CETIS wins new JISC interoperability service contract
You might well wonder if providing a service about interoperability standards for JISC isn't what CETIS has been doing for quite a while now; you'd be right, it has. The new contract means a step change in the way CETIS will fulfill that service to the community, though.
Tech-Ed Funding to be Tied to Copyright-Ed?
Bit of a parochial US issue (I hope), but interesting nonetheless. A california assemblyman wants any funding for educational technology to require teaching students how bad copyright infringement is. Obvious responses include a) he's been bought and b) cash for teaching my message is not a good idea. Beyond that, however, it shows the fairly extraordinary lenghts the copyright cartels are prepared to go to in order to convince the rest of us that making a copy of something is a crime. It looks as if the punishment part of the campaign is working in that fewer people use the p2p networks for fear of prosecution, but moves like the californian assemblyman's show that they're not making a lot of headway in making the public believe that it's wrong.
Meeting to gather feedback on IMS Content Packaging v.1.2
The EC- SIG are hosting a meeting to collect community feedback on the public draft of the IMS CP v1.2 specification to send to the IMS working group.
Call for papers - 6th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT2006)
Theme: "Advanced Technologies for Life-Long Learning". Life-long learning becomes much more achievable as versatile infrastructures for mobile communication and portable Web access emerge. Supplementary to this, social software for supporting learners in sharing common views and actually build authentic understanding on relevant themes for learning needs to be conceptualized and experimented with.
Call for papers: Interoperable e-learning systems in action
The workshop is being organised and funded by the Telcert project and is sponsored by the European eLearning Industry Group, SURF SiX and European IMS Network. The workshop is hosted by the Open University of the Netherlands, one of the Telcert project partners.
TELCERT Workshop; Tools for the e-Learning Framework
This workshop introduce participants in the e-Learning Framework projects and the broader JISC community to the tools developed by the TELCERT project. These tools exploit the IMS Application Profiling Guidelines which offer the prospect of refining (i.e. profiling) a variety of e-Learning technology specifications so as to better meet the needs of a target community, without breaking underlying interoperability.
Next generation activity based eLearning
The Communities of Practice meeting in Berlin is the FINAL UNFOLD CoP meeting and provides a unique opportunity to participate in a working meeting whose goals are to “map out the requirements for the next generation of Learning Design based systems”. The meeting will be led by Rob Koper of the OUNL.
Joint CETIS EC and Accessibility SIG Meeting
The next CETIS EC (Educational Content) and Accessibility SIG (Special Interest Group) meetings will be held jointly and will have the theme of mobile learning.
UNFOLD Communities of Practice meeting
The Communities of Practice meeting in Glasgow provides a unique opportunity to spend three days talking with others who are working with the IMS LD specification, and participating in practical workshops.
New CETIS briefings available
The ever-popular series of CETIS briefings on e-learning standards just received two new additions, two major updates, and some tweaking on others.
Alt-I-Lab 2005 Demonstrators
The Alt-I-Lab conference has a regular demonstrators session where participants can show off their latest interoperability wares to the assembled crowd. This session tends to be held in an informal market-style which lends itself to a great deal of informed discussion between participants and really is at the core of what the Alt-I-Lab conference is about.
Google Maps Creator Takes Browsers To The Limit
By advising web techies to push bleeding edge tech that mau not be universally supported; Microsoft's Vector Markup Language (VML) for example. Not so sure about that one. If you're going to push the envelope, at least use reasonably open stuff, and leave the real whizz bang to applications that are more suitable- like Google Earth.
Link via Slashdot
Advancing ADL through Global Collaboration
The Australian Department of Education Science and Training (DEST) and the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) are proud to announce Advancing ADL through Global Collaboration, an international forum on the future of ADL technologies. The event will be held 4-6 October 2005 at the Hilton on the Park in Melbourne, Australia.
Digesting Alt-I-Lab 2005
Since it is the biggest e-learning interoperability do on the calendar, alt-i-lab is both a good bellwether for new trends, and a bit of a powerpoint blizzard. From Professor Laurillard's high level and wide ranging vision of the UK e-learning strategy, to the pithy pronouncements of Sakai's Brad Wheeler, we pick some highlights.
Bodington Buzz - making learning more effective
The LAMS learning design package has recently been released as Open Source; TOIA is a highly regarded assessment engine free to UK Education institutions; Personal Development Planning is becoming increasingly required for institutional assessments either using blogging, e-portfolios or other methods; institutions are increasingly looking to share data in a secure way with other collaborating institutions with Shibboleth technology being favoured. All these topics are addressed in the JISC e-learning framework, and all have been integrated using the Bodington VLE.
Next EC-SIG meeting
The next EC-SIG meeting will take place on Monday 13th June at the University of Bolton.
Next EC-SIG meeting
The next EC- SIG meeting will take place on Monday, 13th June at the University of Bolton
LAMS is open source
As promised by the roadmap that was presented last summer, the IMS Learning Design 'inspired' Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) is now available as open source software. In a ceremony at Macquarie University, a LAMS launch CD with the system, documentation and case studies was presented, and is now available as a free download.
From RDF to Topic Maps and back again
If you want to share not just content, but your knowledge of a particular domain, there's two standards that can provide the means: RDF and Topic Maps. The two developed independent of each other, but the first survey of how to map knowledge in the one standard to the other has now been published. It'll be the first step to a standardised RDF - Topic Map interoperability guideline.
CETIS Assessment SIG meeting
The sixteenth CETIS Assessment SIG meeting will cover a range of issues around CAA and interoperability standards.
The Case for Creative Commons Textbooks
According to a recent survey, University of California students now spend 40 percent more on textbooks than they did six years ago. We argue that colleges and universities may be able to significantly reduce these costs by creating a coalition for the acquisition and distribution of electronic textbooks.
Third CETIS/LIFE codebash goes public
To test the interoperability of educational content, metadata and services there's nothing like getting files into and out of as many different tools as possible. Better yet, get the developers of those tools into one room, and let them sort out any issues. CETIS codebashes do just that, but the third iteration had some differences: it was co-organised with the European LIFE (Learning Interoperability Framework for Europe) project and some of the files are now public.
IEEE LTSC face to face meeting
IEEE LTSC Working Groups will be holding face-to-face meetings the ADL Co-lab.
NLN material plugs OK
*update* Prototype materials for the latest round of National Learning Network (NLN) content development have been successfully tested. After a round of trialling and testing by a number of different colleges and educational centres, the interoperable packages were presented in Birmingham by the five content vendors. Unlike previous batches, this round of content procurement by the NLN is aimed exclusively at Adult and Community Learning (ACL).
Getting to grips with Learning Design
The IMS Learning Design workshop in Valkenburg is well under way now, with the first real life experiences of authoring and running Units of Learning (UoL) being uploaded for other people to test. We chatted with a couple of participants.
Interoperability state of play at IMS Melbourne meeting
The open tech forum at an IMS meeting is a public show-and-tell that is occassionally layed on for the benefit of the wider community. The one in Melbourne this week was exemplary in giving a wide variety of people the opportunity to air their views on the state of play in e-learning. The downside is the blizzard of (Power)Points that can unleash. We gather the kernels for your enjoyment.
Learning Design tool bash in Valkenburg
It's like the buses; you wait for one for ages, and then several come along at once. The IMS Learning Design specification was finalised in 2002, and about four implementations are getting ready now. A good time, then, to start playing around with them, exploring what they can do, and seeing whether they interoperate.
Games help you 'learn and play'
BBC report on research findings that specific kinds of games can help learning. While that may not be shocking news, the game and the domain of learning the research focussed on is: language learning via the Sims. The argument is that, rather than rote learn vocabulary and abstract structure, modified versions of the Sims allow learners to explore and acquire the language in a context. Also notable is the indication that it is getting easier to modify existing games for such educational purposes, which addresses the old gap in production values between commercial and educational games.
Sentient launch repository with Word interface
In a bid to make the authoring part of learning object lifecycle easier for non-specialists, Sentient has anounced the availability of a new repository on the UK market, LearnBase.
CELEBRATE Evaluation Report
A hefty pdf (1.8 Mb, 202 pages) outlining the outcomes of the large, 30 month Context eLearning with Broadband Technologies (CELEBRATE) project. A fair few case studies and a firm focus on the practicalities of using learning objects in schools make it well worth a (skim) read. Inevitably, some of the lofty goals of the project at the start have not quite come out as intended. For example, the question whether interoperability standards make reuse of material any easier could not be addressed systematically. Still, the finding that interoperability was as much down to minimal standards of hard- and software infrastructure in schools as the format of the objects themselves is worth bearing in mind.
Thanks to EdTechPost for the link.
The state of standards at Online Educa 2004
In amongst many, many other things, Berlin's Online Educa 2004 conference had almost a full day's worth of events on the topic of educational interoperability standards. Since the morning's session was mostly about content interoperability, and the afternoon session about collaborative technology, the panel discussion at the end made for some pretty clear contrasts about where different people think interoperability standards are.
