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E-learning Specifications & Standards Solvig Norman Open School British Columbia & Edu. Specs Technical Liaison Office and Ann Bowering Multimedia Learning Group Industry Canada AMTEC May 27 th 2003 Montreal
Making Sense of e-Learning Specifications & Standards “The phrase ‘e-learning standards’ is one of the most powerful and most misunderstood aspects of the e-Learning revolution. ” The MASIE Center, 2002 “techno-mumbo-jumbo and engineering speak? ” Rapid growth since 1998 of organizations working to develop specifications and standards for learning technology interoperability.
Piecing all the Concepts Together… Learning Objects Mark-Up Languages Metadata Interoperability Object oriented programming Digital Repositories Standards & Specifications Structured Approach Modular approach Educational Modelling Language
Open School British Columbia - Profile § § § Core business- content development (K-12) Decision to implement structured approach to content development 1996 -1997 Implemented “SGML” as a technology to support content design, development, and delivery Developed “Document Type Definitions” (e. g. , tags) as content framework of defined structure and hierarchy for content development Following and implementing e-learning standards & specifications Why? To Leverage & maximize content
What are SGML/XML? § SGML – Standard Generalized Markup Language § § International standard published in 1986 (ISO 8879: 1986) Used for documentation with high tech and publishing industries Structure and hierarchy of content XML – e. Xtensible Markup Language § § SGML profile for the Web maximize information retrieval and ease of interchange
SGML/XML EXAMPLE What is the structure of the content? Presentation is applied later.
Structure – Course Level Course (Metadata) Module(s) (Metadata) Section(s) (Metadata) Learning outcomes (broad) Formal assessment (Metadata) Lesson(s) (Metadata) Learning outcomes (specific) Topic(s) (Metadata) Informal assessment (Metadata) Resources (Metadata)
Repurposing: Addressing Multiple Audiences § § Granular, re-purposed content Multiple Learner profiles Assessment strategies Address multiple standards and learning outcomes Information Technology 11 Teacher Education Program Computer Journeys Elementary Level
Company Profile Open School Before § § Developed content in Word, Quark. Xpress, HTML, other… Cottage industry approach to course design § § § Individual course designers doing their ‘own’ thing Lack of management of content (resided on various computers/servers) Developed “humongous” print-based courses After § § § Developing in SGML/XML (single source) Consistent approach to course design & production (structured approach) Digital management of content Implementing metadata specifications & standards (e. g. , Can. Core) Output to various media § § Import content into different LMS Developing learning objects
Concept of Learning Objects Lego Example Content is seen as “building blocks” Module from one course using ‘chunks’ of content. Module from another course re-purposing ‘chunks’ of content and adding new content.
Learning Object Models § “Ideal” concept Lego § § Small pieces Assemble in many ways All lego blocks fit together Anybody can put Lego together Definitions vary: • “as small as a drop, as wide as the ocean” • the context of how learning objects are used is important • need the “glue” to tie learning objects together to create a meaningful learning experience § Atoms (D. Wiley) § § Small pieces Not every atom is combinable with every other atom Atoms can only be assembled in certain structures prescribed by their own internal structure Some training is required in order to assemble atoms A bit more reality-based concept
Metadata: “Information about Information” § Administrative metadata § Map § Text § Interactive § Image § Video (Learning Object) § Author § Revision date § Rights, . . . § Technical metadata (medium-specific) § Duration § Digital format § Platform requirements, . . . § Subject classification § Catalogue system § Subject heading § Keywords
Digital Repositories… an Analogy Labeling = “Metadata” • Market’s Organic Yogurt (title) • 2% plain yogurt (description) • 500 grams (size) Container of yogurt = ‘learning object’ Refrigerator = ‘Digital Repository’ • A large storage area for objects • Different shapes and sizes and content • Metadata allows for search and retrieval Janet Bartz 2002
Examples of Canadian Learning Object Repositories Campus Alberta Repository of Educational Objects § http: //www. careo. org Learn. Alberta. ca § www. Learn. Alberta. ca Tele. Campus § http: //courses. telecampus. edu/about/index. cfm? fuse action=introduction edu. Source Canada Project § http: //www. edusource. ca/
The Australian Experience § § § § The [email protected] Federation Project (TLF), Australia Developing a national pool of quality online learning for Australian schools Goal – to support teachers in enhancing student learning High quality online content, approved, & developed according to specifications Discrete ‘objects’ to be reassembled and repurposed to meet particular needs of teachers & students Testing and trailing basic tools for selecting, sequencing, and using learning objects http: //www. thelearningfederation. edu. au/
