SCORM

 
 
Picture of John White
Is SCORM worth it?
 
Is this all just a SCORM in a teacup? (That may not translate well on the other side of the Pond.)

Does SCORM really add any functionality that Moodle doesn't have inherently (other than the obvious one that you could move content to a non-Moodle CMS/VLE). Is its student tracking functionality worth what's lost by SCORM compliance?

Can Moodle itself handle tracking (so you can return to where you left off working)?

Am I right in believing that you could have a WIKI in a SCORM course, but you couldn't assign a 'Type' to it (Teacher/Group/Student), and you couldn't give it a 'Group Mode' (No groups/Separate groups/Visible groups) and thus generate 9 different sorts of WIKI, including the 'Student Biography' visible to all course students but editable only by self and teacher (i.e. Student - Visible Groups)?

And you couldn't have any other activity that implied an inherent knowledge of users, e.g a Forum?

Is SCORM really as dire as I think?

How could I ever think of going SCORM compliant?

I would appreciate your input.

Regards,

John
 
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Picture of Itamar Tzadok
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
I use questions with multiple correct answers which cannot be reasonably identified and recorded in advance but can be automatically assessed by an interpreter in runtime. So I cannot use any of the question types in the selection currently offered by Moodle. SCORMing the questions and an embedded interpreter seems the only way to integrate these questions in Moodle as assessment components.

Itamar
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 

That's very interesting! It's not that you are creating whole SCORM courses so as to transport them around to a variety of compliant VLE's, rather that you use Moodle's SCORM compliance to port quiz functionality that doesn't exist in Moodle. Very neat! Not quite what the SCORM team thought they were doing maybe??

Are there any public examples of this type of Quiz?

Is Moodle likely to create your needed quiz functionality?

Presumably, other Moodle functionality stops you from going the whole hog and writing an entire course in a SCORM tool. My thinking is that it would be a rather dry course.

Is that how you view SCORM?

John

 
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Picture of Itamar Tzadok
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
No, I'm not creating a whole SCORM course but that may just be circumstantial. Currently I'm simply responding to a certain need which is to automate as much as possible the marking process of a certain course. However, that component I'm SCORMing is central enough in the discipline that it may be used also in other courses. (I'm still working on the interpreter so there are no public examples yet but I'll complete it this summer and then make it publicly available)

This is a specialized functionality so it is unlikely that it'll go into Moodle's core. It can be wrapped as a plugin but that unfortunately won't do for us because our sys admins will only use standard Moodle installations. There are commercial products which provide this functionality but we cannot reasonably justify purchasing such a product, plus, we prefer that all assessment components of the course will reside in the same place and I don't think that any relevant commercial product can be integrated in Moodle. So, SCORM seems our best and only option. smile

The entire content part of the course can be SCORMed but as far as I know this kind of delivery puts some serious restrictions on formal assessment. Since the package is standalone it should include the answers to questions and if there's no encryption no matter how you hide them the answers are still accessible.

So how do I view SCORM? At this stage in a quite narrow pragmatic way I'm afraid. smile If pressed I would say that I like the idea of small standalone learning objects that may be combined in different ways and prefer that over whole courses.
 
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www.consulthoffmann.com
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
John Wrote:

Presumably, other Moodle functionality stops you from going the whole hog and writing an entire course in a SCORM tool. My thinking is that it would be a rather dry course.

Is that how you view SCORM?

Definitely, I create a lesson and then there is a SCORM package to view. I then create the quiz with Moodle, use the certificate mod, link to .pdfs, create a database (maybe a glossary of terms), HotPot crosswords, etc. This keeps it interesting and not "dry".

The other comments regarding SCORM are spot-on! I think SCORM compliance is a must. I recently had a client ask if he could use his existing content or would he need to buy new. I felt he would have stayed with the system he was not happy with if I told him he had to start all over building a library because he had purchased proprietary content. Fortunately he had SCORM compliant packages and whamo! It is portable! Unless Moodle has issues with SCORM!!! Good for the client they did not need Gradebook functionality. Otherwise the Flash lessons work famously and look great! (I believe created with Captivate 3).

Another opinion to add to the list...
Blaine H.
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
I believe we're reaching a consensus view, no doubt the obvious one, but still worth setting out...

1. That the pressure to use a SCORM-compliant VLE, from government sources in the UK, but especially from US government departments, makes getting SCORM certification a very high priority;

2. That the spread of Moodle may be hampered by it not achieving SCORM certification, especially in those fields where SCORM compliance is considered mandatory (I would add that some fund-holders appear to be specifying SCORM-compliance even though they don't know what they're asking for!);

3. That the benefit of being able to create presentational material elsewhere and upload it efficiently as a SCORM module, makes generating content of this kind very easy, and cost-effective in a commercial environment;

4. That although the SCORM content itself may be simple and inherently presentational or instructional, once brought into Moodle other more interactive features can be run alongside this material - attempting to achieve the best of both worlds;

5. That for those creating courses entirely in Moodle, SCORM is something of a distraction;

6. That SCORM-only courses lack much of the interest and interaction available through Moodle, and the SCORM model may be limiting or even detrimental educationally.

Not all the contributors have expressed their agreement with all of these conclusions, but it is clear that even those having no interest in using SCORM still believe that we have to get certification. I suppose MD would rightly ask: what about the money?

The only thing missing I can see is that we have not got a definitive list of Moodle activities (or resources) that you couldn't have in a SCORM module. Any offers?