Fifteenth CETIS Assessment SIG Meeting
The fifteenth CETIS Assessment SIG meeting will take place on Wednesday 26 January 2005 at the University of York.
Designs for Learning: Finding and reusing learning objects and learning activity management (LAMS) in basic number and statistics
This workshop will demonstrate how simple it is to create sequences of learning activities incorporating reusable learning objects (RLO) using freely available tools. You will have the opportunity to use some of these interoperable tools developed by the JISC to support e-learning and explore Learning Activity Management Software (LAMS) to create sequences of learning activities. The session will focus on teaching basic data interpretation and statistics.
Filling out the E-Learning Framework boxes
The results of the first JISC/CETIS conference in Oxford are now available online. The conference brought together specialists from a number of international e-learning initiatives with all current JISC sponsored e-learning technology development projects. Purpose: to start filling out all those boxes in the E-Learning Framework (ELF), but also to give geeks and regular people an opportunity to explore trends in e-learning technology in general.
Next EC SIG meeting
The next meeting of will be a joint meeting between the Metadata SIG and the EC SIG. The meeting will focus on two standards that are of interest to both communities - namely METS (the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard) and Topic maps.
Bashers and Pluggers fix IMS Content Packaging spec
There's nothing quite like a bunch of developers with their tools to iron out the pesky little bugs in a spec. That's what participants to the ADL plugfests and CETIS codebashes did, and fixing the bugs that they found took Content Packaging from 1.1.3 to 1.1.4.
Interoperability in action video
The eXchange for Learning (X4L) programme has released a video on the web about the practicalities of making interoperable learning content. While there's plenty to read about the pros and cons of standards, this video shows an actual scenario of finding, creating and enhancing learning objects using a variety of tools.
Bodington Buzz: Introduction to the Bodington VLE System
With the growing interest in open source solutions for Virtual Learning Environments, the Bodington team would like to invite you to a free one-day seminar demonstrating the Bodington Open Source VLE system.
Computers 'do not boost learning'
But the sting is in the subtitle of this BBC story: "Efforts to promote "lifelong learning" using computers have done little to increase the number of adults in education" The operative word being "education". People do learn using computers, or, more specifically, the internet, but they don't necessarily want to sign themselves up for a formal course. What would be really interesting is a survey that would look at people "googling x"- not something usually thought of as learning, but that's what it really is.
When metadata becomes content, and authoring learning
and the result an assessment method and part of a learner's/learning profile, you have something like Topic Maps. One of a number of emerging semantic web standards, it is the subject of quite a bit of research and development. The Norwegian estandard project and its members are busy working on educational applications of the technology.
Intrallect wins JORUM UK national repository contract
With the awarding of the 250.000 GBP contract, the JISC sponsored JORUM project will start the transition to a national repository of learning materials, to be made available to the UK Further and Higher Education by August 2005.
Tenth CETIS Educational Content SIG meeting.
The next meeting of the EC SIG will be on Thursday, 2nd September, at Learning & Teaching Scotland.
Alt-I-Lab results: mind the gap...
between user expectation of interoperability and reality. Or so the University of Waterloo's Tom Carey thought. And repeated it in at least four other varieties of English to make sure the message hit home. Because last week's was the second alt-i-lab, we can begin to look at whether the participants in the interoperability fest are actually closing that gap.
LAMS to be open sourced, partnership programme announced
After an announcement of the imminent open sourcing of the Learning Design 'inspired' Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) at a special meeting held by the Department for Education and Skills in London last week, LAMS lead developer James Dalziel announced the beta partnership programme at the Alt-I-lab interoperability conference in Redwood City, California. Both moves are designed the make the popular and pedagogically innovative tool readily accessible, sustainable and convergent with the IMS Learning Design interoperability specification.
Learning Design communities UNFOLD
Not even Einstein could have conjured up something like the theory of relativity in isolation. For that, you need a community of practice. In that respect, implementing, teaching with or authoring Learning Design is no different. The EU sponsored UNFOLD project aims to provide the infrastructure and the expertise to help people form just such communities. The aim: the collaborative building of best practice in the Learning Design area.
Transferring resourcelists from a VLE to a library (and back again)
In the notoriously unresolvable discussion over what a learning object is, one category that's easily overlooked is the traditional academic article or monograph. Printed or otherwise, these are bread and butter learning resources in many a course, and constitute one of the main intersections between the e-learning and library worlds. Hence the need to exhange lists of such resources between virtual learnign environments and (digital) library systems, which is now addressed by the new public draft of IMS Resource List Interoperability.
UK Ministry of Defence contracts BT for e-learning system
As most large organisations have found at some point, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) found that a) its training requirements can't be met by face to face education alone, and b) its e-learning provision is patchy and disconnected. So a plan was drawn up, and British Telecom awarded about 25 million pounds to provide a system for up to 300.000 users. That's one single system...
Web services stuff we can nick
From an education sector point of view, one of the nice things about a service oriented architecture (SOA) is that the commercial world is heading the same way. IT vendors have seen the signs and have been huddling together in a range of acronyms to bash out service specifications for all sorts of things- and implementing them too. We have a look at some of the latest specs that we could help ourselves to.
OLS Pilot Goes Live
David Wiley's Open Learning Support project has launched with about seven communities grouped around MIT's OpenCourseWare (OCW) materials. The project aims to transform the OCW from a pile of static content to a dynamic learning experience by facilitating communities to form around the subjects.
Blackboard, OUNL deal widens Learning Design access
IMS Learning Design and Educational Modelling Language (EML) pioneers the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) and Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) makers Blackboard inc. have inked a strategic alliance that allows the OUNL's Edubox player to be integrated with the Blackboard VLE and portal. The deal will make it easier for institutions with Blackboard installations to take advantage of the pedagogic flexibility and power of EML, or, in the near future, IMS Learning Design.
Canadian ADL Partnership Lab opens
With the new ADL Lab in Ottawa, Canada will be the second non-US site in the ADL co-lab network. In a sense, it is a return to base, as the Canadian forces had quite an input in the early development of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) e-learning format.
Eduplone reveals initial IMS Learning Design support
And very initial it is too: current material does not go far beyond what's possible with conventional learning objects. But the idea of welding the pedagogic flexibility of Learning Design to the flexibility of the open source Zope/Plone web content management system is intriguing, and the support for basic e-learning standards in Plone useful.
IMS specifies buckets
Data buckets, that is, in the public draft of the new Sharable State Persistence specification. Its function is as simple as it is useful: it provides a means for learning objects (specifically of the SCORM persuasion) to store data about the state they were left in. These buckets can then accessed by other objects, who can act on the data.
Community and conformance
It's the quintessential paradox of technology standards: enforcing a technical standard, while supporting the peculiar demands of a specific community. Such an exercise in cake possession and consumption is now undertaken by the EU Framework Programme 6 (FP6) sponsored TELCERT project, who aim to give national and/or occupational communities the tools to define their own application profiles, and the means to test conformance to them.
Learning Design Listing
No, not the IMS spec, but a sign of an impending terminological confusion: in this sense it means an approach to e-learning pedagogy that goes beyond traditional instructional design. Which is indeed very much what IMS Learning Design sets out to facilitate, but it is a spec, not an approach. This post at elearningpost coins the term Learning eXperience Design (LXD) for the approach, and solicits comments about what such a holistic approach to learning might look like.
Fostering interoperability, Japanese style
Japan's Advanced Learning Infrastructure Consortium (ALIC) has been promoting e-learning interoperability standards in their part of the world, much like Industry Canada, SURF SiX or CETIS. Except that it funds single open source implementations of specifications. By Japan's main educational software vendors themselves. We ask ALIC's Kyoshi Nakabayashi about their experiences with the approach.
eLearning Results 2004
This is the second of the standards focussed e-learning conference organised by VLE maker Giunti. This edition focusses on implementation and streamlining rather than new specs and practices. The conference will be preceded by workshops on IMS Learning Design, SCORM 2004, OKI, and SCORM and AICC Certification.
CopperCore to power Learning Design implementations
The Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) has just released CopperCore: an IMS Learning Design engine, the first of its kind. Rather than provide a complete take-it-or-leave-it Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), the open source package is designed to be integrated into a range of existing e-learning infrastructures.
JISC Conference 2004
Delegates will be given opportunities to learn about the full range of JISC’s work by participating in seminars, debates, workshops and demonstrations. In the exhibition area, JISC services and initiatives will be able to provide you with advice and guidance on a range of support and resources available to your institution.
International Plugfest 1
The International Relations and Security Network (ISN) will host the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) International Plugfest 1 in Switzerland. International Plugfest 1 will begin with pre-conference workshops on Monday, February 16, 2004. On Tuesday, February 17 a Global e-Learning Summit will be hosted for participating international organizations to brief the Community on the current status of their adoption and implementation of e-Learning standards in general and the SCORM in particular.
