Continuing on my post from Wednesday…
Avron Barr asked members of LETSI to do some reality checking for him. He listed reasons (whether they’re a collective list or his own reasons, I can’t attribute) for moving beyond the SCORM as a reference model and using only accredited standards to a technology platform (remember: Linux for Learning) using informal standards and open source implementations.
- This is established industry practice, e.g., W3C, in situations of accelerated technology and business innovation.
- Group consensus, self-governance, and transparency allows more rapid innovation while maintaining interoperability where possible
- Sharing base code supports more consistent and less costly
- Lowers barriers to entry for innovative products, even more than standards themselves
- Supports architectural modularity and service-oriented infrastructure, which in turn supports product and market
- Dramatically reduces total community investment in software tools and infrastructure
I may be wrong, but I don’t recall Unix being an ISO or IEEE standard when Linus Torvalds was developing Linux in his pajama pants. Maybe it was. Maybe he had to ask a whole bunch of permission to even get to writing Linux. But I don’t think that’s how it happened. I think, much as the lore suggests, that he reached out to people he knew he could work with who were intelligent, productive and probably contrarian and as the project grew too big he just handed parts of the development out to the willing and trustworthy and it… just… came together. LETSI doesn’t have a Linus, but in a 2.0 world, maybe we don’t need one. At any rate, the point is this: if there are specs and standards that will help us do SCORM 2.0 faster and better, we should by any means necessary use them. But we shouldn’t be sitting around with our thumbs up our butts debating and negotiating if there are other models available that are just as useful and (keyword mentioned already) “available.”
Now, Avron also asked another question:
“What software would be open source? What is the platform layer equivalent to Linux? What are some examples that would be broadly useful without unduly interfering with commercial product developers?”
Avron went on to rattle off a number of technology ideas (products) that LETSI could address, but I think that’s putting the cart before the horse. What I’d like to do is answer Avron’s question with what I’m calling (to keep the meme going) the BAQON model:
The products LETSI can sponsor/support/steward may include ideas like Avron listed, such as:
- Reload Redux: Raw XML editor for the new content aggregation
- A migration tool from SCORM 2004 into the new format
- A testing harness for SCOs
- A modular testing harness for LMSs
- An multi-student “lobby” for a game or simulation with sample interfaces to student and content data services.
…but in any case, the “platform” as pictured above support the use-cases. That’s the vision. Some of these bulleted items may be part of the Learning, Education and Training (LET) pillar that supports the platform, some of them might be part of the platform itself. But in any case, the current players in LETSI are probably only going to be able to support the LET-specific pillar.
More on this subject in another forthcoming post…