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IEEE approves the CMI / SCORM JavaScript API as a standard.

Though approved as a formal standard in August, the formal acceptance of the "Standard for Learning Technology, ECMAScript Application Programming Interface for Content to Runtime Services Communication," has just been formally announced. The wieldy title of the standard refers to what's affectionally known as the SCORM JavaScript API: a widely used way of letting content talk to a VLE.

In a nutshell, the SCORM JavaScript API is a piece of code that a VLE doles out to a learner's browser whenever a piece of SCORM compliant eLearning content is requested. The code catches specific actions from the learner, via instructions in the SCORM content, and passes it on to the VLE. The actions include things like how far a learner has worked through a piece of content, scores on tests and how long the learner took to work through the material.

From a technical point of view, it has proven to work remarkably well, even if some implementations have run into the infamous cross-domain scripting problem. For an outline of the issue, and a growing number of solutions, here's an article we did earlier. It should be borne in mind that the IEEE version of the API contains a number of fixes and harmonisations, so is not exactly the same as the ones used in SCORM 1.2.

With the IEEE Standard Association's blessing of the API, the total number of IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC)' standards notches up to three: the Learning Object Metadata (LOM) standard has been out for nearly a year and the Learning Technology Systems Architecture (LTSA) came out just before the summer.

Perhaps more importantly, it represents the first IEEE LTSC standard of a technology that was designed purely for the Sharable Content Reference Model (SCORM). The LOM is also part of the model, but is in wide use in other applications as well. Nor is the JavaScript API the last: work on the CMI/SCORM datamodel, and an XML binding of same, is well on the way to keep up the pace of the IEEE LTSC's standard releases.

One part of the SCORM that is not yet included in the roster is the IMS Content Packaging specification; the bit that literaly wraps it all up. Following the transfer of the -unrelated- IMS Reusable Definition of Competency or Educational Objective (RDCEO) spec to IEEE LTSC for standardisation, Content Packaging may follow soon. Discussions in last week's IMS quarterly meeting in San Jose certainly point in that general direction.

More information on the new standard can be found on the IEEE LTSC CMI Working Group's page on the revamped IEEE LTSC website.

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