Beyond the Learner: Student and Government Perceptions of the E-Learning Experience
Organised by Oxford University's Learning Technologies Group and sponsored by the JISC Committee for Learning and Teaching (JCLT), this conference aims to let education managers, Learners, Vendors and ICT Developers debate high level questions about the desirability and direction of e-learning.
Portal or VLE?
Challenging rant from Derek Morrison at what looks like a blog that's well worth watching: auricle, the blog of the elearning at Bath team. This post is about the paucity of genuine interoperability, mainly because of the tendency of some vendors to "enhance" interoperability specifications with their own extensions.
SCORM and the art of specification maintenance
SCORM 1.3 is dead, long live SCORM 2004! It is pretty much the same thing, but the name change indicates some hectic manoeuvering to satisfy the conflicting demands of stability and predictability versus the need to fix issues. The new version is out now. Also, the first public indications of ADL's desire to hand the present SCORM 'to the community' have surfaced in last week's co-located CEN/ISSS and IEEE LTSC meeting.
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.
New Research Reveals That Over 85% Of Lecturers Believe e-Learning Improves Teaching Creativity And Student Learning Success
A survey of 150 UK lecturers by WebCT. The most notable other finding is that "94% of lecturers stated that classroom-based teaching and online learning is more effective than classroom-based teaching alone." Though this is clearly not independent research, it certainly indicates that elearning is well and truly mainstream now.
Joint CETIS Assessment SIG/SURF SiX meeting
The 11th Assessment SIG meeting will be a joint event with the Dutch SURF SiX Expert Group.
We are the Problem: We are selling Snake Oil
Quote: "We now have ample data to show that: Training does not work. eLearning does not work. Blending Learning does not work. Knowledge Management does not work." That should ruffle some feathers. It's also backed-up by decent evidence, written by a veteran in the field, and published by one of the main elearning think thanks. There's a few caveats, though, both signposted and not. First, it only concerns the commercial training market, and focusses almost exclusively on methods that cram content, and performance indicators that try to measure the amount of content that stuck. Second, the author is a great believer in "workflow learning"; some axes being ground, i.o.w. The extensive comments are equally interesting
Link via Autounfocus blog
This is definitely one to watch: after quite some time spent trying, it looks like David Wiley has some funding for his EduCommons "SourceForge for educational materials". Not just that, the same Hewlett grant will allow him to establish a global community of practice around MIT's Open CourseWare (OCW) initiative. If this works out, collaboratively developed, freely available content could really start rolling out. OCW could provide the focus and the name recognition, EduCommons the collaborative authoring OCW always lacked.
Reload releases SCORM e-learning content player
Now that the open source Reload content package editor is maturing and in pretty widespread use and development, the team have added a content player to the toolkit. It plays SCORM 1.2 in a pretty straightforward fashion, but is mainly meant to help content developers understand and control what is going on behind the scenes.
LionShare peer-to-peer project kicks off
When the Visual User Image Study at Penn State looked at the use of images by students and staff they discovered a good many hidden treasure troves. How, then, to share these and other digital assets without taking control away from the owners? The LionShare peer-to-peer project aims to reconcile the two. We talk to the project's lead, Penn State's Mike Halm.
Learning Design inspiration
After months of demos, talks and an increasing buzz, WebMCQ and MELCOE have made the Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) public. The IMS Learning Design "inspired" editing and playback system is said to revolutionise the way eLearning is done: by focussing on the process of learning, rather than just shovelling content.
Future of SCORM 1.x guide published, services top of the menu
It's not a roadmap. It's not, in theory, exhaustive. It doesn't recommend anything in particular. It's not even from ADL itself, so it is not normative in any way. Yet Carnegie-Mellon Learning Systems Architecture Lab's "Technical Evolution of SCORM" probably is the most definitive guide to what could happen to the present form of SCORM. We talk to the author, Dan Rehak.
A recipe for interoperability in practice
At the 8th CETIS Educational Content SIG meeting held in Glasgow on 28th August, Colin Milligan (RELOAD), Martin Morrey (Intrallect) and Gerry Graham (Learning and Teaching Scotland) presented a demonstration of practical interoperability between a content repository (the JORUM Intralibrary) and a virtual learning environment (PIONEER), mediated by the RELOAD Editor. For full meeting minutes and presentations, see the EC-SIG web page at: http://www.cetis.ac.uk/educational-content/
SCORM Dynamic Appearance Model white paper released
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).
WebCT 4.1 adds further IMS Content Packaging support
The latest version of the popular VLE makes it easier for users to add course material in IMS Content Packaging format. Export is a slightly different matter, however.
CETIS Learning Design Workshop
*** This Workshop is now full. Registrations are closed ***
This two day workshop organised by the CETIS Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC SIG) and the CETIS Pedagogy Forum will be held on Tuesday 28th October and Wednesday 29th October 2003, at Learning and Teaching Scotland, Glasgow.
9th CETIS Educational Content SIG Meeting
*** This meeting is now full. Registrations are closed ***
The 9th CETIS Educational Content SIG (EC SIG) Meeting will be held on Friday 12th December 2003, at the Dept. of Computer Science, Manchester University.
David Wiley's outline for a new online, peer reviewed journal that will facilitate discussion of open, sustainable learning opportunities. The journal will focus on the pedagogic, technical, legal and moral implications of making learning as widely available as possible. Being online, the review process should be quick, yet provide a decent filter.
Hard lessons from the big e-learning experiment
Good mainstream article on e-learning in companies and other large organisations. The message is simple: e-learning was oversold in the dot.com boom, but still has many applications when implemented in sensible, function-driven way. Quote: "In the ICUS survey, a quarter of the 275 people polled said learning in isolation, often the case with e-learning, meant there was a high drop-out rate among staff."
Link via Online Learning Update.
Learning Design and reuseability
A recent article by Stephen Downes about the reuseability of instructional or learning designs in general, and those compliant with IMS Learning Design in particular, caused rather a response in the CETIS Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC SIG). We examine the issue and summarise the discussion.
CETIS briefing on Simple Sequencing published
The latest in the CETIS series of "What is ..." briefings about e-learning interoperability standards deals with IMS Simple Sequencing. Written by Warwick Bailey of Cambridge University, it is a four page introduction to the e-learning content specification.
RELOAD editor adds Content Packaging and SCORM authoring
Following a comprehensive rewrite, the 1.1 version of the RELOAD e-learning content authoring tool can now be used to edit both plain IMS as well as SCORM content packages.
The advantage of a standardised, structured data format is not limited to data exchange with other systems that understand the same format. Some cool work with XSLT by Raymond Yee and also the Digital University (DU) of the Netherlands demonstrates that content in one standard format can be transformed into another in practice.
The dynamic appearance model and implementing SCORM 1.3
About a year ago, the Canadian Department of National Defense presented a white paper about means to make SCORM type content truly re-useable by separating content from presentation. Now they've followed up with another white paper that gets into the nitty gritty of implementing the model while working around a number of SCORM 1.3 issues.
Have your say on your rights
The rumbling conflict over intellectual property rights in the digital age has reached e-learning. Whether you primarily produce learning content or consume it, ways of expressing your rights are going to be defined, most likely by the language that the IEEE LTSC Digitial Rights Expression Language (DREL) workgroup will be working on. Fortunately, they are gathering requirements now to make sure that language expresses what you need it to express.
Interoperability in practice at the CETIS / LTScotland codebash
Bangor, Wednesday, July 2, 2003. 46 participants from 26 organisations from 4 countries came to the second CETIS / Learning and Teaching Scotland codebash in Glasgow last week, with 2 participants joining in online.
8th CETIS Educational Content SIG Meeting
*** This meeting is now full ***
The 8th EC SIG Meeting is a free all-day workshop and discussion event, with reports on the latest in content-related standards and specs, and demos and presentations on new developments. This meeting is being held in tandem with the CETIS Assessment SIG Meeting on August 29th; go to the Assessment SIG website to register for that one.
A feature or a bug; SCORM and cross domain scripting
People trying to deploy SCORM across several sites have been agonising over the problems associated with playing SCORM content from one domain in a VLE in another domain. We asked SCORM luminaries Dan Rehak, Claude Ostyn, Wayne Hodgins and Schawn Thropp about their views on the nature of the problem, what sorts of solutions might work and what SCORM's makers -ADL- intend to do about it.
OASIS portal spec approved
With the technical committee approval and the endorsement of the usual major IT vendors, Web Services for Remote Portlets is a mere weeks away from being an OASIS standard. That should make it easier to configure portals, and also make more portal content readily available for compliant systems.
Big vendors reaffirm commitment to standards
Which is nice, but what does that mean outside of their marketing departments? For a start, a promise to hold them against. But there's more.
No one standard will suit all
Not a new sentiment, really, but one worth repeating. And it was repeated, in many different ways across a rather wide spectrum of speakers at the eLearning Results conference in Sestri Levante, Italy, yesterday.