Thanks again,

John
 
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Martin Langhoff - Sailing
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers

Excellent summary!

I suppose MD would rightly ask: what about the money?

Or the quality patches. There are tons of things that are important, and SCORM is without a doubt one of them. Now, mod/scorm exists, and this can be tackled by people with a definitive interest in it, and the ability to devote time and effort. How to start...?

  • A gallery of good quality SCORM objects that show a problem or bug in mod/scorm
  • ... a slowly growing collection of patches that fix those problems

Funding is only one of the aspects of getting those patches going. Perhaps it's the easiest way, but not the only way.

Note! There is literally a ton of buggy SCORM content out there. A good chunk of complaints about mod/scorm have to do with SCORM packages that are horribly broken.

(Why do I say this? At Catalyst we had a few clients ask us to "fix" mod/scorm so that it'd run their existing content correctly. What we found were bugs in the SCORM packages. Everytime. While good, it was actually frustrating in that I wanted to use the opportunity to fix mod/scorm issues for the wider community. Not to say that mod/scorm is free of bugs but... it's a jungle out there. Anyone going to SF Moot, take a moment to talk to Jonathan Newman about this.)

 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Thanks Martin.

There are certainly a great number of forum entries along the lines of 'why cant I upload my SCORM content?', so its sobering to consider that the answer might be 'because your content generating is crap!', rather than always leaving the problem at Moodle's door! In addition, if you use an XML-focussed generator like Reload you certainly need your technical head well screwed on!

Does anyone out there use a SCORM generating that NEVER fails to import into Moodle?

John



 
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Proper Bo, am tellin thee!
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 

I haven't had any failures as such yet, the newer module within Moodle 1.9 is even better at laucnhing the content in a seperate window.

Hoping the fully compliant version will not be too long down the development routemap wink

 
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www.consulthoffmann.com
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Yes and No! I have used:
  1. Pointecast Pro - No bookmarking, can't figure out if it Pointecast or Moodle v...
  2. I have used Courselab - audio bugs and firefox display issues on the Courslab side, otherwise runs great on Moodle.
  3. I am now using Captivate 3 - so far perfect!
The No part of the question refers to your comment about having your tech head screwed on! You MUST READ THE PUBLISHING INSTRUCTIONS!!!! I admit to learning this the hard way. We want to assume we know everything about the software because we have used similar versions, previous versions, etc. But all you have to do is miss one radio button or check-box on the publish settings dialogue on the software side and then try to import to the Moodle lesson and BAM! It doesn't work!

I was going to unsubscribe to this thread simply due to the nonstop seemingly inane questions regarding "how do I add a SCORM to my lesson". But then I realized, "Hey, I was that guy once too!" I think increasing awareness on this issue like the summary already posted here and maybe a better "How To" Moodle Doc on adding a SCORM (?), maybe some screencasts of adding files, publish settings from various authoring tools as well as better organizing the moodle.org homepage to make it easier to find the How To's for newbies would help. I will try and work on some generic screen recordings for the software I have in the near future.

In conclusion I have found Captivate 3 the easiest to learn and publish in various forms (HTML and SCORM) and they have all worked great! And they do produce some really slick looking content!

Blaine H.
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Thanks Blaine.

I am sure that reference to some screencasts on publishing from major players in SCORM content generation, along with similar for the Moodle import side, would help to reduce the traffic in this forum - where this is solely the result of people not reading the instructions, or not understanding them!

Mind you, you would want the instructions to be good if your paying Adobe $699 for Captivate 3! (And I expect they are).

John
 
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Martin Langhoff - Sailing
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
Blaine, John,

is it worthwhile putting together a wikipage with "dos and don'ts when preparing/exporting SCORM content"? Perhaps it would have a bunch of "general" advice, and then some tool-specific advise?

What we want - overall - is to improve user experience with SCORM tools and Moodle. If the SCORM interoperability is affected by export-time settings and practices as Blaine explains, then this would be a gold mine for users.

Edit: and it can also be a place to document the collective knowledge that's spread in this forum smile
 
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www.consulthoffmann.com
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Martin,

I think so. I have been playing around with Captivate 3 and there are several different ways to configure SCORM output including the ability to customize the manifest file itself. It is quite easy to get the wrong results once published. And because each LMS is slightly different due to customizations and versions it is hard to get anything more than the generic "how to" that comes with the product.

But a Moodle-specific resource for authoring tools would be an incredible addition to this community support forum!

What can I do to help?

Blaine H.
 
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Martin Langhoff - Sailing
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful Moodlers
Here's the page with a very rough template... wink

http://docs.moodle.org/en/index.php?title=SCORM_Authoring_Tips_and_Tricks&action=edit

Perhaps you could start telling us about the Moodle specific tricks and gotchas for Courselab and Captivate.
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Martin,

This is an excellent outcome from these discussions. I don't think I am yet in a position to contribute directly, but Blaine is well on the case! I'm sure others will follow where possible.

And it is excellent news from Martin Dougiamas that compliance is being actively addressed.

Thanks, and thanks to all.

John
 
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Picture of Amy Groshek
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I don't know how I missed this interesting discussion while it was ramping up. I'd like to jump in here because I think that there is a temptation, in the Moodle community, to disparage content delivery which is not inherently based on social constructionism. I don't discount Moodle one bit for its adherence to social constructionism. I think it's great. But I can say decisively that it's not my bread and butter.

The truth is that, in the world of corporate training, social constructionism is just not of value for many types of content. We can rail against that by dissing SCORM, but it isn't SCORM's fault: it's the nature of the global economic system.

