IMS Learning Design considers EML-IMS hybrid
Scott Wilson, CETIS staff
November 20, 2001

At the IMS Open Technical Forum in San Francisco last week, the IMS Learning Design Working Group reported the progress the group has made, including the consideration of a new integrated EML-IMS proposal.

Cisco's Chuck Barritt, co-chair of the Learning Design working group along with the University of Alberta's Katy Campbell, presented the status report at Stanford University on Thursday.

The Learning Design group is looking at ways to expand the IMS specifications to incorporate aspects of the learning process. The group intends to provide a specification that covers learning activities, how those activities are sequenced, and the environment that is required to support those activities,

To approach this task IMS is evaluating two existing models for learning design the CLEO Aggregation Model (CAM) and Educational Modelling Language (EML). So far the group has been applying these candidate specifications to see how they cope with learning scenarios submitted by IMS members.

Last week, Rob Koper of the Open University of the Netherlands submitted a proposal to IMS that incorporates both EML elements and existing IMS specifications. The IMS working group will be evaluating this proposal in its next set of meetings, and the group intend to release a Base Document in February 2002.

Before a specification can be developed, however, there are a number of issues the group needs to look at. Consistent with other IMS working groups, the Learning Design group is considering the use of behaviour as well as data representation: it may be necessary to provide a messaging or other behavioural model for the specification instead of or in addition to an information model. There is also the issue of licensing should EML be chosen as the basis for the specification.

Learning Design is an ambitious project for IMS, intended, according to Barritt, to define "how to codify a learning experience and not just objects". Thor Anderson of IMS commented that Learning Design is "a way to talk about activities, the roles of people in them, and the environment around them".

"Its larger in scope [than] other activities, like content packaging, [that] happen within it".

The February 2002 document should make very interesting reading, and it will be interesting to see how the family of IMS specifications in particular Learning Design, Simple Sequencing and Content Packaging converge as they mature.