Monday, 14 March 2005

SCORM delivery in alternate format

Susan Nash's comment to my last post prompted me to open up the can of worms which I have been avoiding so far. Ok, the devils are out!

About 9 months ago, I started a project SCORMplayer which will enable delivery of any SCORM compliance course from a CD. Running beta is available on the website. [Note, the download version has timed out, but if you download the sample course, the player in the sample course has the timer switched off. So get a sample course and replace the SCORM sample course in the SCORMcourse directory with yours to run.] The project was put on hold because of my over-commitment in other areas/projects. I hope I can have a break from some of my current work so finish off the CoursePlayer soon.

Here are some of my thoughts about SCORM delivery in alternate formats.

CD/DVD based delivery It can be done and is available for free via the SCORMplayer website!

The major issue is the collection of AICC interaction data captured from the learners and the sending back of these data to the institute/instructor. CoursePlayer does that using email. AICC data is captured and encrypted. At the end of the session, the learner is asked to initiate an email to send the data to the designated email account. CoursePlayer uses a template concept to handle the look n feel of the course. It automatically reads in the manifest file [a file which defines the course structure using IMS content packaging standards] and generates two simple navigations: a table of content type of tree for going to any SCO and a Previous-Next navigation. By using SCORM-SSS, the SCOs also pick up the look n feel from the template.

Another issue in CD/DVD based delivery is the fact that the whole course is on the CD/DVD. While I don't have any problem with that, some vendors do feel that their content may be copied by others. Here is my response. CoursePlayer is able to encrypt the HTML part of the SCOs so that only the CoursePlayer with the correct accompanying license will be able to decode the SCO. The media (any graphics/flash etc) used in the SCO, unfortunately, cannot be encrypted. After all, CoursePlayer is still using the regular web-browsers to display the content. I suggest that for maximum reach of potential learners, graphics should be used sparingly and only used when they contribute materially to the content delivered. In this case, graphics and flash will be content specific. Any body taking your graphics without the content will find the graphics out of context. OK, eye candies may be important in some cases, but please treat them as such and consider them disposable.

Portable devices I don't have any experience in this area. My feeling is that there are two additional considerations we must take into account when delivering SCORM courses to a portable device: display and connectivity limitations. I would love to see some discussion in this area.

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