Working Together With AICC

by Jonathan Poltrack

I’m really happy to announce that, as of today, our Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Technical Team is beginning a joint effort with the Aviation Industry CBT Committee (AICC) that will update the CMI Data Model. This effort, along with Project Tin Can, furthers the Future Learning Experience Project.

Many of you know that the SCORM Run-Time Data Model is based on the IEEE Standard for Learning Technology – Data Model for Content to Learning Management System Communication specification (1484.11.1™). However, what is slightly less known is that the IEEE Data Model was created from the AICC CMI Data Model used by AICC.

For those new to ADL or the data model, the SCORM Run-Time Data Model contains data model elements such as “cmi.learner_name” that can be used while the learner is experiencing content. Data model elements, at their simplest, are used to personalize content and to set values such as scores. They can also be used to track time, display comments and messages, and to indicate different phases in the ADL temporal model (for example, a new attempt).

So, what is the new project? ADL and AICC are setting out to accomplish several goals. Through this combined effort, we will:

  1. Attempt to harmonize two disparate learning environments (SCORM and HACP) through a common future platform.
  2. Evaluate the possibility of a “core” set of data model elements that can be used by the ADL and AICC communities.
  3. Establish buy-in with our industry partners, thus creating critical mass in adoption.

And most importantly…

  1. Create an extensible data model that can be modified without revisiting the base specification.

Why is that so important? We see the work that goes into Future Learning Experiences as a means to support Personal Learning Environments. As we move forward with our technical research and development on any number of supporting technologies, we will look at new APIs, new launch models, and new content types that are adaptable based on a learner’s profile and competencies.

We have already identified new data model elements required for a new type of service-based API. A data model extension mechanism gives the ability to create these elements, in an interoperable manner, on the fly. In addition, verticals, like the healthcare industry, will be able to create a common set of data model elements used across the industry without “overloading” the existing model.

So, you see, goal #4 (above) is a first step in transitioning SCORM to a new learning platform. It enables flexibility that was never designed into the models currently used by the community and, due to this flexibility, it enables a new type of learning architecture.

Another benefit to the new CMI work is that it contains the ability to address many common problems with the communication between learning management systems (LMSs) and content that is conformant to a legacy version of the SCORM. One common issue in the community today is the confusion around the multiple versions of the specification.

We intend to create an extension model such that content can be used with an adapter, enabling content to run in a newer or older version of an LMS with little to no modification. This issue alone plagues many people, so we are striving to address this problem in direct support of the Future Learning Experience Project.

Stay tuned here for updates and visit ADLnet.gov for information on the status of our joint AICC/ADL CMI effort along with information on how you can participate.

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