For example: if I need to teach a learner how to quickly determine whether a load is too heavy to lift with the lift truck he or she is driving, then a forum is not going to work all that well. Especially if my (corporate) client wants learners to move through the course independently, and get a certification without ever taking the time to establish the kinds of relationships necessary to social constructionism.

A Flash activity, on the other hand, which allows the learner to drag different loads onto the forks, drag the forks up and down, and move the lift truck around--that's going to have a substantial impact on how my learner thinks about reading the little weight rating placard on the lift truck. Especially if the little model lift truck will noisily wreck when loaded with too much weight. Flash is the best tool, right now, for creating interactive "learning objects" of this type. SCORM is merely the standard that lets my client see whether the learner successfully completed this activity.

I usually try to steer clients away from using authorware, because revising authorware products is so difficult, and SCORM import of authorware exports is never as predictable as SCORM import of what I can code myself. Sometimes people say that "SCORM content" is boring, but what they mean is that formulaic authorware content is boring. You can create content just as boring with a Moodle lesson module, if you're being a dink. In my opinion, authorware SCORM isn't really the point: it's the superb interactivity provided by a combination of custom Flash objects and SCORM.

A
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Amy,

Thanks for your contribution which takes our discussion on a good deal further.
It is very helpful to have clear examples of where a SCORM course is most useful and most appropriate.

What's more, to see that SCORM modules have no need to be boring even when they are intended to be instructional. Of course, your example has some 'constructionism' within it, even if not of the social kind! But that would get us into 'processes of learning' which is a very deep debate.

To try to balance things a bit, I put a summary of the main contributions further back in the discussion, but perhaps your comments allow us to consider some SCORM content as not just quality training, but downright interesting.

I too am very keen on using Flash objects in Moodle, but of course with SCORM you get tracking and perhaps that should have featured in my summary.

The most important single conclusion from this discussion has been that Moodle must be able to demonstrate its SCORM compatability and achieve full certification. Whether you or I choose to use its functionality, we do not wish to see the door shut on Moodle in the US, UK, or elsewhere because of a lack of success here. That would be very counter-productive.

Thanks again,

John
 
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Matt Bury
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi all,

In short, the answer to the question "Is SCORM worth it?" (I'm assuming you mean having it working in Moodle), IMHO, the answer is a resounding yes. As Martin said, it's on the "absolutely necessary" category on a lot of people's tick lists.

If anyone's done a search of these forums about SCORM they may well have found a number of posts by me slating it. I'll repeat, I don't like SCORM, neither as a teacher nor as a developer.

As a teacher, which is the most important consideration in e-learning, it promotes the very worst of educational models, referred to by many as dump 'n' pump. It's exactly what's wrong with a lot of school and university education where they've tried to cut costs by increasing testing and decreasing teaching, in other words an unbalanced educational model.

As an educator, I want to be able to customise the results I generated by e-learning interactions. A single % grade doesn't really tell you much about a student's abilities or why they're not performing as you'd like them to. I want to be able to look at a range of activity data and analyse what's wrong and be able to do something about it. If a student breaks a fork-lift truck because he didn't understand a part of the training but passed it anyway, I want to know how and why it happened so that I can make the teaching materials better.

As a developer, SCORM hurts. It's so big and so complicated and so difficult to deal with, that you're at the mercy of a few specialist 'experts' who make a pretty penny from consultancy and development fees. If you just want to deploy a quiz, a test, a questionnaire, a survey, or whatever, then use one of Moodle's many great modules that do the job much better, with less hassle and not so steep a learning curve or expensive consultancy fees. BTW, you can effectively simulate 80% of the content of Cambridge ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) exams with only the core Moodle modules.

Also, SCORM is incredibly inefficient. You have to create self-contained 'packages' which may be great for selling food (although we seem to be having a bit of a problem with food packaging around the world at the moment) and consumer goods in shops, but doesn't really fit in with good IT practices. I don't know about you but I quite like the benefits offered by Object Oriented Programming, layering, sharing media resources and so on. We're having a pretty good go at getting rid of the need to create mountains of packaging waste (not to mention the environmental costs of manufacture and distribution) through ideas such as downloading MP3s. Are we bent on creating the electronic equivalent with SCORM? How much server space will we have to take up before we say enough is enough?

The scary thing is, although Moodle is great and it's getting more and more popular and it's one of the few LMSs with a successful learning model, it's encouraging people towards using SCORM by not providing an effective alternative for deploying Flash.

Flash is the de-facto e-learning platform and at the moment, the only way to deploy Flash e-learning interactions in Moodle and store students results is to use the unfinished 3rd party plug-in Flash Activity Module that Jamie Pratt developed for the University of Barcelona some years ago. It's incompatible with any Flash e-learning interactions later than Flash MX 2004 (that's Flash 6 and we're currently on Flash 9 and Flash 10 is soon to be released). I won't go into the many reasons why Flash 9 and later versions are ideal for e-learning here.

It's true, there are a number of way of deploying Flash in Moodle but none of them, except the FAM, can store student activity data. We really need a heads-up on this one guys or people are going to continue to create unsatisfactory e-learning interactions in Flash using SCORM and continuing the dump 'n' pump learning model. Let's set the bar higher and make Moodle extra special.

Another multiple-choice test, anyone?
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Thanks Matt.

No don't you have seen others expressing similar views within this discussion, including Martin Dougiamas.

However, you have brought two new points to the discussion which has already concluded that SCORM compliance is necessary, even if a necessary evil.

