Claude Ostyn's Blog
Competency data standards and management, standards-based eLearning content development, SCORM tips and techniques, and whatever else seems relevant.
New draft of SCORM 2004 Release 3
SCORM 2004 Release 3 is getting closer. A new draft got released yesterday. Considerable efforts were made to make the documents more readable. Many issues have been resolved, but some resolutions are still a matter of concern, especially regarding features that affect usability of the content. See http://www.adlnet.gov/news/articles/375.cfm
for the announcement and download links. There is a 30 day public comment period ending on September 22.
Identifiers for SCORM Global Objectives
The SCORM 2004 specification allows success status and scores to persist for global learning or competency objectives. Precautions must be taken to avoid accidental collisions between objective identifers. Also, in practice this feature is often perverted to provide a kind of variable to allow communication between activities. This can unfortunately lead to the pollution of LMS data stores with persistent records for meaningless data that do not correspond to any actual learning or competency objective. This new document at http://www.ostyn.com/standards/docs/globalobjbp.htm
describes the issues and proposes some proactive best practices to problems in the future.
More on cross-domain SCORM
Ran across a good article at http://thedesignspace.net/MT2archives/000206.html
describing a cross-domain solution that works when both servers are in the same LAN, using IIS. The article also describes some of the issues to watch for when constructing the URLs to avoid problems with Mozilla and Safari.
A number of people have tried the little cross-domain demos on my web site. Many seem content to check the first demo but don't exercise the second one. Need to make it more amusing, I guess... The logs show at least one person tried to link the second demo to a live SCO in another domain in Eastern Europe. This was of course blocked since every proxying that is not allowed is blocked, but if someone has SCOs online somewhere and wants to try it out we can arrange to add a rule to allow forwarding, as long as it is to a trustworthy site.
What should we be teaching?
Watching Ken Robinson, author of "Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative", talking to the National Governors Association on C-Span. Take a look, if you can, at his writings such as http://www.ecs.org/html/projectsPartners/chair2005/docs/Sir_Ken_Robinson_Speech.pdf
Too much focus on content, too much focus on assessments gets in the way of teaching creativity. China got the message. They are engaged on a major educational reform which goes exactly contrary to the content-centric, assessment-centric model that is stifling education in some Western countries. Innovation is what made America great. Ironically, it seems that the emphasis on "basics" content and standardized testing will stop what made American success possible. Robinson believes that creativity can be developed systematically. Creativity is applied imagination. Innovation is putting the ideas into practice.
Which brings one back to Seymour Papert's sardonic article about the "3 R's" http://www.papert.org/articles/ObsoleteSkillSet.html
Ironic, isn't it, that I've developed such an expertise in technology standards such as SCORM when they are mostly used for traditional content-centric, teach then test trite content that hinders rather than fosters creativity and innovation? Those are only tools though. The great education comes not from teacher-proof or trainer-proof curriculum and tools -- the question becomes, how can great teachers, trainers, coaches and mentors make this stuff work for them? Not as the only tool, not as the only hammer, but as a useful part of the toolkit that any innovator can use to help foster whole person learning, and along with that the creativity and innovation that lead to true performance. "The problem in education is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed."