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Tools for implementors

image:Tools for implementors

A good way to get an understanding of standards and specifications in eLearning is to try using them - and for that you need some tools to work with. Thankfully, there are other universities and colleges doing exactly the same thing, and have built their own toolkits you can use to get you started.

Nothing puts you off specifications like creating XML files by hand. Surely the whole point of standards is to reduce workload and increase automation? Well, this depends largely on the maturity of the tools you can work with that implement the standard.

We're still in the early days of IMS and SCORM adoption, but there are a few simple tools available to make life a little easier. Many of them are even free!

Below are some tools for working with IMS and other specifications, such as packaging content, building QTI assessments, and other tasks you may want to accomplish.

I've concentrated here on tools useful to implementers and developers; I haven't included any "end user" applications such as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and content creation packages that support the specifications; but you can find those in the directory.

If you know of anything else useful, scroll down to the bottom of this article and tell us about it!

General tools

XMLSpy
For those times when you absolutely have to hand-crank that XML file, you could do worse than XML Spy. It also has a very nifty Schema Viewer that allows you to browse an XML Schema visually:

The IMS Content Packaging specification, XMLSpy-style

SCORM

SCORM Compliance Self-Test Suite
ADL provide this downloadable tool to check that your content complies with SCORM.

IMS Content Packaging and Metadata

Microsoft LRN Toolkit 3.0
The LRN Toolkit is Microsoft's free downloadable kit for building content packages, and supports SCORM and IMS Content Packaging.

PackageIt!
PackageIt! is a content packaging tool developed by the University of Wales, Bangor. Supports IMS Content Packaging and IMS Metadata.

IMS Content Package Editor
This editor was developed by the University of Edinburgh, and supports both IMS Content Packaging and IMS Metadata (including IEEE LOM vocabularies). A future release will also support SCORM (and prompt a change of name for the program!)

The editor is available as a free download from the university website.

SeSDL
Although primarily a repository of learning objects, the Scottish Electronic Staff Development Library allows you to upload content, tag it with IMS Metadata and then download it in an IMS content package.

WebCT Content Migration Utility
This utility allows content to be imported and exported from WebCT in IMS content packages. I believe this tool is somewhere on the new WebCT website happy hunting!

Assessment

IMS Assesst Designer
This is a commercial IMS QTI editor from Russian developers XDLSoft.

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