European Examples of Learning Object Repositories § Learning & Teaching in Scotland § Implementing digital repositories Evaluating and testing implementation with teachers § http: //www. ltscotland. com/ § § European School. Net § § § Modeled after our School. Net Provides access to a wide range of resources in different languages http: //www. eun. org/portal/index-en. cfm
USA-Based Examples § § Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching http: //www. merlot. org § § Gateway to Educational Materials http: //www. thegateway. org/
History of Standards Railway Tracks § § By the late 1860’s nine different train track gauges sizes were in use in North America. Why? Strictly used for local transportation or rival ambitions of the competition “Standardization of gauge facilitates the exchange of rolling stock, enabling freight shipment and passenger traffic to pass over the track of multiple companies. ” Source: Standardization of Track Gauge on North American Railways (2000) Journal of Economic History Standards = Interoperability
E-Learning Specifications & Standards WARNING Many acronyms ahead! Tracking & Monitoring CETIS (UK) Edu. Specs Technical Liaison Office (Canada) PROMETEUS (EU) Specifications AICC Ed. NA GEM IMS OKI SIF W 3 C Test & Implementation Can. Core SCORM USOe. C Standards CEN/ISSS IEEE/LTSC ISO
IMS Global Learning Consortium § § 55 contributing members from around the globe (e. g. , UK, Canada, USA, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, Finland) Two key activities: § Define technical specifications for interoperability of applications and services in distributed learning. § Support the incorporation of the IMS specifications into products and services worldwide, promoting the widespread adoption of specifications that will allow distributed learning environments and content from multiple authors to work together (in technical parlance, "interoperate”). Working on Specifications that include: § Learning Design, Metadata, Content Packaging, Learner Profile, Accessibility, to name a few http: //www. imsglobal. org/
SCORM § § § § (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) SCORM is an e-learning technical specification developed and adopted by ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) “accelerate large-scale development of dynamic and cost-effective learning software and to stimulate an efficient market for these products in order to meet the education and training needs of the military and the nation's workforce of the future. ” Sponsored by the US federal government Being adopted outside of the defense sector Version 1. 2 incorporates the IMS Metadata & Content packaging and specifications A reference model to test effectiveness/application of specifications and standards. http: //www. adlnet. org/
Can. Core § Can. Core - the Canadian Core Learning Resource Metadata Protocol (Can. Core) Protocol. § A “made in Canada” recognized sub-set of the IMS Learning Resource Metadata Specification § Facilitates easier implementation of the IMS Metadata Specification § Achieving recognition and adoption within Canada and internationally § http: //www. cancore. org
Bringing it All Together So, what do each of these specifications & standards actually do?
Metadata Tagging We want content to be marked with info so it can be browsed or searched in a consistent way. § § § Specs: IMS Metadata, Dublin Core Implementation: SCORM Standard: IEEE LOM
Content Packaging We want content to be packaged in such a way it can be moved from one system to another in a consistent way. § § Specifications: IMS Content Packaging Implementation: SCORM Standard: None
Bringing it All Together. . Enterprise We want a Learning Management System to be able to talk to a student record system (e. g. , student info, grades etc. ) § Specifications: IMS Enterprise
Questions/Assessment We want to be able to exchange question and test banks from one system to another and be able to track usage and results from these questions in a Learning Management System. § Specifications: IMS Question & Testing
Bringing it All Together. . Learning Design (Instructional Design) We want to design learning that captures pedagogical diverse experiences, while promoting interoperability of learning content. § Specifications: IMS Learning Design (Public draft recently released)
The “Abilities” of E-Learning Standards § § Interoperability § does your system work with other systems within and between institutions or organizations? Re-usability § can learning objects or resources be easily used in different subject areas, learning settings, and for different learner profiles Manageability § can a system track information about the learner and the content? Durability § will the technology evolve with the standards to avoid obsolescence? Future Proof!