7th Educational Content SIG Meeting
This meeting is now full. Special pleadings and offers of good quality chocolate may be sent to the EC SIG Coordinator at email@example.com
Three Objections to Learning Objects
A thoughtful and thorough critique of the learning object concept. Particularly notable about it is Norm Friesen's tracing of the learning object's provenance in the training and military world. i.e. context is demonstrated to be the problem at two levels: that of a learning object itself, as well as the concept of them. Also notable is his contrast between the specifity of the technical domain from which the 'object' concept came, and the inherent ambiguity and vagueness of 'learning' or 'pedagogy'. The paper does not outline an alternative to replace learning objects, however.
The teachers teach the techies
The launch of the new CETIS Pedagogy Forum yesterday is a strong indication of a shift in the way e-learning (content) interoperability standards are developed. The techies got the standards out there, but now it's the teachers' turn to drive the agenda and get their concerns heard. And people sit up and take notice; both the DfES and ADL had representatives eager to learn what educators might bring to their organisations' plans.
Learning objects: difficulties and opportunities
An eight page article by David Wiley that takes a pretty critical look at the whole learning object idea. Most damningly, it contends (with cited evidence) that the whole re-useability idea isn't really working in object oriented software- and that's where the whole object idea came from in the first place. Not just that, the article also argues that the commercial content domain shows that the learning object economy is unlikely to materialise either. So is there no hope for either re-useability or the learning object idea? "If we are to follow the software development model we claim to hold dear, learning objects should not contain content at all; rather, they should contain the educational equivalent of algorithms – instructional strategies (teaching techniques) for operating on separately available, structured content."
2003 eLearning Results Summit
The summit is a high level get together of interoperability standards luminaries. There are two parts: a free conference sponsored by Giunti labs with talks by people ranging from IMS CEO Ed Walker to Anne Wright of the DfES / e-GIF. The other part is a series of paid-for technical workshops sponsored by IMS and designed to get people up to speed on the various IMS Specs and application Profiles like SCORM.
European electronic collaborative learning resource launched
To support the growing interest in the Communication bit of ICT in education, the EU funded ITCOLE (Innovative Technologies for Collaborative Learning and Knowledge Building) project opened a site that agregates practice, resources, ideas and discussion about on-line collaborative learning. Not surprisingly, they want you to chip in.
Open Source Content in Education
In a vivid illustration of what difference being connected makes, I came to this article via a link on Elearning Space to the new Object Learning blog which had a belated link back to an earlier post on George Siemens' Elearn Space, which was written in collaboration with Stephen Downes of Oldaily. It is this interconnection and collaboration that the authors seek to harness in a educational content development initiative, that will be presented formally on May 30th. "The DOSC concept is captured by two statements of learning objects/content: open access, continual improvement."
Use and Abuse of Reusable Learning Objects
Peer reviewed paper in the Journal of Digital information that takes stock of the never ending discussion about what a learning object is. As such, it provides a good overview, even if the proposed definition may not be that much more enlightening. Essentially, the author bases the definition on learning intention, operationalised as form (i.e. the context of a course), relation (to some kind of exposition) and re-useability.
Professors Laurillard, Liber, Conole and Stiles to speak at CETIS pedagogy forum launch.
Now that the initial push for educational technology interoperability standards is taking effect, CETIS is turning its attention to their pedagogical ramifications by setting up the CETIS pedagogy forum. Unlike the well known CETIS Special Interest Groups (SIGs), the pedagogy forum will not just concentrate on one particular set of standards, but focus on the teaching and learning implications of all of them.
Major SCORM stakeholders unify message
In a bid to clarify one part of the elearning content field, the IEEE LTSC that is now meeting in Paris will take the initiative to set up both an overarching SCORM / CMI advisory group and a one-stop website for everything you always wanted to know about SCORM and all the specifications and standards it profiles.
Saba donates free SCORM testing tool to community.
Now this is the sort of thing that benefits everyone. Saba's decision to release the SCORM Detective tool basically means three things: it demonstrates industry support for standards in general -and those of specific players in particular!- it directly helps achieve interoperability and promotes understanding of the specs in the community too.
Learning Design eyes implementation, about to release architecture
After the end of the IMS meetings in Vancouver, the Valkenburg group of IMS Learning Design implementers got together to see where things stand with the spec and its predecessor; Educational Modelling Language. The first glimpses of LD tools are there, but this is just the beginning of a long process.
We've got the tech, lets build some communities
At the quarterly IMS meetings, the open technical forum is often the one to watch for the latest trends in elearning. The tech forum that is taking place in Vancouver, Canada right now is no exception, and the next priority is clear: building communities.
IMS Learning Design a full specification
After a fairly smooth period as a public draft, IMS Learning Design has now been accepted as a full specification by a 94% majority of IMS members. In a sense, the real deal starts now, as the specification is now stable enough for the vendors to develop.
SiX plugfest report: encouraging, but could do better
Dutch educational standards working group SiX just published the results of its plugfest. Over the day, various managed/virtual learning environments were required to import, export and display a standardised set of ADL SCORM 1.2, IMS Content packaging 1.3, IMS QTI 1.2 and IMS Enterprise 1.1 data. Result: familiar problems and remarkable differences between products.
Open Access Journal Business Guides
Link via OLDaily: a couple of business guides by the Budapest Open Access Initiative for either converting an existing subscription journal or starting a new open access journal. Useful even for those just contemplating the switch to open access. Definition of open access: "...its free availability on the public Internet, permitting any users to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of (peer-reviewed or pre-print) articles, crawl them for indexing, pass them as data to software, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the Internet itself. The only constraint on reproduction and distribution, and the only role for copyright in this domain, should be to give authors control over the integrity of their work and the right to be properly acknowledged and cited..."
The encyclopedia of informal education
For everything you always wanted to know about non-institutional learning, as outlined by, for example, Ivan Ilich. Learning from the encyclopedia as part of my blogging task, informal learning is the unplanned, open ended education that takes place in specific, task oriented contexts.
Digital Repositories Interoperability spec approved by IMS
The latest IMS spec to reach 'final' status deals with ways to store learning objects and make them available to other people. There are quite a few specs out there that will help systems do that already, but none specifically geared to make use of the IMS Meta-Data spec. Fortunately, IMS is not in the mood to start re-inventing the wheel, and has therefore liberally borrowed from existing specs.
UK higher education reform: the implications for educational technology
The impact of the UK government's 'The future of Higher Education' white paper is still reverberating around the system. We know about the tuition fees, and the 50% participation rate, but what's the role of e-learning in all of this?
Not Your Father's Encyclopedia
Wired article carried by a lot of blogs around the web, but for good reason. The wikipedia, an online collaboratively built encyclopedia has published its 100.000th article. Though not rivalling venerable tomes like the Encyclopedia Brittanica just yet, it's a powerful reminder of what can happen when you pool limited resources: a fantastic learning resource. ""I decided to contribute because I think I have a lot of general knowledge, and I like being part of an online community," he said. "I was astounded to discover that anybody could change any page, at any time.""
6th CETIS Educational Content SIG Meeting
This meeting is now full: registrations closed.
Designing Instruction with Learning Objects
Checklist of dos and don'ts when developing learning objects. Though useful, it suffers from some contradictions: on the one hand, Principle 3 says that learning objects must be small to be reuseable, while Principle 1 says that Learning Objects Must Be Units of Instruction That Stand Alone. i.e."Create the content of a learning object to be similar in scope and nature to the content of a typical "lesson" so as to create instruction, not merely information (Downes, 2000)." Also, Principle 4 holds that A Sequence of Learning Objects Must Have a Context, but "instructional content designed as context-independent chunks in an object-oriented programming environment can be shared with other users, recombined with other objects, or redesigned by other instructional developers with reasonable expectations of cost savings"
Designing Courses: Learning Objects, IMS Standards, XML, SGML, etc.
Great link from the elearnspace blog: a pretty comprehensive resource list for anything to do with learning objects.
IMS Simple Sequencing approved
After some delay, IMS members have voted for Simple Sequencing; a means of describing how a learner can progress through on-line learning activities. The idea is that it will provide a means of choreographing learning objects in a few simple ways. The spec will be part of the forthcoming version of SCORM (1.3) for precisely that reason.
IMS Open Technical Forum and Special Briefing
The Open Technical Forum event is open to anyone interested in the latest developments around elearning interoperability standards. The Special Briefing is more in-depth about the IMS specifications.
Where oh Where is Plug & Play?
Thought provoking and well argued rant about the lack of attention to basic interoperability in elearning standard implementation. Particular ire is reserved for student performance tracking. "...disgruntled customers like Buckman's Ellis don't want to listen to any more visionary talk about reusable content objects until they're satisfied that the basic plumbing works."
Annual Convention of the International Association for Educational Communications & Technology
"Surfing New Waves of Innovation, Leadership and Learning". A research oriented conference for both the practice and theory of electronically enhanced learning.
World Education Market
A networking, buying and selling event of about 2000 participants in 2002. Given those numbers, the audience involves almost anyone who has something to do with education and training. As of last year, however, an 'eVillage' is set up with the European Institute for e-Learning (EIFEL).
