Not a new idea, but one that took a few decisive steps this week in a series of meetings in London: the moving of the SCORM educational content format out of the US Department of Defense’s ADL initiative, and into something that reflects the current SCORM user community. The parents will continue to cough up some fees, and provide a home if necessary, but would rather SCORM found its own way now.
The ’something that reflects the current SCORM user community’ is, of course, the crucial bit. A prospectus for such a something (LETSI- Learning, Education & Training Systems Interoperability) was introduced to coalesce thinking about the issue at the meetings. That prospectus tentatively assumed that LETSI would be a new, stand-alone organisation. Another acronym to put on the pile, if you like.
This is not universally popular, for the obvious reason that the education technology interoperability sphere is plenty fragmented as it is. Australia’s DEST (Department for Education, Science and Training) makes that point eloquently. In the London event, offers from existing organisations such as IMS to look after a LETSI like set-up where dismissed by the observation that not one of the existing organisations is truly representative of the community that now uses SCORM.
The other point of controversy is whether the organisation is to do more than just SCORM. As the DEST paper indicates, there is no concrete indication of what such work might look like in the prospectus, and the meetings didn’t clarify that further either.
After the meetings, both issues are still relatively open. What was decided was that a strategic and operational charter is to be drawn up by June, for ratification come September, in a meeting parallel to the ISO JTSC 1 SC36 (the educational technology arm of the most formal standards body) quarterly in Toronto. Contributions of time and/or money are solicited- there’ll be more on the adl community site about that.
It’ll be in that process that the heft of LETSI (or some other, better name) and its scope will be decided. It could be an open annual meeting and forum to tweak SCORM and nothing more, or it could be a full bells-and-whistles, big dollar membership organisation that looks at everything to do with education and interoperability, worldwide, etc, etc, etc.
It seems unlikely that we’ll fully escape another acronym, regrettably, but, on the bright side, you could argue that it is in effect a direct swap out of ADL for not-LETSI. That is, from the point of view of the education community, the total acronym population remains constant, but the ecosystem shifted slightly.