That SCORM packaging is obese. Just the definition that all content will be self-contained within the package guarantees that;

That SCORM is so huge it requires diverting attention from other Moodle priorities;

That we don't have a Flash module that is linked to Moodle outcomes and the gradebook (I can use Flash content but that's not the same thing).

Probably THIS forum discussion shouldn't now go down the route of becoming a sounding board for the Flash module, so do you think it now appropriate that you start a discussion on this in General Developers?

Cheers,

John
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Sorry,

...No doubt
 
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Matt Bury
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group Particularly helpful Moodlers
Hi John,

I totally agree that, for now, SCORM is a necessary evil. The portability/cross-platform benefits are undeniable. It's even appropriate for things like corporate training where you only want to achieve the dump 'n' pump model.

A corporation's primary goal is increase their share-price/profitability and so the majority of senior and executive management come from a sales and marketing background. This, at least, is my experience of corporate training that I've given in English as a Foreign Language in large international corporations, and this is the overall philosophy that might typically filter down through a corporation's employees. You have to be a team player and conform to their way of thinking.

Sales and marketing people are very good at giving out messages, social networking and motivating people in the real world. They're not typically very good in an educational context and they see education as a one-way training exercise in the same way that they might see an advertising campaign. They give out the message and check that it was understood and had the desired effect. Information rarely flows in the other direction and listening in more general terms is not, in my experience, one of their strongest points.

This is in stark contrast with the education sector's philosophy and I've seen so many misunderstandings stem from this. Have you ever tried to explain educational models (as opposed to training models) to a human resources manager? I'm sure plenty of you folks here have!

And yeah, I'll bang on about Flash in Moodle elsewhere where it's more appropriate.
 
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www.consulthoffmann.com
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 

Hello all, this thread continues to provide incredible information and insight!

I think that Amy so succinctly stated that “in the world of corporate training, social constructionism is just not of value for many types of content”. I wish I could have put it that way in my earlier post talking about the role SCORM plays in the corporate environment.

I posted a while ago my thoughts on this and indicated the big problem we have is that there is a difference between training and education. After looking up several definitions for training you can find “activity leading to skilled behavior”, “To make proficient with specialized instruction and practice”, “…organized attempt to assist learning through instruction, observation, or practice…” and so on. The recurring theme in the definitions is Activity/Practice. I have always explained to clients and students that training as the practical application of learned skills through exercises (repetition). This is what the corporate world is after. We must be able to create good looking, engaging activity-based content.

I am somewhat conflicted here because I not only consult in the corporate environment but I also teach at a local College. When I teach Intro to Safety Risk Management, for example, we look at the history of the industry, the industrial revolution, etc. It is important to understand where we have been and how we got where we are. However, I have to change my approach when “teaching” students how to fill out an injury/illness log. I simply need to ensure they know how to fill out the form correctly. So a blended approach works well. The same holds true for new employee orientations. Companies simply want to communicate a set of requirements, policies and/or procedures an employee must follow and check that they understand them (quiz). They are not interested in educating the worker on the history and evolution of the corporate environment, employment law, etc. and get their thoughts on the subject and share them with other new hires. However, the same company offering management training to up-and-comers might want to adopt this approach. That is where having a corporate LMS is beneficial.

Content is what we need to separate from the SCORM conversation. Through my own research and discovery on this topic I have found that something else Amy stated is true (I guess I am an Amy fan). That is one can make boring content using the Moodle lesson module, as well as using SCORM authoring programs! Those of us that need SCORM most likely need it because that is the accepted compliance standard right now (and yes, it allows for portability. I can create a SCORM compliant content package and distribute it to many different clients). These packages create consistency. No one talks about this too much. Social constructionism changes the message over time. Certain content needs to be static which ensures a consistent message. You know every employee that went through the orientation got the same message! I am over-simplifying a bit here to save time/space!

So in a nutshell, my corporate clients have to meet a regulatory requirement for training on certain job tasks (content), ensure a consistent message and verify successful completion of stated objectives (SCORM). And as I stated in my earlier posts, my job is to consult with them on how to best include the other approaches into their corporate LMS and allow employees to return and continue with education (Employee Development). So SCORM compliance is a must, even if Moodle contains a Flash activity module. We must be able to serve the industries that are seeking certain compliance standards. My business depends on this!

For what it’s worth, thanks for reading,

Blaine H.

 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Thanks Blaine.

When I started this discussion I thought it might be controversial, and that it has been.

The discussion has undoubtedly brought out some very strong reasons for pursuing SCORM certification - even from those who won't want to use it!

What we have seen is a 'horses for courses' approach to content provision, and clearly there is a distinction between those using SCORM packages for the assets these bring, and those who may unwittingly produce static boring content that fulfills Martin D's definition of 'dump & pump'.

Because we had reached a point where it was definitely 'over to the developers', I thought the discussion had arrived at its natural end.
Plainly it has been too controversial for that. But all in all the position is the same; we wait to see.

Best regards,

John
 
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Picture of John Shaw
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 

We import Camtasia (http://www.techsmith.com/) videos regularly into Topic Based Courses for software training.  They layout like this:

  • HTML in Topic for directions & objectives
  • Recorded Lecture (Camtasia/SCORM) to present concepts
  • Lecture & Folllow Along (Camtasia/SCORM) presetnation
  • Quiz / Self Assessment (Moodle Quiz)

Camtasia Imports every time.