Faculty Development and the Diffusion of Innovations
A timely contribution to the rising emphasis on faculty development as an integrated aspect of learning technology deployment. Particularly useful in its outline of a framework that can accommodate various interests and moviations. "Why would some faculty be so skeptical when others have achieved great success and discovered new ways to increase learning outcomes? Why would faculty resist tools that can help them simplify their work? The answer is that not all believe in the inherent ability of technology to achieve these outcomes."
Connexions on the Creative Commons
Fine grained learning objects? Check. Separation of content from presentation via XML? Check. Storage in a repository? Check. Open Source tools? Check. Free content? Check. Collaborative content development? Check. Standard compliant? kind of. So what is new about Rice University's Connexions? Its all of these things in one well funded project.
ADL takes first step to repository profile
With the publication of a report on "Emerging and Enabling Technologies for the Design of Learning Object Repositories", ADL is taking the first tentative steps to designing a learning object repository application profile to complement its existing learning object reference model, SCORM.
I/ITSEC showcases military educational technology, SCORM
The annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) is a large get-together that deals with the training and education of the -mainly US- military. Though a specialised sector -mass destruction simulations, anyone?-, it is one where learning technologies like SCORM are most widely deployed.
Stretching and squeezing (X)HTML to your needs
At the bottom of the pile of educational technology specifications sits (X)HTML; common as grass and about as worthy of comment. Or is it? With new working drafts for Modularization of XHTML in XML Schema and XHTML 2.0, the W3C is squeezing the ubiquitous web language onto more devices and stretching it to cover more functions. Some web geeks can't wait, and have already begun to make XHTML do weird and wonderful things.
The Electronic Portfolio Boom: What's it All About?
Syllabus article linked via Serious Instructional Technology. Slightly over-excited but informative article on e-portfolios. The interest here's in the author's perspective: that of a writing programme educationalist who's been doing portfolios-as-collections-of-work on the web for years. "Experience on one campus shows that, even though 100 percent of the faculty in a program have adopted ePortfolios, students still may not see their value because the faculty have not re-thought their courses to accommodate electronic portfolios"
ADL release new implementation guide, conformance test suite almost final version 1.3 of SCORM
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.
Smart Machines, Dumb People?
With the proliferation of ICT, will we not only learn in different ways, but also learn different things? Put differently; the augmentation of thinking by machines may very well both affect how much and what kind of things humans generally learn. Linked via elearningpost. "With machines assuming more mental work, humans will store fewer facts—and learning requirements will change radically. If so, our old-fashioned 20th century perspective may consider people of the future dumb."
Preparing Teachers To Use Learning Objects
Not a ground breaking article, but a very useful collection for introducing post secondary teachers to learning objects. The value lies in being very precisely aimed at helping e-learning champions convince their colleagues why they may want to roll their own objects. "It would be foolish for every teacher to write his or her own textbooks. Similarly, it is not feasible for every teacher to create all of the learning objects for a course."
Open uPortal technology gains ground in the UK
Over a series of meetings, US representatives of the Java in Administration Special Interest Group (JA SIG) outlined their open source university portal technology to a diverse sample of UK HE representatives. Result: intriguing points of contact between UK educational software projects and uPortal have been identified, and a UK JA SIG has been set up.
The Lattecentric Ecosystem
Yet more evidence of a spreading trend for individualised, even peer to peer approaches to elearning. Stephen Downes tackles the vexed question of learning object granularity and how it fits certain approaches to elearning. The 'latte' refers to caffè latte: learning as a conversation between friends in a cafe.
Developers content to bash code at CETIS
In the interest of science, about twenty-five developers were happy to have their precious programs maltreated during the CETIS content package codebash. Under the good offices of Learning and Teaching Scotland's (LTScotland) Gerry Graham CETIS' Lorna Campbell, IMS content packages were freely swapped between systems. Conclusion: getting wrapped-up learning objects from one system to another is getting a lot smoother, but we're not quite there yet.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON ADVANCES IN INFRASTRUCTURE FOR ELECTRONIC BUSINESS, EDUCATION, SCIENCE, MEDICINE, AND MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES ON THE INTERNET
This is the winter edition of a rather wide ranging conference that covers most topics that touch on electronic communication. The interest for learning technology professionals lies in the two opening keynotes: "The Semantic Web" by Erich Neuhold of Fraunhofer IPSI and University of Technology Darmstadt, and "The Future of Education" by Neville Holmes, School of Computing, University of Tasmania. The fee for the conference is € 600 (not applicable to those with accepted papers). Deadline for payment is December 10, 2002. Conference capacity is 200, so first come, first served.
CEN/ISSS Learning Technology Workshop meeting
This meeting follows on directly from the IEEE LTSC meeting at the same location. The meeting is open, but will be mainly of interest for people involved in ongoing work of the CEN/ISSS LTW work.
Problems and Issues in Online Learning, October 2002
The title maybe a bit expansive, but this is a taut and to the point state-of-the-art article by Stephen Downes. Because it is by Stephen, it is not just a list of issues either; he argues consistently against monolithic, separate learning systems on both technical, functional and economic grounds. "The silo model is dysfunctional because it prevents, in some essential way, the location and sharing of learning resources."
Content village e-Learning Resource Centre
A new European link lister with a pretty impressive collection of e-learning resources. The content village is an offspring of the eContent programme.
Major Copyright Bill Affecting Distance Education Becomes Law
One of the most readable yet comprehensive overviews of the controversial new TEACH act that just came into force. The act may not have immediate consequences outside the US, but, like so much else, it could have repercussions for the way copyrighted material is used in elearning elsewhere.
Student-Centered Teaching Meets New Media: Concept and Case Study
Thorough case study of Student Centred E-learning. Results indicate that it is possible to retain the advantages of a very student centred approach but keep costs manageable by using elearning. "the computer takes over the task of providing information, while presence phases can be used for giving the content more meaning by means of transparent, open, respectful and empathic interactions within the group."
The Role of Quality in e-Learning: From Page-Turners to Motivating and Engaging Online Courses
Powerpoint presentation by Stephen Downes on current developments in e-learning and e-government, and the potential synergies between them. "The key to success in both e-learning and e-government hinges on the idea of participation. This involves changing learners from passive consumers of learning to active producers of learning. And in e-government, this involves changing citizens from passive consumers of governance to active producers of governance"
LSC's Distributed and Electronic Learning Group looks to beef up e-learning support post 16
In a pretty substantial report, the distance and electronic learning group (DELG) of the UK's prime further education body (the Learning and Skills Council, LSC) outline their vision of e-learning post 16 in a series of 154 key issues and recommendations. In very general terms, the aim is to achieve a robust, targeted and comprehensive framework for the whole sector.
"SCORM is not for everyone"- ADL responds
Our 'Dan Rehak: "SCORM is not for everyone"' article provoked quite a few reactions around the web; both positive and negative. But we wanted to give ADL itself an opportunity, and Mark Oehlert, ADL's communications officer, was kind enough to take up the gauntlet and respond to some of the main points reported in the article.
ECEL 2002 THE EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON eLEARNING
The European Conference on e-Learning (ECEL) is an opportunity for academics, practitioners and consultants from Europe and elsewhere who are involved in the study, management, development and implementation of web enabled and ICT initiatives in the learning and teaching sectors as well as the professions to come together and exchange ideas and examples of best practice.
JISC publishes MLE briefing, supports new MLE projects
The UK's JISC demonstrates its ongoing commitment to technology awareness raising by releasing a comprehensive briefing about the future of MLEs in Further Education, starting a new series of interoperability pilot tests and supporting a project that will research the pedagogical implications of new elearning standards.
Wireless Interactive Teaching Simulations
A report on a pioneering attempt at wireless elearning- or 'mlearning'. The project seems a little too focussed on trying to save money by lecturing very large numbers of students with mobile tech, but the report pulls no punches in self-criticism. "These tools tend to have the same overall structure; they allow students to externalize their thinking by “playing” some value or inputting some variable into a system."
IMS Learning Design reaches public draft stage
In a close vote, members of IMS accepted Learning Design as a public draft. Now that it can be implemented, the specification promises to be a comprehensive and powerful way to design learning experiences on-line. Not just that, it aims to allow educators the greatest possible freedom in designing these experiences, while still promoting content re-use and exchange.
Reusable learning objects in health professional education: from theory into practice
ONLINE EDUCA BERLIN 2002
Reusable learning objects in health professional education: from theory into practice
Reusable learning objects in health professional education: from theory into practice
Reusable learning objects in health professional education: from theory into practice
Reusable learning objects in health professional education: from theory into practice
Creating Environments for Learning: VLEs, MLEs, digital libraries and middleware
Dan Rehak: "SCORM is not for everyone"
One the 'chief architects' of ADL's SCORM, Dan Rehak of Carnegie Mellon's Learning Systems Architecture Lab, outlined the future of the widely used elearning specification at the IMS special briefing for implementers on Friday. SCORM is about to gain more flexibility in sequencing, and wider system capabilities further down the line. Strategically, he clarified which pedagogies the model supports well, and which not, and emphasised that ADL ultimately wants to hand over SCORM to the community.
