Do We Need SCORM?
By Glynn Jung, Non-Executive Director
At a recent CEdMA Europe I was asked “what use is SCORM going to be in the future?”
Now, as this was in a discussion group composed entirely of the commercial Training Services divisions of the top IT hardware & software companies in Europe with a historically important revenue stream from Certification products, the question was pretty loaded.
I’d been reporting on trends amongst my clients who have recently been questioning the automatic assumption that all e-learning content must be (a) SCORM compliant, ensuring tracking and reporting and (b) delivered on an learning management system (LMS) of one sort or another.
We’ve been seeing a new philosophy developing, one which suggests that not all learning needs to be tracked: certainly personal development programmes falling out of performance reviews should be recorded and reported, as should continuing professional development (CPD) and certification or accreditation status. But with the certified/accredited status… effectively “license to operate” stuff, there’s a growing consensus that it’s the official assessment that matters and that SCORM hinders the design of engaging, effective learning programmes.
We know that those brilliant people at Rustici (www.scorm.com) are forging ahead with “Project Tin Can”, (essentially research of the ADL Consortium into next generation SCORM, including “Is there a need for a new SCORM?”) and that they regularly post new information on research and development, but they’ve recently launched their cloud version of IMS BLTI. BLTI provides a simple way for LMS users to incorporate remote tools into their system.
SCORM is underutilised in the education market. This is partly because the tracking that SCORM provides hasn’t always been valued in academic circles the way it is in corporate circles.
While it’s unlikely that Rustici will drop out of the world of SCORM, it’s clear also that IMS – including the MTI guidelines – and AICC are coming back into the picture as organisations choose to separate eLearning from mastery assessment and concentrate on assessment and learning as separate design activities.
In my own clients I am further seeing the use of pre-test or test-prep versions of the assessment, which includes feedback to the learner, whilst the master assessment simply posts either a Pass or Fail (or final marking) to SCORM.
Finally some of my clients involved in commercial certification and accreditation services are now discussing whether or not to make the e-learning content free-to-download or use online, whilst concentrating on enhancing the design and value of the assessments, which will then become as the principle revenue earning products.