Thanks,

John

 

 
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Picture of Dan Marsden
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
Hi John,

would you mind adding something to the following page for using Camtasia to create Scorm packages?
http://docs.moodle.org/en/SCORM_Authoring_Tips_and_Tricks

thanks!

smile

Dan
 
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Picture of Ebenezer Le Page
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
it depends where you start from....  the issue is practical and not really abuot function for the commercial adopters of Moodle.  if you start from premise that any commercial course produced since 2000 and still selling will be SCORM compliant and that any organisation buying or commissioning such courses will have been drilled into adopting this standard then the answer is "yes - if you want moodle to have any place outside the education sector".   if you are an enterprise with a library of 100+ courses from a dozen suppliers built up over the years and also have two or three departments in-house knocking our SCORM-courses then you will look at Moodle and ask one question only "Will this run everything i own today and in the future?"  you do not ask yourself theoretical questions like "Is this standard useful?"  nobody ever got sacked in a corporate training dept for specifiying SCORM.
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Your comment has definitely taken us into, what is, for me in education, a new realm!

So, is Moodle 1.9's SCORM compliance adequate? Plainly, there are a good number of comments that suggest not, because its not yet entirely bug free, or it doesn't deal well with some scenarios, or perhaps it needs to achieve that certification. I read that Martin Dougiamas is concerned to get it right.

But does that mean you don't generate content in Moodle? But in a SCORM tool like eXe or Reload?

I've had a look at both, but am taken aback by the things they're missing!

John.
 
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Martin in black and white
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
Yes, I am putting efforts into getting Moodle SCORM fully and officially Compliant, to help those that really need it. It's a huge standard and there's a lot of content out there in that format. It's a "tick" on the list of many decision makers.

Personally though, I think the SCORM model is detrimental to education in general. It's all dump and pump. I wouldn't use SCORM for any significant part of any course I was creating. smile
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
I can't help but agree, Martin. And many thanks for coming in on this thread.

But as yet I haven't found a definitive list of what Moodle can do that a SCORM course, by definition, can't contain. (My masters would be most enlightened!)

In short, what content would have to be skipped over if ever (!) there was a SCORM export tool within Moodle?

And since version 1.0 of the SCORM 2004 3rd Edition documentation appears to have arrived in 2006 (have I got that right?), I think the SCORM definition may take a long time catching up with a more expansive pedagogy! Or will it ever change?

And did you mean pump & dump (wikipedia) or dump & pump (urban dictionary)? big grin
 
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Martin in black and white
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Documentation writersGroup Moodle HQGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Testers
I mean "dump" all the information into students, then "pump" it back out of them shortly afterwards via quiz questions. It treats people like they were hard disks.

There's no concept in SCORM of students constructing anything or interacting, like we are now. Most Moodle modules are about students contributing to the content of the course and being part of a community of learning. It's my belief (and experience) that this results in deeper, more transformative learning. http://docs.moodle.org/en/Pedagogy

But SCORM is definitely still useful as one tool in the toolbox, and should be compliant. Jennifer Brooks is working on that right now.
 
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www.consulthoffmann.com
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Martin,

I think SCORM does have its place (albeit a small one) in the corporate training arena, but trying to get a body like the US Department of Labor to adopt a better way of administering outreach education is going to take a long while!

As in my earlier post, I am still looking for a way to play with prerequisites (credit for prior knowledge) and have a library made up of varying levels of SCO that are called up based on certain learner activities.

I imagine I could do some of this with branching based on question pages, matching, and ordering activities. Tools like Captivate only allow for a handful of these options. But at least the learner would be involved in the process a bit more.

I referred to this as one size fits all training. It could also be called one-dimensional. The agency I deal with (I know I am only one case in particular) states what the learner needs to see/hear and for how long and that is it! I know they could not have consulted with educators or online education experts on this, otherwise we would see something entirely different! Certainly not the Dump and Pump approach you so accurately describe! The sad thing is that many US businesses adopt this approach as well. "Here is the message, here is how long it takes, and I need to verify you sat there and listened to it! = SCORM"

I will continue to push for adopting more sensible approaches for the corporate training environment. I do have clients that get it and have changed their approach for the better. We just need to keep fighting the good fight. I am so glad that this community is out here!

Blaine H.
 
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Picture of Jorge San Martin
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Hello,
I'm new on Educational community, Moodle and Scorm smile but I have expirience on Process Modeling from my prevous jobs.

I see Scorm like a workflow of learning process, each activity is a process task and the context is the whole process status.

Now exists very goods standars to specify and edit processes like BPEL, and Scorm is very limited on this.

Scorm try to give contents, status information exchange and flow control task (see the Claude Ostyn post on http://moodle.org/mod/forum/discuss.php?d=23313). Maybe each one of this functionalities can be done by an specific tool.

Maybe this is a problem to invert some effort on Scorm.

Maybe too, to use a general solution it's too much for the required scope.

Someone have an evaluation to use workfow solution for educational purposes?

Thank you and sorry my english.
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Jorge,

Thanks for your comments.

The definition of SCORM, and therefore what it will or will not allow, is completely outside Moodle's control.
In fact this is probably the greatest irony, that the demands of SCORM certification on Moodle are huge,
yet the ability of Moodle (or any other eLearning platform) to influence SCORM's future direction is near zero!
...We only need to consider that SCORM is rooted in the US Defence Department's need for remote training services to see that this is so.

SCORM is simply a very strict set of rules about how content is packaged, and how content must interact with its host!
As such it is a very narrow standard, and this standard has moved forward only very slowly.
The result is that asking a SCORM package to talk BPEL is probably thinking the unthinkable!