IMS member exchange: Conformance Now!
Two topics were billed for the IMS Open Technical Forum: conformance issues and e-Learning Implementation in the UK. As it turned out, specification conformance was the main topic of practically all presentations. The why and how as well as the why not was illuminated by representatives from a wide variety of organisations.
DfES' e-learning guru: Learning Design is the way ahead.
In her keynote speech to the IMS Open Technical Forum, Professor Diana Laurillard, the head of the e-Learning Strategy Unit of the UK Department for Education and Skills (DfES), called for the widespread adoption of Learning Design. The specification still needs to be formally adopted by IMS, but was hailed for its ability to allow easy re-use of successful learning models, without straightjacketing adopters into one single pedagogical approach.
Carnegie Mellon release SCORM best practices guide for developers.
One of the main contributors to the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification, The Carnegie Mellon Learning Systems Architecture Lab, have made a draft version of the SCORM best practices guide for developers available on their website. The guide is neither normative, nor particularly detailed technically, but is intended to get content developers up to speed on SCORM 1.3 instead.
Learning content. Theirs, yours, mine and ours.
On the 30th of September, MIT's Open Course Ware (OCW) initiative will make the first batch of MIT learning resources available to the world. Free of charge. On the other side of the pond, the CELEBRATE project has just started to establish a digital repository to see, among many other things, what kind of model will generate a viable stock of learning objects for Europe's schools. Meanwhile, projects like the universal brokerage project and the UK's National Learning Network (NLN) are maturing nicely. The question that arises, then, is where all that learning content is going to come from, and, more importantly, who is going to make it.
Not one but two compelling entries on Jay Cross' blog (there's also The Business of learning objects. He's been to the Learning Object Symposium, and reports on the pretty fundamental discussions on the wisdom of learning objects that took place there. "NETg's Brendon Towle noted that SCORM is inadquate because, among other things
- SCORM only supports single learner/single LO configs,
- No way to produce complex sequences of LOs (yet)
- No inter-LO communications (sims)
- No concept of pedagogy at all
Learnwise 2 VLE presented at ALT-C conference
Granada Learning announced the availability of LearnWise 2 server --a new virtual learning environment (VLE)-- at the ALT-C 2002 conference in Sunderland.
Consolidation continues: Skillsoft and Smartforce merge
In the widely predicted period of consolidation in the e-learning software market, two of the largest vendors have just completed a merger.
Macromedia presents Authorware 6.5, cuts education pricing in the US
Macromedia will make a new version of Authorware available at the end of September. Main changes include better accessibility tools and extensive XML support. Meanwhile, deeper discounts are offered to US educational volume buyers.
Technologies for Education: Potential, Parameters and Prospects
Important link picked up from Stephen's Web. It is a UNESCO online book on technology and education in its broadest sense, with articles on topics ranging from deploying interactive radio to wide range ICT for education trend analysis. "This monograph is firmly rooted in a vision of education that begins with the learner and attempts to understand how technological tools can better contribute to educational goals."
Getting smart with e-learning
Article at the Sydney Morning Herald that outlines an intriguing elearning system that focusses on flexibility and AI in delivery, sequencing and file formats. The Java software has been trialled in a few places, so it doesn't seem complete vaporware.
Bringing Affective Behavior to e-Learning
Thorough essay on Technology Source about the role of affective factors in on-line learning. The piece also outlines a project that attempts to improve the affective aspect by integrating static and synchronous media in to the 'unibrowser'. "Unfortunately, CMSs have few features to 3upport the affective role. How can the twinkle in your eye be transmitted via text?"
Simulation may be the e-learning "killer app"
Summary of a Gartner report into the use of simulations in e-learning. "By 2006, 70 percent of all off-the-shelf and custom e-learning content will include some application of simulations (0.8 probability). "
Bridging the Tech-Education Gap
Wired article on the potential gap between parents' and educators' enthusiasm for computer technology in schools. "It takes a lot more than computers to make a good classroom. Parents, unfortunately, still don't have the message."
Q&A with Don Norman
Extensive elearningmagazine interview with Don Norman, the useability guru. "Instructional design refers to a particular philosophy of setting your goals upfront and making sure there are various metrics. And what I’ve seen is very uninspiring. It’s all very logical-- and the courses are horrible."
Theory & Practice: Learning Content Management Systems
Straightforward and concise article on the benefits of using LCMS. " To fully realize the benefits of e-learning, many companies have found "a better way" by using a Learning Content Management System (LCMS) to rapidly author, deploy and manage e-learning content."
The Survey Of Distance & Cyberlearning Programs In Higher Education, 2002 Edition
Useful summary at distance-educator.com of an extensive and expensive survey of e-learning in US higher education. "Despite some setbacks in the mass marketing of distance learning programs, the survey results show continued astounding growth in the higher education distance learning market"
Ed-Tech Crusaders Seek D.C. Bucks
Article at Wired about a very ambitious iniative to set up a federal investment trust for education along the lines of the NSF or DARPA: the Digital Opportunity Investment Trust. "It would also pay for the digitizing of all materials in the country's museums, libraries and universities, and would make these resources more available to the general public"
IMS Special Briefing: Standards & Specifications in E-learning
Following the Open Technical Forum on Thursday the 26th of September, IMS will organise two open sessions on e-learning standards on Friday 27th. The morning track is intended for managers and end users and the afternoon track is aimed at developers.
Lancaster team present evaluation engine for e-learning resource brokerage platform.
A team from the Department of Communication systems at Lancaster University developed an evaluation engine that helps rank e-learning resources in the "Universal Brokerage Platform for Learning Resources".
W3C releases a raft of new XQuery and XPath documents.
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has updated draft specs for XML Path and XML Query language specs, data models and use cases.
Building Communities--Strategies for Collaborative Learning
Practical how-to on the importance of community in e-learning. "Communities are a way to elicit and share practical know-how that would otherwise remain untapped."
Study shows no demonstrable link between choice of MLE and educational approach.
A team of Dutch researchers investigated the relation between various educational approaches (e.g. traditional, guided learning, active learning and experience-based learning) and the design and use of different virtual learning environments (VLE). Conclusion: it's not really possible to map an educational approach to a specific type of VLE.
Stephen Downes is reporting live from the Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison, Wisconsin. Today's report deals with new directions in Content Development and Delivery as well as the Elaboration of Learning Environments.
CertMag's Guide to e-Learning
Basic, but useful introduction to the e-learning industry. "Confusion concerning e-learning comes from using the word “e-learning” to describe anything and everything within this very young industry."
MS Word to SCORM converter tool demonstrated
At ADL's plugfest 6, Recombo inc successfully demonstrated Convertor for Word; a tool that helps convert MS Word or .rtf documents into SCORM 1.2 compliant sharable content.
Wanted: Web-Savvy Schooling
Report of a study that shows that US high schoolers want teaching to be more web-aware. "Restrictive content filters, usage policies and time constraints discourage Internet use at school."
Many Outputs — Many Inputs: XML for Publishers and E-book Designers
Thorough essay on the XML assumption of one content, many formats. "The specific design principles of different media often give characteristic texts, which mean one cannot use these texts in just any environment without changing them."
SCORM 1.3 development update.
Following plugfest 6, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), the custodians of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), revealed a few more details of what will be included in the SCORM version 1.3 application profile.
UK learning and skills council report on elearning released
The Distributed and Electronic Learning Group (DELG) has published a final report into the role of the Learning and Skills Council (LSC) in relation to e-learning. The report was commissioned by the LSC.
What Is "Usable" e-Learning?
In depth, thought provoking article on usability. It considers learning in relation to different task goals. I.e. it goes much further than just good interface design.
5th Educational Content SIG Meeting
IMS releases public draft version 1.0 of the Digital Repositories Interoperability specification.
The Digital Repositories Interoperability (DRI) spec allows Managed Learning System (MLE) users to search, gather and expose various learning objects that are stored in repositories. It also allows people to submit, store and request them, and the resources delivered. And all of this from a spec that doesn't actually specify very much.
New UK governmental e-learning standards body proposed.
An initiative to set up a new e-learning standards conformance authority for the UK has been launched. The authority's remit would consist of the drawing up of application profiles that are based on a core of international e-learning interoperability specifications and the testing of applications' conformance to these profiles.
Who Needs Paper? Not Iowa College
Interesting outline at Wired of an attempt to create a paperless college. "But in reality, students often print articles for their class, preferring to read on paper rather than on the computer –- especially if they are in a hurry"
The Prometeus conference in Paris has two major aims: 'Improving Learning through Technology' and 'Opportunities for All'.
Experts question SCORM's pedagogic value
Is the underlying model behind SCORM actually useful for teaching and learning? This is the question raised in an article at Online Learning Magazine, with input from a number of US learning experts.
The bottom line: effective learning versus low per unit cost.