Content Development & Delivery: The Big Picture Existing Content Repurpose Learning Content Authoring Tools Create Chunk Assemble Import Track LMS Deliver Courtesy of Robby Robson, Eduworks 2002
What Companies are Doing with E-Learning Specifications and Standards § Recombo § § § Odyssey’s Nautikos § § § Series of products to assist in “tagging” content Converting “legacy” content into content that can be managed and delivered in more flexible ways. Learning Content Management System Meta data tags using Can. Core e. Traffick Solutions § § South Island Distance Education School Building a “learning object” approach to second language teaching/learning
Canadian Interoperability Issues § § Feb 18 & 19 2003 meetings with stakeholders from the e-learning community (federal, provincial, research, K-12, higher education, industry) Tools to Support Implementation: Not there yet… § Tools need to be more transparent and easier to use § “don’t mention the word ‘metadata’ to faculty” § Complexity of implementing e-learning specifications and standards Early Adopters: Various initiatives are happening on a federal, provincial, and industry level. § The “usual suspects” involved, but how do we get the “unusual suspects” involved to form communities to promote the use and adoption (e. g. , build community of users)? § §
Getting Started with E-learning Specifications and Standards Different situations will have different needs § Tip #1: Awareness/Familiarity with E-Learning Standards & Specifications: § § § Become familiar with e-learning specifications & standards (e. g. , ARIADNE, IEEE, IMS, Dublin Core, SCORM and Can. Core). Monitor their web sites, read documents, participate in on-line discussions. Be aware of various levels of emerging specifications such as metadata or content structures. Bring up the issue of specifications & standards in your organization. Get people thinking about it!
Getting Started with E-learning Specifications and Standards § Tip #2: Start Small: § § Start with Metadata: § Design a small set of metadata to accompany your materials in the form of a simple database. Creating Content: § Begin authoring with a structured approach in mind (e. g. , course = a collection of modules, with sections, with lessons, with topics & activities). § Chunk your content § Use unstructured applications (e. g. , content writers in some organizations use Word templates) § Content can then flow into a structured model more easily.
Getting Started with E-learning Specifications and Standards § Tip #3: Get Involved with E-Learning Standards & Specifications: § Process for involvement with various standards bodies is similar in most cases (some cost and others do not): § Join as an individual or corporate member. § Subscribe to email listservs § Attend quarterly meetings § Join working groups § Check out various web sites for more specific information
Canada’s Innovation Strategy § § § Goals: For Canada to become one of the most innovative countries in the world Improve Canada’s innovation performance to secure competitiveness and a higher standard of living Priority areas: knowledge performance, skills, innovation environment, and skills Both papers describe need to strengthen capacity for innovation and improve the levels of skills within the Canadian population
E-Learning and School. Net § § Information Highway Applications Branch of Industry Canada has developed a number of programs that facilitate the integration of ICT into learning Network of Innovative Schools, Grass. Roots (www. schoolnet. ca) Canada’s Campus Connection (www. campusconnection. ca) Multimedia Learning Group, under the School. Net umbrella, supports applications, tools, models, and practices for e-learning which enable sharing of learning resources by education institutions, governments, and business
What is Edu. Specs ? § § Goal is to facilitate the creation and adoption of international elearning specifications and standards for Canada 2002 -established Edu. Specs Technical Liaison Office; currently being led by Open School British Columbia (formerly part of the Open Learning Agency) Coordinates Canadian participation on Canadian international specifications bodies including IMS, IEEE/LTSC, ISO/IEC/JTC 1 SC 36 to influence development of specs and standards that reflect Canada’s unique linguistic and cultural interests Disseminates information on specifications and standards to Canada’s e-learning community