Whether content generated within a BPEL package could sit within Moodle - I have no idea.
But I have searched the forums and your's is the only reference to BPEL to be found!
So this may remain an interesting question for the time being.

Regards,

John

PS: It is staggering how many of us play a musical instrument!
I wonder if its a prerequisite for a computer geek??? big grin
 
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Proper Bo, am tellin thee!
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 

IMHO

I believe that Moodle with a fully compliant SCORM module would be an upmost benefit to the project, and I believe it will give the tool further credibility and open up further avenues, especially in aviation, government and defence-related applications where SCORM in many cases is mandatory. I test deploy my content within Moodle.

Other than that, it is standard that has so much smoke and mirrors about it and removed true focus of developing and deploying content.

John

 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
I think there's a pretty good consensus on the credibility issue, but I certainly agree about the 'smoke & mirrors'!

Cheers,

John
 
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www.consulthoffmann.com
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
I agree. I don't think the question is whether or not SCORM is worth it, but rather is it necessary.

I think we all agree that SCORM has issues, but it is a necessary "evil(?)" if you have clients like FAA, DOL, DOD, etc. In the US anyway, the Govt. hangs their hat on SCORm due to its portability. They can purchase content from many vendors and it will all run!

So from a business perspective (not so much educational) it makes sense to support all aspects of SCORM. As hard as it may be!

Blaine H.
 
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Picture of Tom Cox
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Martin,

"It's a huge standard and there's a lot of content out there in that format."

That some's it up for me.

Speaking from the Moodle trenches, SCORM is my last resort for media rich courses that will report to gradebook. The Flash module is an alternative, but why develop content for a module, when SCORM allows one to use the vast array of rapid course development tools out there?

It I had to make my next project proposal having only lessons, quiz, and certificates at my disposal, it would be a Sakai/Whatever and SCORM compliant Flash or Captivate presentation next time.

I dig Moodle, but I tend to use Moodle for "training" rather than "education" and SCORM is the only way I can create slick looking content that fits in with the stock Moodle framework and supported mods.

Pedagogy sounds like a sexual disorder to some people, and we need SCORM.

Tom Cox


 
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Picture of Marshal Anderson
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
From a content developer's point of view it has to be. I'm currently looking at re-tooling some of my packages from the last few years so they will work in /any/ VLE (approved by Becta or not) and the only reasonable way to do this is via SCORM. That said, it seems like the most opaque and difficult system I've ever had to work with - it's not that it's complicated, it's just that, unless you use a commercial tool for development (which I don't want to do because they are so limited) getting to the knowledge you need to apply it can be like pulling teeth :O(

Marshal
 
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Picture of Mark Berthelemy
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Hi Marshal & everyone,

The critical phrase in your post is "... so they will work in any VLE..."

It really does depend on what you mean by "work". I can create a content package that be displayed by any VLE in which I can add a hyperlink, and without using SCORM at all, just by creating a simple HTML website.

SCORM offers:
- tracking of page views (note: this doesn't mean the learner has learnt anything, just that they've clicked on the link for that page);
- bookmarking of pages for coming back to (note: I have not yet met a learner that makes use of this. Anyone that wants to come back to pages ought to be able to use their browser bookmarks or a tool like Diigo, a right often denied by content package designers/procurers)
- passing of final results to the VLE (note: is this really granular enough)

A few years ago, I was in an open meeting with Dan Rehak (one of SCORM's) architects, where he stated categorically that SCORM is pedagogically not neutral and inappropriate for some situations (eg. Primary and Higher education).

According to Rehak, "SCORM is essentially about a single-learner, self-paced and self-directed. It has a limited pedagogical model unsuited for some environments." This is mainly a consequence of the needs of the main initiators of SCORM: the US federal government in general, and the Department of Defence in particular. Their needs are mainly in the area of training for specific systems and situations by people who are not generally in full time education. This need is addressed very well by the spec, but "SCORM has nothing in it about collaboration. This makes it inappropriate for use in HE and K-12".
(from Google's cache of the CETIS website: http://www.cetis.ac.uk/content/20021002000737)

"The risk is that SCORM is being adopted in areas beyond its intended area of application and without such careful consideration of the changes needed to support pedagogical goals as well as the technological ones."
Marshall: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/perth04/procs/marshall.html

I would argue that SCORM is based on a behaviourist model of learning that works well in a military training context (or any situation where you are expecting learners to come out with specific, simple behaviours), but does not work at all well in the far more complex formal education contexts.

SCORM assumes that everything the learner needs is inside the content package. Whereas, certainly in a Moodle case, much of what the learner needs is definitely outside of that package (and can't be brought inside), eg. forums, glossaries, wikis, assignments etc - basically anything that involves the learner interacting with anyone other than the computer.

To my mind (and this is personal opinion only), SCORM is over-rated and over-complex, and its use should be limited to those situations where it best fits, as described above. It is an irrelevance for most formal education contexts, and also for most corporate learning contexts. I see it being specified a lot for compliance training, but all it does is allows managers to report that learning has been delivered, not necessarily that learning has taken place. (I'm with Donald Clark on this one).

Please excuse the rant. smile

Mark
 
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www.consulthoffmann.com
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Mark, interesting. I would add that there are 3 words I use with clients: training, education,and learning.

