This blog post is written by our partner Course Merchant who is hosting a series of free face-to-face workshops – The Rise and Rise of Online Learning – that talks attendees through the latest technology being used by training organizations, shows hands-on examples of what this tech can do, and teaches ways of evaluating its use for businesses.
When learning content is in digital format, it would be of limited use if it had to be rebuilt differently for each and every LMS out there. If that were the case, you’d have a course or module that worked on Moodle but didn’t work on Brightspace, or one that worked just fine on Blackboard but wouldn’t play nice with Canvas.
To overcome this problem, certain standards have been developed which allow content to be portable between LMSs. Most eLearning authoring software can format your courses into one or more of these standards, ready to be uploaded to your LMS.
Here is a quick overview of the eLearning content distribution standards out there today.
This stands for Aviation Industry Computer-based training Committee. The aviation industry was an early adopter of eLearning and was the first to produce a content portability standard. It’s a bit dated now but still used. AICC is robust, straightforward, and good at tracking learners’ progress through courses. These days you are more likely to encounter SCORM – see next.
This is a very common standard for content distribution, especially quizzes and video. A SCORM package will be recognised by most LMSs and can be added to a course easily. The SCORM standard was developed by the US military, who built upon the work of the AICC. It allows students to progress in a linear fashion through a course and bookmark where they are when taking breaks. It produces useful data like course progress, completion status, assessment scores, percentages, points gained, how many times a course has been accessed, and even the time spent on each screen. SCORM stands for Shared Content Object Reference Model. For more on SCORM, see here.
xAPI is short for Experience API. This standard is a successor to SCORM that allows learning data to be produced not just by an LMS, but from almost any learning experience – online or offline. Learning experiences as diverse as borrowing a library book, watching a video, attending a lecture, playing an educational game, engaging in a forum discussion, and, yes, taking an eLearning course or module on an LMS, can all be recorded by xAPI and stored in a Learning Record Store (LRS). It provides more detailed learning data than SCORM and also works on mobile devices.
xAPI’s adoption is growing, and it is set to be a standard for the future. It is also known casually as ‘Tin Can API’, after the codename of the project that developed it. For a deeper explanation, see here. Also, to learn more about xAPI in the Moodle LMS ecosystem, check out this post.
H5P was developed separately from the other three standards we’re looking at here. It’s a web-based content collaboration framework that makes it easy to create, share, and reuse interactive content like videos, quizzes, interactive presentations, and more. For more on H5P, see here.
If you can make it to a Course Merchant workshop, you’ll use these standards hands-on as you create learning materials and upload them to an LMS to see them working in real-time.