In a scathing article at E-learning magazine, consultant Frank L. Greenagel attacks the current state of the art in e-learning. He argues that an obsession with low unit cost and a disregard for learning effectiveness has led to courses that are interoperable but "puerile, boring and of unknown or doubtful effectiveness".
IBM demos SCORM 1.3 sequencing engine
IMS outline future plans at London meeting
At a meeting of vendors in London organised by JISC, Colin Smythe of IMS outlined some of the specification consortium's plans for the coming year, including recommendation on transport protocols, and a brand new content specification.
ALT Workshop 'Using XML for Educational Content Management'
Content Interoperability Conference
The National Learning Network and the University of East London will be holding an interoperability conference on the 11th and 12th of July 2002. The event will focus on the practical implications of adopting IMS and ADL (SCORM) specifications for the development of learning materials. There will be time to try out learning materials within a Virtual Learning Environment and discuss the implementation of the specifications.
IMS Learning Design specification clears first hurdle
The IMS Learning Design specification has passed the first stage in the process of being released by IMS.
CampusSource - a European OKI?
CampusSource is an open-source initiative from Germany, with strong parallels with MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative.
ADL release updated sample run-time environment for SCORM 1.2
The Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADLNet) have released a new version of its Sample Run-Time Environment (RTE) for SCORM 1.2.
JISC announce new round of FE college interoperability projects
JISC, the UK's Joint Information Systems Committee, has published an invitation for proposals to conduct interoperability projects in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The projects will use IMS specifications to provide interoperability between components of college Managed Learning Environments (MLEs), for example between a student record system and a virtual learning environment.
Can Studios demo new authoring tool and player
Can Studios are providing an online preview of their new Canvas Learning suite, comprising a visual editor (Canvas Learning Author) and a player for browser-based or standalone delivery of IMS QTI content (Canvas Learning Player).
IMS Release Simple Sequencing Specification
The IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS) have released a new specification tackling the issue of connecting learning objects using sequencing rules.
UK Colleges report on interoperability pilot projects
The final reports from the Further Education colleges participating in a set of JISC-funded interoperability pilot projects have been published.
Dutch event shows way forward for authoring EML
A few weeks ago a conference was held in the Netherlands attended by various educational and commercial organisations interested in the Educational Modelling Language, developed by the Open University of the Netherlands.
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.
Content Packaging interoperability tests reveal room for improvement
The CETIS Educational Content Special Interest Group (EC-SIG) recently carried out a set of interoperability experiments to see how well different tools handled IMS Content Packages.
Wolverhampton-based Learning Lab to establish ADL partnered laboratory in UK
The Learning Lab at the University of Wolverhampton has completed a deal to establish an eLearning laboratory in partnership with the National Guard Bureau and ADL, the Advanced Distributed Learning Network responsible for the SCORM specification.
Making SCORM objects truly sharable - the Dynamic Appearance Model
Canada's Department of National Defence (DND) have released a white paper proposing methods for reusing content while retaining the organisation's "house style". The intention is that sharing SCORM objects between different organisations is made easier and more effective by dynamically altering the appearance of the material without changing its content.
K-12 and Rights Management take Centre Stage at IMS Forum
The first IMS open technical forum meeting for 2002 was held on February 27 in Sydney, Australia. Among the issues brought to the fore included interoperability in schools or in the K-12 sector, and rights management for digital resources.
IMS seek feedback on Digital Rights Management
The IMS Global Learning Consortium has opened a forum to gather opinions on digital rights management. The focus of debate is a briefing paper submitted by IPR Systems and the Australian IMS Centre.
Technology Source interviews MIT's Phil Long on the Open Knowledge and Open Courseware Initiatives
The Technology Source website recently carried an interview with Phil Long - "the senior strategist for the Academic Computing Enterprise at MIT" - about the Open Knowledge and Open Courseware initiatives at MIT.
University of Michigan unearths digital 'pearls' with OAIster
The University of Michigan has begun work on a project to make previously difficult-to-access digital resources easily available - and the project will use the metadata harvesting specification produced by the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) to make it happen.
SCORM 1.2 Conformance Test Suite released
The self-testing suite for conformance to SCORM version 1.2 has been released by the Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADLNet).
Finnish universities release free VLE with support for Educational Modelling Language (EML)
Fle3 is a new open-source web-based learning environment. FLE builds upon the open-source content management platform ZOPE (the platform used to deliver the CETIS website). Fle3 is also notable for being one of the first third-party applications to develop support for the Educational Modeling Language (EML) developed by the Open University of the Netherlands
ePrints release update of free self-archiving software
ePrints, the self-archiving software that uses the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) metadata-harvesting standards, has a new version released this month.
Re-inventing the Wheel? Standards, Interoperability, and Digital Cultural Content
Interesting item by Tony Gill and UKOLN's Paul Miller in D-Lib Magazine.
Macromedia to support .NET and XML-based web services in next generation of products
Macromedia has announced broad support for Web services and Microsoft's .NET architecture. This support will feature in new releases of its DreamWeaver UltraDev and ColdFusion products.
CEN report progress towards a standardised Educational Modelling Language (EML)
CEN, the European Committee For Standardization, has released the second of its "eBrochures" on learning technology, describing European progress towards a standard markup language to describe learning activities.
Yahoo! enter the VLE market
Yahoo! have entered the VLE market, developing their Yahoo!Groups service into a course development and student communication tool.
Xtend release SCORM-compliant Learning Management System
US company Xtend have released Xtention, a Learning Management System (LMS) that complies with ADLNet's Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification.
Tools for implementors
A good way to get an understanding of standards and specifications in eLearning is to try using them - and for that you need some tools to work with. Thankfully, there are other universities and colleges doing exactly the same thing, and have built their own toolkits you can use to get you started.
JISC to fund standards-compliant tools and services as part of X4L programme
The UK's Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has issued a call for proposals under its Exchange For Learning (X4L) programme, including development of tools that support specifications such as IMS and SCORM.
OUNL conference on EML authoring and content management
The Educational Technology Expertise Centre of the Dutch Open University is staging a three-day conference on EML authoring and content management environments. This is in response to interest shown in EML since the public release of EML v1.0 in December 2000.
Microsoft release LRN 3.0 Toolkit, supporting IMS Content Packaging, IMS Metadata and SCORM
Microsoft has released a new Toolkit for working with content packages and metadata, and initial reactions by users have been very positive.
Perot Systems to release EML Player in Q3
Perot Systems is planning to launch a player for courses developed using the EML (Educational Modelling Language) in the second half of 2002.
Authoring EML: OUNL announces conference
In response to the widespread interest shown in its Educational Modelling Language (EML), the Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) have announced a conference on authoring courseware in EML.
Click2Learn update Aspen, add SCORM 1.2 support
Click2Learn have released Aspen 1.1. Among other changes, the new version of the "Enterprise Learning Platform" claims support for version 1.2 of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification.
QuestionMark, Blackboard build bridges with Building Blocks
QuestionMark, vendors of the Perception assessment suite, announced an agreement with Blackboard to provide interoperability between their respective products using Blackboard's Building Blocks programme.
Click2Learn support SCORM 1.2
Click2Learn have announced their support for the latest version of ADL's Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) specification in its Aspen and ToolBook products.
University of Glasgow release IMS report
A report entitled "Testing IMS in Real Contexts: Implementing IMS Specifications, Implications and Best Practice" has been published by the University of Glasgow.
ADL release conformance test suite for SCORM 1.2
The Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADLNet) have released a beta version of its conformance test suite for SCORM 1.2.
WebCT supports open portal standard
WebCT have announced support for uPortal, an open standard for campus portals.
Macromedia assist developers with accessibility resources
Macromedia have released a free Accessibility and e-Learning Solutions Kit for Flash, eLearning Studio and Dreamweaver.
Take an online course in SCORM
An online course by Edward Jones covering ADL' Sharable Content Object Reference Model specification is available for free online.
IMS release Content Packaging, Metadata errata updates
IMS Global Learning Consortium have released two minor updates to their Content Packaging and Metadata specifications to correct minor schema discrepancies and other bugs.
Simple Sequencing is 'no longer simple'
Brandt Darque of Boeing reports on the progress of the Simple Sequencing working group at IMS San Francisco.
IMS Learning Design considers EML-IMS hybrid
The IMS Learning Design Working Group report on their progress, including the consideration of a new integrated EML-IMS proposal.
New IMS Content Package Editor update
The University of Edinburgh have released version 1.1 of their IMS Content Package Editor.
SCORM self-test upgrade
ADL have released a new version (1.1.2) of the self-test conformance suite for SCORM 1.1.
Cisco to work with OUNL on EML, eLearning research
The Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Cisco Systems, Inc. to "build a string strategic relationship for developing and deploying e-learning environments".
THINQ and Macromedia integrate products using AICC, SCORM
THINQ have announced a new partnership with Macromedia to ensure content created using CourseBuilder for Dreamweaver can be used in its TrainingServer learning management system (LMS).
