LETSI Scores Global Response to SCORM 2.0 Initiative

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LETSI, the International Federation for Learning, Education, and Training Systems Interoperability, has seen a huge international response to its July solicitation for input on the future of eLearning and the next generation of SCORM.

LETSI, the International Federation for Learning, Education, and Training Systems Interoperability, has seen a huge international response to its July solicitation for input on the future of eLearning and the next generation of SCORM. SCORM, the Sharable Content Object Reference Model, is the de facto international software standard for learning systems interoperability. Ninety-five formal white papers were submitted and posted for public comment at http://www.letsi.org/scorm2. Informal comments and suggestions from emails and blog posts were also accumulated and posted on the wiki.

Contributions came from government, academic, and industry experts in the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Latin America. "We are pleased to see such a diverse group of industries coming together with LETSI to solve interoperability challenges. This global effort clearly demonstrates the industry's commitment and its desire to see a universal, collaborative effort to support the future of SCORM," stated Peter Lefkin, COO/CFO of the IEEE's Industry Standards and Technology Organization (ISTO).

LETSI is a new international consortium chartered to develop technologies that promote the advancement of teaching, learning, and job training. The SCORM 2.0 Initiative is its first public activity - updating the 10-year-old standard. As papers were being posted over the summer, the LETSI wiki came alive with readers analyzing and commenting on the papers - and then responding to each other's comments. "This is the way Web 2.0 is supposed to work," said Avron Barr, LETSI's Communications Chair. "There is no single solution to the many barriers that have slowed technology's impact on education and job training, compared to its impact in other areas of our lives. Reaching out to the SCORM community, with all its diversity and expertise, has saved us a year or two in understanding the requirements for the next SCORM."

The solicitation of ideas, suggestions, use cases, and proposed solutions is the first step in fully involving the learning, education, and training community to address the challenges that lay ahead. The SCORM 2.0 process will continue through the year. A 57-person Program Committee is responsible for making sure that all of the white papers and discussion threads are analyzed, and will then organize LETSI's SCORM 2.0 Requirements Workshop, October 15-17, 2008 in Pensacola, Florida. "The focus is on meeting user needs and then looking at technological solutions to support them," explained Valerie Smothers, Deputy Director of MedBiquitous, a LETSI Founding Sponsor.

The Workshop, which is already sold out, is a working meeting where experts will discuss priorities and alternatives and begin to set a road map for SCORM 2.0. Participants have diverse backgrounds, including software architecture design, instructional design, systems deployment, and advanced learning technologies. In addition, they come from diverse eLearning communities: military training, K-12 education, higher education, healthcare certification, corporate training, and aviation training. Mike Rustici of Rustici Software, Co-Chair of the Program Committee, explained, "This is not your typical conference or seminar. Presentations and tutorials will not be the focus; instead, we'll engage in structured activities designed to bring about a multi-perspective view of the future requirements for SCORM."

LETSI advocates open processes for software standards. The wiki and all of the papers and discussions are open to the public. "We look forward to having the international learning, education, and training community involved. The use cases and thoughts brought forward, both informally and formally in the white papers, demonstrate we have much work to do," added Jungsub Yun from the Korea Institute of Electronic Commerce, another LETSI Founding Sponsor.

The International Federation for Learning-Education-Training Systems Interoperability, is a non-profit consortium of e-learning associations, standards bodies, successful adopters, and product and services vendors. LETSI, which is organized as an IEEE-ISTO program, promotes the advancement of teaching, learning, and job training through technology and believes that open software standards and an open source software community are key to the future of learning technology. A central goal is the harmonization of the work done across the diverse e-learning market, including K-12 education, higher education, corporate training, and professional education and certification. LETSI has initiated an open requirements gathering effort for SCORM 2.0 at http://www.letsi.org/scorm2.


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Tyde Richards, LETSI Secretariat
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