I will leave it up to readers to decide on their own definitions. But those of us in the regulatory/compliance arena know that much of the required "training" starts with basic knowledge of particular standards, regulations, guidelines or "rules". Building on these we can show/communicate examples of how to comply with said stds., regs., etc. SCORM and even non-SCORM (HTML) content can certainly perform this basic function.

However, training should go beyond just simple compliance with a need to train on a particular reg. or rule via one-way communication. This is why I think Moodle is a great tool. One can bridge training and education, thus facilitating/enhancing the learning process. By using SCORM to satisfy the need to force workers into viewing each page and listen to each presentation before advancing (navigation controls) and verifying they viewed each page and correctly answered each quiz question before the system "passes" them we satisfy the basic compliance requirement. Then with Moodle we can build other activities, resources, assessments, etc. around this simple SCORM thus taking simple corporate training one step further.

In the corporate setting there is high demand for compliance training. Clients first want to ensure they can prove the training was delivered/viewed by the employee. They usually worry about follow-up evaluations to ensure the training was effective later. SCORM does this job for us. Our jobs as consultants is to educate the client that while we have these employees engaged we should take advantage of the learning opportunity and not just verify they sat there for a specified period of time looking/listening to something! This is why I value LMS (Moodle).

I know folks may take issue with my liberal use of the English language here but let's face it, we have to make these things work for us (our clients) at the end of the day!

I know there are a lot of Moodle users out there from educational institutions, but how many of us are using LMS (Moodle) for enterprise/corporate training environment? Between these two groups I believe is where the great SCORM divide lies.

Blaine H.
 
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Picture of Mark Berthelemy
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Blaine,

Thanks for that considered reply. I do agree with your moves to take clients beyond training to education and learning smile

I'm working with a number of corporate clients who are starting to use Moodle. That journey you've described is one I'm hoping to take them on too.

On compliance training in particular, your point about building SCORM packages which force viewing/listening/responding before allowing participants to advance is very well. From a learning designer's point of view I partially agree with it. But I hope I never have to sit through something like that. (Thankfully I'm not working in an industry that is built on regulation)

Wouldn't a far learner-friendly way be to put the quiz upfront and provide the content as a resource for learners to use to help answer the quiz?

It's the quiz results that are the important measure, not the fact that someone looked at a particular page (that's just part of the learning process, not the product).

All the best,

Mark
 
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www.consulthoffmann.com
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Mark, AGREED!!!

The problem in my industry (in the US) is dealing with a branch of the DOL. They have what they call Outreach training and it comes in two varieties: 10-hour and 30-hour training.

They (OSHA) must approve all online providers that wish to offer DOL course completion cards and part of that is the requirement to force the "student" to sit there for at least 10 or 30 hours of the program! There are minimum curriculum requirements a provider must meet as well. This goes against the whole purpose of online, self-guided learning. Yes, you would be forced to sit through every bit of the training! You cannot "test out" of certain topics or areas. You get no credit for prior knowledge. And you only need to score 70% to pass their Outreach training. (Oh, and it takes about 1 1/2 to two years to get DOL approval to offer this type of training online!!!)

This is what we mean by the Govt. hangs their hat on SCORM! I can do all of this with simple HTML packages without the need for SCORM, but you lose all the tracking that is needed.

Personal note: I would love to influence this area of online training to allow a pre-test in which the results could "call" certain lessons/topics that the learner must take based on their pre-test answers. This might adjust the training to their level a bit more than is currently allowed in the "one size fits all" approach common in the online EHS training industry. I have not found a way to do this as of yet.

I always welcome suggestionssmile

Blaine H.

 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Mark,

Can I add that I am greatly heartened by your response, and very interested too in the comments it generated.

The references given have proven very useful too. Personally, I have always believed that education is more about what goes on after I have written something on the blackboard, that the fact that I have written something at all!

John
 
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Picture of Marshal Anderson
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Mark,

I think what I'm saying is that you don't have to be bound by the SCORM approach to learning - though you are limited by its technical resources. You're right that we can do a lot by 'creating a simple website' - in fact, we can do some deeply kewel and interesting stuff. By using SCORM as the box we put this stuff in we merely make it easier (HA!) for non-specialists to have a good stab at installing it. This comment arises from the fact that, in the UK, primary schools are expected to run VLEs from Sept 2008. Primary schools don't tend to have access to a lot of technician time so it has to be as simple as possible to get something up and running.

Now, even with the SCORM-as-box approach, there's is sill the great danger that packages will just be bunged into a lesson (even course) whole with no use of the Moodly good stuff - but we can't legislate for that.

The packages I'm working on use SCORM simply to record a pupils position for when they return to them - even achieving that seemed a nightmare beyond reason, but it finally seems to work and shows a possible way forward to use SCORM compatibility without using SCORM pedagogy.

Toodle pip

Marshal
 
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Picture of Marcus Schürstedt
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Just to add a different view to it...

when we are creating content, we do this with Captivate and Camtasia (mostly screencasts anyway) and putting everything together in an Articulate presentation.

So how to deploy this easily, if not using SCORM? It is just a zip file you have to upload. Otherwise you have to deal with a bunch of files. That's why I like SCORM.

We do not need all the scoring, rating and grading features. We use it just as an easy way to deploy.

And of course it is a way of protecting your investment. I can playback the SCORM packages anywhere...

Regards

Marcus



 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Yes, I can see the advantage of the SCORM import in being able to pull in an entire presentation, rather than reconstructing it (or something like it) inside Moodle.

In this respect its having a standard import tool that's important. And as you say you protect your time investment.

I also commonly use screencasts, or at least screenshots within presentations for training purposes.

