The Melbourne Declaration

I was just e-mailed a [press release]( regarding a recent *Advancing ADL through Global Collaboration Forum* where a number of sessions were held discussing international direction and agreed action with regard to SCORM and other advanced distributed learning technologies.

**The Melbourne Declaration** summarises the outcomes of those discussions:

>The U.S. Department of Defense sponsored the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative in 1997 with the goal of enabling the highest quality education and training, delivered anytime, anywhere. The ADL’s models are now widely adopted in many different contexts and sectors for implementing technology-based learning on a global scale.
>In celebrating this achievement, the Melbourne Forum, *Advancing ADL through Global Collaboration*, endorses the following points as a means of creating and maintaining **momentum** for the further international advancement, development and deployment of advanced learning technology initiatives:
>* Scalable and sustainable infrastructure is of critical importance in fulfilling the many visions for teaching, learning, education, training and performance support.
>* Global interoperability based on open standards, is key to achieving scaleable and sustainable infrastructure.
>* An international collaborative approach will optimise the advancement, development and maintenance of this infrastructure.
>* The current ADL community has provided some of the foundation stones for building this infrastructure.
>* The continuing involvement of the U.S. ADL Initiative will be critical to any collaborative venture.
>* The formation of a global steward is an effective means to realise the above.
>* An international stewardship organisation shall be established and become fully functional within a three year period.
>* The U.S. ADL Initiative in collaboration with the international community will convene, as soon as possible, an Interim Working Group to develop a planning framework and timetable for the creation and commissioning of the proposed international stewardship organisation.

So what does this mean for the future of SCORM?

Well, not being privvy to the background conversations that took place to draft this declaration, it’s pretty transparent that the US Department of Defense (DoD), which funds the ADL Initiative, doesn’t intend to give up SCORM and its related technologies. I think that this paves the road to further advance the big picture of creating a global interoperable infrastructure for advanced distributed learning.

If anyone remembers my Friday session at MAX 2005, I talked about looking at SCORM not as an ends for training and development, but as a means for interoperable communication so that one could create *content* that would run in any environment, free and clear of the server technologies used to facilitate the hosting environment

Given this context, the future for SCORM could be pretty bright.

You may have noticed that the term *ADL* is used quite a bit in the Melbourne Declaration. Having worked on the ADL Initiative for the past two years, I can say that [Albert Ip’s discussion of the different meanings of “ADL”]( is meaningful. He writes:

>Three meanings to the term “ADL” need to be clear to understand the “Melbourne Declaration”. ADL may refer to the US Department of Defence funded ADL initiative. The term may also mean the vision and/or infrastructure of advanced distributed learning. Yet another meaning may refer to the community which supported, adopted and have given input to the vision. At this point in time, it was agreed that the what as in “Stewardship of What” referred to in [Robby [Robson]’s paper]( should be deferred. Instead, the discussion was focussed on creating a sustainable global stewardship.

e-learning, scorm, melbourne declaration