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New Sequencing specification imminent - Open Source tools to follow

Phil Dodds of ADL announced yesterday that a new specification for sequencing content would soon be released by IMS.

The new specification provides a means for designers to create an "activity tree" for a set of content, allowing for a number of behaviour, or "modes", to be encoded including user selection, conditional branching, and linear flow.

This "simple sequencing" specification, if passed by the IMS Technical Board, will then be adopted by ADL for SCORM 1.3. Dodds also announced that ADL would be providing open-source code modules that implement the specification "in a month or so".

Looking to the future, Dodds alluded to the work being done in IMS by the Learning Design and Simple Sequencing working groups to allow more complex behaviour to be modelled. For example, how learners might progress based upon "mastery, completion, and location" being mapped into a machine-readable format.

The announcement was made at the IMS Open Technical Forum, held at the MIT campus in Boston, and will be welcomed by the commercial and military training communities, who have been anxious so see these behaviours added to the SCORM profile. The specification development process was launched at last year's IMS Open Technical Forum in Ottawa as a "fast track" activity.

Many people in the Higher Education community are hoping this announcement will be followed by the planned IMS Learning Design specification, a more complex model allowing multiple pedagogical models to be implemented in a standardised fashion.

The IMS Technical Board votes today on the Base Document for the specification; if successful, the will be published on the IMS website.

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