I disagree: SCORM and IMS are not competitors. Here is my extremely simplified explanation:
- The US Dept of Defence
is the largest consumer of online learning products on the planet. They developped SCORM
as a starndard for their suppliers (including in-house) to aim for so that they could mix and match different products without losing their sanity.
- Schools of every type on this planet have a smaller version of the same problem: over time, a mish-mash of various incompatible online learning products gets established and people start to really want to "rationalize
" things: for example:
- we want to be able to transfer our course materials from one learning platform to the other
- we want to be able to see the big picture of student achievement across the different learning platforms in use in our schools
- we want to have central repositories of test items, learning objects, lesson
plans (whatever) so as to avoid re-inventing the wheel forever ... such that these will work in any learning platform
- The big commercial suppliers of online learning products have a slightly different version of this problem: they see their customers are reluctant to invest in a life-long relationship with their products (i.e. get locked in) ... so much so that they need to provide at least the illusion of free love (i.e. interoperability) ...
- The smaller commercial (as well as larger commercial suppliers affected by the great slump following the dot.com crash) really do need interoperability so that the e-learning market finally blossoms ... some firms would like to be brokers trading learning objects as if they were shares on the stock market, and the other firms would like to supply the learning objects to be thus traded ... and so everyone in the commercial world agreed to set up a standard called IMS that would lower transaction costs in this brave new market
They integrated/accomodated SCORM several years ago into the IMS standard ... so that SCORM should be viewed as the US DoD's implentation of IMS ... likewise, in Canada, many are tyring to push CanCORE as the Canadian implentation of IMS (I think Ariadne is the European equivalent etc...)
In some ways, IMS (and its various implementations) have felt like the greatest vapourware project
in the history of e-learning ... just about every organisation (including moodle) have announced the intention of complying to IMS standards (or SCORM or CanCORE etc..)
My gut feeling is that they discovered that just announcing this intention was sufficient to increase sales or interest and so actual implementation has tended to be less than spectacular from a technical point of view .... often it is just a small part of IMS that is implemented.
I think the reasons for that is that the topic is so abstract (it is usually about XML
import/export for hypothetical situations) that the pressure from the base is not strong enough ... and many of the players are not motivated enough to finish the implementations. Furthermore, the whole thing is a beast designed by international commitees and it lacks a good story-myth of creation that would get people excited about it for its own sake.
In the opensouce/freedom-software world, the IMS organisation has traditionally been viewed with ambivalence:
1. We like standards ... we know that commoditized open standards
have usually been our friends and IMS's standards (when they finally get released) are truly open.
2. We dislike closed organisations: IMS requires (or required) $1000 memberships
in order to allow one to participate in the various committees to influence the design of IMS standards ...so we have been left out of the creation process ... something we dislike very much.Conclusion:
IMS and SCORM are not competitors; we should provide the illusion of wanting to conform to its standards and where useful, we should actually implement the relevant bits