SCORM Dynamic Appearance Model white paper released
Wilbert Kraan, CETIS staff
September 29, 2003

In a bid to make learning objects of the SCORM variety truly re-useable, Sun and the Canadian Department of National Defence have released a white paper on the Dynamic Appearance Model (DAM).

The problem DAM addresses is inherent to the whole concept of learning objects: in order to make a piece of learning content re-useable, it needs to be in a standard structured format, and as de-contextualised as possible in its presentation. We have the standard format (chiefly, IMS Content Packaging), but not really a presentation standard that allows the same material to be presented differently according to the context.

Context is pretty wide in this, erm, context. It includes different languages, different VLEs and their vendors, different use commmunities, different media, which can depend on the accessibility requirements of the learner.

Actually opening up existing learning objects, and editing to meet these needs is time consuming and expensive. Hence the DAM.

Though the white paper is more an outline of the alternatives, there are some concrete proposals for handling dynamic appearance in SCORM. The main idea is to associate a styling vocabulary with the <resource> element in the package. The styling content and format elements themselves would be defined in a new set of elements at the <organization> level. The same goes for language alternatives.

The main issue that still needs work is the handling of navigation, particularly in SCORM 1.3 learning objects, as they include more sophisticated sequencing behaviour.

Much more about the DAM has been covered in our earlier article about the DAM proposal (be sure to catch Pierre Gorissen's thoughtful comments on the item).

The white paper itself can be downloaded from the Sun website