Edu. Specs Web Site § § § Newly updated and interactive Web site to become primary vehicle for learners, educators, and practitioners to find practical information on the application and implementation of standards and specifications relating to on-line content development Detailed information about specifications, standards, learning objects, and learning object repositories; Interactive e-learning communities for e-learning educators and practitioners to exchange information, share best practices, and add resources to the Web site; http: //eduspecs. ic. gc. ca
http: //eduspecs. ic. gc. ca
Edu. Specs Pilot Projects Description § Series of trials and experiments explored, evaluated, and tested use of interoperability standards for on-line learning, digital learning objects, and learning object repositories in education community § Projects involved retrieval/building of learning objects, exchange, meta data tagging § Participant: Canadian Virtual University, Canadian Virtual College Consortium, Ottawa-Carleton Catholic District School Board, Telus Learning, New Brunswick Distance Education Network and edu. Source
Pilot Projects Primary Objectives § Forster integration of ICT into real-life learning settings § Help create successful models of collaborative development of on-line learning § Test models of effective and efficient practices in the creation and deployment of learning objects among various communities of users § Improve access to quality on-line educational resources
Pilot Projects Key Activities § Forster integration of ICT into real-life learning settings § Help create successful models of collaborative development of on-line learning § Test models of effective and efficient practices in the creation and deployment of learning objects among various communities of users § Improve access to quality on-line educational resources
Pilot Projects Results-Successes § Ninety-six (96) learning objects were created or found for this project, approximately 36 of these objects were uploaded to CAREO. Fifty-four of the learning objects (K-12) were deposited in a web site or a temporary (LOR- Learning Object Repositories) § Increased level of awareness and knowledge of learning objects and meta data tagging § Promotional collaboration among educators developing and using learning objects § Tested tools and provided opportunities to impact further development. Fostered discussions around the potential creation of a virtual community of practice.
Pilot Projects Results-Challenges § Building comprehensive learning objects was labour intensive § Uploading learning objects required considerable persistence and motivation; retrieval of learning objects was not always an efficient process § Numerous technical difficulties encountered during tagging of learning objects; metadata instructions were too technical and difficult to decipher § Perhaps experts rather than teachers could be involved in learning object development and tagging
Edu. Specs: Next Steps § § § Establishing pan-Canadian network of experts and partners in the Canadian e-learning community Undertake further pilot projects to explore, evaluate, and test use of interoperability standards for on-line learning, digital learning objects, and learning object repositories among educational organizations Focus on Aboriginal groups, persons with disabilities, and workplace learning Training sessions to introduce educators and practitioners to standards and learning objects Forster the creation of a virtual community of users developing and using learning objects in education settings
A Few Things to Keep In Mind about E-Learning Standards & Specifications § E-Learning Specifications & Standards are emerging as important considerations for content development. § § Benefits of standards are many & varied: § § § Supporting new ways of developing content (e. g. , notion of Learning Object, tagged content, structured content) Mix and match of content Interchangeable content Not “trapped” by a particular proprietary learning technology Manage & track content Many e-learning standards and specifications exist in varying degrees of development. § § Different standards bodies have different roles & responsibilities. Often compliment each other in a holistic way.
Resources Edu. Specs Web Site http: //eduspecs. ic. gc. ca § MAISE Centre Report http: //www. masie. com/standards/S 3_Guide. pdf § Centre for Educational Technology Interoperable Standards http: //www. cetis. ac. uk/ § Learning Objects (David Wiley) http: //reusability. org/read/ §
Contacts Solvig Norman Open School British Columbia Edu. Specs Technical Liaison Office 250 356 1313 Solvig. [email protected] 9. gov. bc. ca www. openschool. bc. ca Mary Da Costa Project Officer, Edu. Specs Program Industry Canada 613 954 0157 Da. Costa. [email protected] gc. ca Ann Bowering Multimedia Learning Group Industry Canada Bowering. [email protected] gc. ca