from a learning management system (LMS) will become standard. Repositories will emerge to store and manage learning content and metadata tags. Rather than "dumb" learning management systems that simply render content when requested, these repositories will facilitate two of the most important benefits of metadata tags: reusing learning objects and personalizing learning tracks. Standards-based metadata tagging will be the linchpin that enables interoperability between e-learning and knowledge management products. The technology is essential because it provides a consistent way to search for knowledge and learning objects in either type of system and add that content to a learning track..."

  • [July 16, 2000] "Searching for the perfect ... SCORM?" By Herb Bethoney In eWEEK (July 16, 2000). "Heeding Teddy Roosevelt's advice to speak softly and carry a big stick, the Department of Defense is stepping gently into the arena of e-learning while carrying its big contract-spending stick. According to market researcher IDC, over the next few years IT e-learning will become even bigger than the estimated $1.7 billion business it already is, based on sales of content and authoring tools and creation of customized courses and learning management systems. Recognizing the need for a cost-effective distributed learning management system that is consistent across an organization -- and even beyond its walls -- the DOD more than a year ago launched an initiative for an advanced distributed learning specification to improve employee performance and cut training costs. With diplomatic skill worthy of Kissinger, the DOD's Advanced Distributed Learning group gathered e-learning vendors, standards-setting groups, government and military trainers, and academics from around the country and formed the ADL specification group, with outstanding results. In fairly quick order, the group released Version 1.0 of its Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model, or SCORM, to enable learning management systems to reuse content and save the cost of creating the same material over and over again. The SCORM specification was designed to address the DOD's frustration with not being able to share distance learning courses among the different learning management systems deployed throughout the department. Last month, the DOD's ADL team conducted a successful test of the first version of the SCORM specification in Alexandria, VA., at the Institute for Defense Analyses' ADL Co-Laboratory Plugfest. Nothing motivates vendors like a lot of DOD cash, and we were pleasantly surprised that more than 90 organizations, including learning software developers and content providers from industry, government and academia, pledged support for SCORM. We saw numerous demonstrations of interoperability, and I can tell you this stuff really works... For the first time, content from different vendors' learning management systems was passed to other vendors' systems without a hitch. In fact, many of the vendors at the Plugfest said that they'll have SCORM-tested products ready in the next few months. The Plugfest also gave the DOD's ADL organization and the AICC, IEEE and IMS standards-setting groups the opportunity to discuss a unified e-learning specification that incorporates the four groups' work. The ADL Co-Lab also outlined its timetable for the availability of conformance test software and its plans for testing e-learning applications over the next few months."

  • [January 22, 2001] "XML: New formula for E-Learning." By Cheryl Gerber. In Federal Computer Week (January 22, 2001). "As the electronic-learning market matures, a growing number of vendors and federal agencies are embracing XML -- Extensible Markup Language -- to streamline the way e-learning software is built and handles information. XML provides a standard way to tag or mark up information, such as student data and course material, so that it is easy to read and exchange. Among its many uses, XML helps e-learning ven-dors develop applications faster, reuse course content more easily, and smooth data exchange between the Web-based courseware, or content, and the learning management system, which is the student administration system. It also allows agencies to make their e-learning systems more useful through tighter integration with other software, such as human resources management systems and e-commerce Web sites. Although surely gaining in popularity, the use of XML is still not universal in the e-learning market. And when it is used, it is not always done so in a consistent manner. For now, the lesson for agencies interested in using XML-enabled e-learning products is to understand clearly the benefits they want to obtain and choose products carefully to make sure they can deliver those benefits. Interior is waiting to buy a learning management system until it finds one that will work with the enterprise resource planning software from SAP Public Sector and Education Inc., which the department is in the midst of deploying. 'We want to use XML to link e-learning to employee records, to link training management to HR management,' said Ross Allan, a computer specialist at DOI University, Washington, D.C. Allan said he is also hoping to use XML to tie the department's bureaus together. Learnframe uses XML in three areas of software development, Gavin said. First, it is used to communicate a mapping of user requests to server-side requests. Second, it defines reporting queries, and third, XML is used as a data input and export mechanism. E-learning content provider SkillSoft, Nashua, N.H., began using XML in the past year. 'When we moved from our first-generation to our second-generation tool development, we changed the design to use XML internally instead of using old database formats,' said Mark Townsend, SkillSoft's vice president of product development. Sun Educational Services also embraced XML last year. 'We decided in the last six months to move from a proprietary format to XML to store user profile and personal preference information,' said Chuck Young, data architect for Sun Educational Services, Broomfield, Colo., and the Sun technical representative on the Instructional Management Systems standards board. The IMS Global Learning Consortium, run by Eduprise in Boston, originally developed the IMS standard from the academic community. It has been using XML for two years. Although most learning management system providers use the oldest e-learning specification, created by the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC), the standard gaining the most traction today is the Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model (SCORM), which is based mostly on XML. To encourage the widespread use of e-learning, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy developed SCORM three years ago. 'AICC has made it possible to use XML files, although it's a retrofit,' said Bryan Chapman, an e-learning analyst at, a research firm in Sunnyvale, Calif. The AICC standard 'doesn't take advantage of how XML is structured to show relationships and subrelationships in groupings. The standard existed long before XML was available. On the other hand, SCORM is centered around how XML is structured.' The SCORM standards group hopes its basis in XML will encourage not only cross-application but also cross-industry data interchange. 'We are trying to adopt in the e-learning world some of the successes we have seen with XML in the e-business world. It's a user-friendly, easy language for e-business transactions between suppliers and their customers,' said Jerry West, technical director at the Advanced Distributed Learning Co- Laboratory, the organization leading SCORM development."

  • "ADL and SCORM." By Kevin Cox. In Web Tools Newsletter. July 10, 2000. "In 1997 the Department of Defense in the USA initiated the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative. A major part of the initiative has become the development of a Shareable Course Object Reference Model. (SCORM). SCORM addresses the following problems: [1] Moving a course (including student information) from one learning platform to another (e.g., from WebCT to LearningSpace) [2] Creating reusable chunks of course material for use in other courses [3] Searching for course material The techniques used to overcome these problems are the same as other areas. It is the same idea as behind Microsoft's .NET. SCORM defines a standard way for defining and accessing information about learning 'objects'. Once you have a common language (standard) then systems that are built using the language can 'talk' to each other. How does it do it? It does it by defining the data and its meaning using XML. So far SCORM has defined: [1] an XML-based specification for representing course structures (so courses can be moved from one server/LMS to another); [2] a set of specifications relating to the run-time environment, including an (Application Programming Interface) API, content-to-LMS (Learning Management System) data model, and a content launch specification; [3] and a specification for creating metadata records for courses, content, and raw media elements. Conceptually XML is not too hard to understand. XML is an extension of HTML so that users can define their own tags for their own purposes. SCORM XML definitions are a set of Tags that define things about courses. If you have a choice of Learning Management Systems consider SCORM compliance in your selection criteria..."

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