ADL release new implementation guide, conformance test suite almost final version 1.3 of SCORM
Wilbert Kraan, CETIS staff
December 02, 2002

Just ahead of the forthcoming plugfest, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) release a new implementation guide of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), as well as an updated conformance test-suite for self-testing content and systems. All of these are for version 1.2; 1.3 is edging closer to 'final' status with a new working draft.

Of that little lot of releases, the new implementation guide is much the more substantial affair. Unlike the Carnegie-Mellon SCORM implementation guide, it is targeted at the current SCORM version (1.2), not the imminent and rather different 1.3. Also, where the Carnegie-Mellon guide is structured on SCORM features, the new implementation guide takes a very general instructional design development process as its outline, and shows exactly where and how SCORM may impact on that process. Also unlike the the Carnegie-Mellon guide, the implementation guide doesn't presume that a SCORM development effort will always be done by a team of specialists- it is, therefore, a bit more technical as well. Both are aimed primarily at instructional designers.

The new 0.9 working draft is the one that is aimed squarely at the more techie types. It contains a bit more information about the fairly imminently forthcoming version 1.3 of the SCORM. The major difference between version 1.2 and version 1.3 is that the latter includes IMS Simple Sequencing. VLEs that implement Simple Sequencing allow course designers to specify a learner's path through a number of learning objects, depending on how they're doing. The reason why there is a new draft version of SCORM 1.3, and also why it isn't final yet, is the fact that IMS recently released a new final draft of Simple Sequencing. SCORM, being a standarised implementation of a number of specs, merely follows whatever is happening on that side of the fence.

What has happened to IMS Simple Sequencing is that there now is a much more detailed modelling of exactly how a VLE should behave when it runs Simple Sequencing conformant content. The whole draft has been substantially rewritten, and includes many more diagrammes. The bottom line here is that while the behaviour that the spec defines is fairly simple, the spec or the programmes that implement it are not. Hence the delays.

The new conformance test suite is even more techie, but also the most straightforward; a bug fix. The free collection of software tools had a problem when testing a Sharable Content Object (SCO) for conformance: problems were correctly picked up, just not entered into a log under certain conditions. It does now. The part of the suite that tests SCORM conformance in VLEs was unaffected.

Version 1.2.3 of the SCORM conformance suite, the new SCORM Version 1.3 Application Profile Working Draft Version 0.9 and the new SCORM Implementation Guide can be downloaded from the ADL website. IMS Simple Sequencing can be browsed at IMS' website.