Knowledgelinx announces new authoring tool
Knowledgelinx have announced the release of its ROCKET Builder authoring software, a browser-based application for developing content.
Blackboard pave road ahead with Building Blocks
Blackboard has rolled out its Building Blocks initiative for extending the Blackboard platform. Third party vendors – and users – can now write plug-in applications and services using the Blackboard API. What will this mean for open standards - and the future shape of the eLearning market?
IMS Open Technical Forum
IMS Open event at Palo Alto, California.
Edinburgh team release open-source IMS content package editor
Earlier this month the UK IMS Content Packaging and Management project at the University of Edinburgh released an editor for working with IMS Content Packages.
NYUOnline release SCORM-compliant learning content management system
iAuthor is the new learning content management system (LCMS) from NYUOnline. iAuthor publishes learning objects on the web using customisable "skins" and templates to create consistent look-and-feel.
Giunti announce new learning content management platform with strong emphasis on standards
Italian publisher Giunti Interactive Labs have announced a new learning content management system (LCMS) conforming to IMS, SCORM, and other specifications.
IMS release white paper on accessibility
Reflecting renewed international interest in issues of access to eLearning - inspired at least partly by legislative changes in the US - the IMS Global Learning Consortium has released a white paper on accessibility for learning applications.
Gluing learning applications together with SOAP
In our previous article on architectures for learning systems we talked about some of the ways that different standards-compliant programs could be connected using "services". In this article we look at what kinds of services we might use in education systems and take a more detailed look at SOAP, one of the technologies that may be used to implement them.
Europe focuses on EML
Delegates from around Europe converged on Turin, northern Italy this month to discuss educational modelling languages (EMLs): technologies that attempt to model the learning process and not just learning content.
Education community advises European Commission on standards, open source, and learner profiles
The European Commission's IST Programme has launched an open consultation process to discuss the research and policy priorities in the area of "technology supported learning". So where do standards and specifications fit in?
Plateau upgrades LMS
Plateau Systems released version 4 of their Learning Management System, incorporating AICC and SCORM support.
ADL release SCORM v1.2
The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Co-Laboratory have released version 1.2 of SCORM, the reference specification for sharable content objects for learning. The new release incorporates IMS Content Packaging and IEEE Learning Object Metadata.
The semantic web: How RDF will change learning technology standards
The field of learning technology has entered a phase of intense work on standardization of learning technology descriptions of various kinds. Most of the work so far has focused on XML as the encoding language for such specifications (e.g. IMS, IEEE-LOM and SCORM).
However, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is putting their energy into another model for computerized descriptions, called Resource Description Framework, RDF, which is the foundation for the Semantic Web vision of Tim Berners-Lee.
This raises important question regarding the future of learning technologies: In what way might RDF be useful for learning technology specifications? In what sense does RDF represent the future of meta-data, and how does this affect learning technology?
The next wave: CETIS interviews Mikael Nilsson about the Edutella project
We are in the midst, it seems, of a quiet revolution in computing. The technologies that built the internet, with its giant server farms and gigabyte databases, are giving way to a new wave of distributed technologies. After the furore over music network Napster dies down, we are seeing a new generation of projects in the education field taking up the peer-to-peer challenge of building distributed, "democratic" learning technology.
One of the most interesting new projects out there is Edutella, an attempt to create a distributed web for learning metadata making use of emerging standards. We talked to Mikael Nilsson about the project, and what the future holds.
Centra upgrades CentraOne, adds SCORM content
Centra have released version 5.2 of its eLearning system CentraOne. One of the key features of the new release is support for Centra Knowledge Catalog, a content repository solution that can be used with SCORM-compliant learning resources.
Digital repositories: IMS releases white paper
The IMS Global Learning Consortium has published a white paper on digital repositories for learning objects and other assets. The paper, by the IMS Digital Repositories working group, describes the digital repositories "problem space", and takes a look at some of the implementations of repositories from around the world.
IMS Meta-data, Content Packaging & Enterprise: An advanced technology course
Course from IMS giving an in-depth explanation of the key IMS specifications that support the exchange of content and course information.
IMS Meta-data, Content Packaging & Enterprise: An introductory course
An introductory course by IMS on specifications that support the exchange of content and course information.
Macromedia announces availability of eLearning Studio, Authorware 6
Macromedia's latest eLearning content development solutions, offering compliance with ADL, IMS and AICC specifications, are now available for purchase.
New SCORM release will incorporate IMS specifications
The Advanced Distributed Learning Network (ADL) is due to release a new version of the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) in the next few weeks, incorporating two IMS specifications.
IMS takes EML as starting point for new specification
The IMS Global Consortium has approved a document defining the scope of its Learning Design working group, with Educational Modelling Language (EML) as the possible basis for a future IMS Learning Design specification.
OUNL spins off EML player to Perot Systems
The Open University of the Netherlands (OUNL) has awarded a tender for the "further deployment and commercialisation" of Edubox, its EML rendering software, to Perot Systems.
Click2Learn unveils Aspen
Click2Learn have released the Aspen Enterprise Learning Platform, what it is heralding as "the industry's first comprehensive and unified e-Learning infrastructure".
Educational Modelling Languages on the European agenda
CEN/ISSS have commissioned a survey of Educational Modelling Languages (EMLs), with the possible eventual intention of proposing a European standard.
CEN/ISSS workshop on learning technologies
At the beginning of October, a CEN/ISSS workshop on learning technologies is being held in Turin. One of the key events at this meeting will be work on Educational Modelling Languages (EMLs).
IMS Meta-data, Content Packaging & Enterprise: An introductory course
Course for managers and users on IMS metadata, content packaging and enterprise.
New SCORM self-test suite released
ADL have released a new version of its conformance-testing suite. The suite enables organisations to test their own applications and content for SCORM 1.1 compatibility.
ADL Plugfest 5
Plugfest brings together adopters of the SCORM specification to experiment and demonstrate interoperability of content from many sources over multiple learning management systems and from separate organizations.
Evaluators sought for new content packaging tutorial
The JISC funded IMS Content Packaging and Management Project are seeking volunteers to evaluate their online tutorial on the development of reusable educational resources.
EU Open Consultation on technology-supported learning
Workshop for the EU Open Consultation process to discuss the Research and Policy challenges and priorities in the area of "technology supported learning". The aim of the Workshop is to animate the discussion among the participants on the topics of the Consultation.
The next big thing? Three architectural frameworks for learning technologies
A key event at the IMS symposium in Ottawa on August 2001 was a panel on Architectural Frameworks. Representatives from IMS, MIT’s Open Knowledge Initiative, and Carnegie Mellon University put forward three ways that learning systems of the future could be designed.
Canadian Forces ADL lab to investigate look-and-feel issues in SCORM
The Canadian Department of National Defence announce the setting up of a test laboratory to conduct research and development on SCORM.
IMS and ADL to collaborate on sequencing, provide free software
IMS announces the setting up of a new fast-track working group to tackle sequencing. ADL promise free compliant sequencing software to follow.
IMS Working Groups Report Progress
The symposium provided IMS with an opportunity to report on the progress made on specifications by its working groups.
Comment & Analysis: Why Context Is King
While the delivery of content to the learner continues to be a major theme at IMS, last week’s IMS events saw the emergence of learning context as its counterpoint. This feature takes a look at some of the ways educational context is making an impact on the development of learning technology.
CeLT announces new content packaging tool
The Centre For Learning Technology (CeLT) announced this week that they will release PackageIt!, a new IMS-compliant content packaging tool in the coming months.
IMS, Oracle announce free iLearning classes
IMS and Oracle are making freely available three online courses covering IMS standards.
IMS Releases Content Packaging 1.1.2 specification
This month the IMS Global Learning Consortium released version 1.1.2 of its content packaging specification.
Macromedia releases eLearning Studio with support for LT standards
Macromedia, creators of popular web content creation tools Dreamweaver and Flash, today announced the release of eLearning Studio. The new package combines version 6 of learning content creation tool Authorware with Dreamweaver 4 and Flash 5, and claims support for ADL, AICC and IMS standards.
CETIS special interest groups meet in Bangor
On the 23rd and 24th of July, representatives of the CETIS Special Interest Groups (SIGs) met at the University of Wales, Bangor. The meeting allowed SIGs to report on what has been happening in their areas of interest, and to discuss ideas with other CETIS members.
CETIS Workshop at ALT-C 2001
On Monday 10 September CETIS will be holding a one day pre-conference workshop at the ALT-C 2001 conference in Edinburgh.
New utility helps WebCT users share learning content
Vendors of integrated learning systems WebCT have released a new utility that allows users to import or export content from WebCT's e-learning system in an IMS-compliant format.
IMS, ADL and MIT agree to work together
On July 11, 2001 - Leaders of the MIT's Open Knowledge Initiative (OKI), the Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab (ADL), and the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS) issued a joint press release announcing their intention to cooperate to "close the gap between innovative pedagogical technology and production learning resources."
MIT and the Open Courseware Initiative
MIT make their materials freely available and begin to develop Open Source tools for learning.