This was an off-hand remark about SCORM, I'm really not an expert in this area. However, I've been following this issue for some time now and think it is as confusing today as when the U.S. Department of Defense first proposed in back in 1997 (I believe). Many branches of our government eventually jumped on the bandwagon, stating they would not buy any 3rd party content unless it was SCORM compliant. The idea of re-usable course content is a good one. Before web-based services like Blackboard and WebCT came along, it was a dicey proposition if you were the person in charge of spending big bucks on content, in terms of what you should buy. Nothing worked with any other system, and forget about getting learner interaction, assessment and certification/completion to talk with your backend database unless it was the same flavor you originally purchased.
Commercial web based systems changed this picture somewhat because they all use a backend database (Oracle, MSSQL etc.) to function, and the middleware programming can do about anything in terms of manipulating content and user interaction. Moodle's middleware logic is written in PHP and can easily run with the big boys (i.e. .net or Java). Because Moodle is open-source there should never be a concern about re-using content from other systems, and in fact we are starting to see some flexibility already in terms of quizzes and other module activity.
I'll make my case for the relative unimportance of SCORM by asking you to review what Blackboard and WebCT tell those who inquire about it. Here is what WebCT has to say:
WebCT is committed to defining, supporting, and disseminating additional standards as they develop. We are monitoring, in contact with, or actively participating in the development of standards such as:
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- Digital repositories
- Dublin Core
- IMS Content
- IMS Enterprise
- IMS Metadata
- IMS Question & Test
- IMS LIP
- Learning Design
- MS OS for Mobile
A few months ago I found similar remarks on Blackboards site, but looking today I could not locate the comments. Basically, Blackboard has taken the same position as WebCT. That is, if this frankenstein happens, we will deal with it. Otherwise, FORGET ABOUT IT for now. Because Blackboard and WebCT are the market leaders, they have the luxury of thumbing their noses at SCORM (IMHO). Dragging their feet over the past 6-7 years has not hurt their business one bit and demonstrates how seriously they take SCORM.
Technology as you know is changing at light-speed. Few people today, outside the inside circle of programmers driving things, understand that the need for SCORM several years ago has changed. For example, we have XML, a language that will basically allow us to get any data source to communicate with any other data source, irrespective of file format. One just has to develop a "schema" that agrees with the structure at both ends. Martin has wisely committed to incorporating XML within Moodle 2.0, and this is why I think emphasizing SCORM is a waste of time. That's my 2 cents worth, and I'm certain others may think otherwise.