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ADL releases new SCORM test suite

One of the strengths of ADL's Sharable Content Reference Model (SCORM) is that the set of integrated e-learning specifications comes with a do-it-yourself test suite. The new version of the suite fixes bugs in the previous versions, so that people can test their SCORM 1.2 e-learning content and tools with more confidence.

The general idea behind the test suite is simple: it helps consistent adoption by being the one reference implementation everyone tests against, and because it is free and open source, developers can jump on board with a minimal investment of time and money.

The downside is that there is no guarantee that two SCORM implementations that pass the self-test suite will also interoperate with each other. Hence the ADL plugfests, where vendors can pit compliant content against compliant players ot see whether they do what it says on the tin.

Also, the suite gives no official Seal of Approval that can help consumers choose, and, if necessary, sue vendors. All a vendor can do is assert that it passes the test suite, and a buyer can simply verify it themselves. Simple, cheap, and lawyer-free.

For those who do want to have a Seal, an official certification programme by two ADL co-labs is starting to take off. The tests involve the same test suite, though.

Not even test suites are entirely error free, however, and the suite therefore needs updating from time to time. The present 1.2.6 release targets a few minor bugs and tightens up the test in some areas.

The suite replaces all previous tests for SCORM 1.2. It doesn't cover SCORM 1.3, as that is still not officially released. There is a draft out, but some issues with the new content sequencing functionality need to be cleared up, and the datamodel needs to be synchronised with the imminent IEEE Learning Technology Sub Committee standard for that area.

Details about the test suite are available in a press release. The software itself can be downloaded here.

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