E-learning standards lag
- By Cheryl Gerber
- Jul 17, 2000
As the e-learning market takes off, so does the need to build standards
that will integrate products in blended technology environments.
There is no standard for integrating World Wide Web-based, asynchronous
e-learning programs with live, synchronous virtual classrooms. Within the
asynchronous realm, however, there are a number of specifications to link
learning management systems with courseware, though none of them work together.
Those Web-based specifications have emerged from the aviation industry,
academia, the Defense Department and, more recently, from Microsoft Corp.
The Aviation Industry Computer-based Training Committee (AICC) specification
doesn't work with the Instructional Management System, originally from
academia. And neither works with DOD's Advanced Distributed Learning Sharable
Courseware Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification or Microsoft's Learning
Those behind Microsoft's LRN and DOD's SCORM are attempting to build
a bridge between the two other specifications — IMS and AICC. However, many
distance-learning content vendors want to make sure resulting specifications
aren't so restrictive that they prevent features innovations from moving
forward, according to Brian Rouwlett, vice president of engineering for
the National Education Training Group Inc., Naperville, Ill.
Even individual implementations of one specification do not guarantee
that distance-learning products will work together. "The standards are
broad enough so that two vendors could both say they were AICC-compliant
but not work together," Rouwlett said.
IBM Corp. resolved the problem by layering an implementation of one
specification on top of another in its LearningSpace 4.0 product (formerly
Pathware), released in May. "We built an [Advanced Distributed Learning]
implementation on top of an AICC implementation," said Dennis Careri, senior
director of product development for IBM Mindspan Solutions.