Teaching Technology through MUVE

Following the MUVEnation project (MUVE: Multi-User Virtual Environments)

Quick overview of SCORM 2004

Posted by slandete on Wednesday, January 28, 2009

SCORM 2004 is the most used standard (best thing about standards? everybody has one) for e-Learning, it was designed by the ADL initiative and must be used for all the web-based learning content of the Department of Defense of the United States.

The idea behind it is that learning contents that follow this format are easily found (via the use of meta-data) and interpreted and can be modified and reused by anyone… who understands SCORM 2004. Fortunately there are tools and you don’t have to worry that much about syntax and the like.

Editing is easy since meaningful content is packed into units of knowledge (called SCOs) that have meaning on their own but do not depend on others. This “atoms” of content can be joined in any form to organize sessions, didactic units or even whole courses.

Exchange of this type of documents among teachers avoids constantly re-inventing the wheel and facilitates enriching from other’s experiences. Right now every teacher lives on an island and collaborates only with those in his department or other close colleagues. If the standard is used, teachers would have access to materials prepared  many other teachers.

Now to the more technical side. SCORM is an acronym for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. 2 parts:

  1. SCO (Shareable Content Object) is like an atom of learning content, the smallest possible unit of learning that has meaning. SCOs can be combined to create study units or even full courses.
  2. RM (Reference Model) means that the standard describes the interaction between the SCOs and the system that manages them.

SCOs must be:

  • Durable: minimum upgrading required over time.
  • Interoperable: managed by many systems.
  • Accessible: can be easily found via tagging.
  • Reusable: units should be small and with independent content.

Creation process:

  1. Create Assets: electronic media with learning content, in any format.
  2. Describe the assets adding meta-data that complies the IEEE standard.
  3. Create the package Manifest, which packs the SCOs into a structure.
  4. Add sequencing rules and controls to the Manifest.
  5. Upload it to a repository, like Merlot or the Exchange repository of Moodle.

You can also download SCOs or full courses from those sources and modify, join or delete them to tailor your needs.

The ADL provides tools for creation, but I favour eXe since it is multiplatform and open source. There is another tool called RELOAD, which is a bit more difficult to use but provides extra functionality.

Ecamples of Learning contents:

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