Thanks,

John
 
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Picture of Mark Berthelemy
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Hi Marcus,

What is to stop you just zipping up the Articule presenter package (in fact Articulate can do that for you, when you publish for the web).

Any VLE ought to be able to upload and unzip a zip file regardless of whether there is any SCORM xml or javascript inside it. Then, just as in Moodle, you choose the launch page for that content.

The SCORM element for you seems unnecesary. Or have I missed something?

Mark
 
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Picture of Marcus Schürstedt
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
You are right - it is unnecessary for me. As I know HTML, I can ssh/ftp to my server and do everything I want.

But I am not alone creating content. And the other folks have no idea of Linux etc. They should not even have file access to anything smile So I do everything to make their live as easy as possible (e.g. changing the SCORM player, creating an upload course, creating a filter to link site wide to the SCORMs etc.). They have their windows environment to create content, their Powerpoint Articulate plugin and so on.

I do not need all the others SCORM features at the moment - in fact I even disabled some in the player wink

So it is all about user who have absolutely no time to dig deeper into the content creation process.



 
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Picture of Melanie Scott
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 

I have to say I really appreciate your comments about those of us who develop content but are not computer "geeks" (as an earlier post calls those of you who CAN do all that technical stuff).

I'm responsible for a tremendous amount of course development with slick and interactive tools for the learner but there is a marked disinterest in having a lot of interaction between participants (even though I'm certaining including and requiring participation in forums & chats...)...Moodle doesn't do slick (at least not at my skill level!). 

Lectora e-authoring can speed development of highly interactive and nifty looking presentations and quizzes that upload as SCORM and not require the user to be a programmer or learn complicated FLASH development.  It is far more costly than Captivate or Flash (~$2800 per license) but the learning curve on development is much shorter, so it makes the development time shorter.  And it allows the developer to set conditions in quizzes--with subquizzes and sending participants to a pop-up section in the course with review material for areas the participants clearly aren't getting. 

Is anyone else using this product in conjunction with Moodle?

 
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Hanging in my Stackhat
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
My two cents worth...

I work in an environment where we use Moodle as the primary channel for some of our courses and as a supplement to some others. In these cases, I am far happier to avoid SCORM altogether, by using HTML/Flash-based content if required (linked to as a resource), simple HTML resources, external links, and when it comes time to assessing then using quizzes as a 'self-test' function and then Assignment activities for formal assessments. In this situation I'm happy to avoid SCORM content, mainly because it adds no significant value UNLESS I have external content that I want reported in the Gradebook. I have experimented with eXe, and although it seems that in v1.9 it is compliant in the sense that it will display correctly, but I can't get it reporting to Gradebook for love or money. At the end of the day, for this sort of scenario - forget it.

However I also do some consultancy/training work for training organisations who have engaged Content Development Company XYZ to make up some specific training and who are using Moodle primarily as a delivery and tracking mechanism for such content. This is often compliance type training (i.e. all our employees must complete training in <whatever> to meet legislative requirements) and so many of the social constructivist elements of Moodle are not required. In fact most of Moodle's functionality isn't required in this situation. When it comes to these clients, the ability for Moodle to run seamlessly with SCORM content is paramount, and anyone who has read some of my other posts on this subject will know that I was on the verge of no longer recommending Moodle as an option to such clients because of this very issue. I have seen SCORM/Gradebook interaction work perfectly in v1.8, but it was with content developed by Content Development Company XYZ (who knew what they were doing when it came to SCORM) rather than using eXe (which was done by me who knows very little about SCORM).

In summary, for many users I believe that this whole issue is a 'SCORM in a teacup', but if Moodle wants to be considered as a genuine alternative to Overpriced Proprietary LMS XYZ, particularly in the corporate sector, then being 100% SCORM compliant is essential.
 
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Picture of John White
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
Well put, Mark.

I think that hits the nail on its head.

I have put a summary at the end (or it was then the end) of the first thread.

Regards,

John
 
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Picture of Bradley Conroy
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 
I agree that the import functionality is an absolute must, but it need not be part of the main Moodle release - it should be an add-on package or a conversion tool. As for SCORM export - the same goes, but if Moodle would establish its own published standard format, other systems would be able to import its content easier.
 
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Picture of Dan Marsden
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
I don't think we will ever be able to "export" full Moodle Courses as a Scorm object - there are some fundamental differences (many mentioned in this thread) why Moodle activities/modules/framework doesn't really "fit" the "Scorm" mold.

and we already have a standardised Moodle Export function - the Course Backup feature. - it creates a standardised Zip with all the relevant files, including an XML file detailing all the information about forums/quizzes/wikis/workshops/lessons/choices/etc etc.

now we just need to "publish" that "standard format" somewhere to make it more "official"

wink

Dan
 
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Picture of Colin McQueen
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
 

Is Common Cartridge going to be any better than just SCORM?

Anything happening in Moodle on this?

Common Cartridge from IMS
 
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Picture of Dan Marsden
Re: Is SCORM worth it?
Group DevelopersGroup Moodle Course Creator Certificate holdersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Translators
well - I know we wanted to implement
IMS CC import and hopefully export with Moodle 2.0 but afaik no-one has fronted up with funding to allow it to be done! - If it's something you're keen to help fund make sure you talk to your local Moodle partner and/or Moodle HQ!
It's even listed on the 2.0 roadmap (but without funding it's unlikely to be completed)
http://docs.moodle.org/en/Roadmap#Improvements_to_other_bits_of_Moodle
 
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