Monday, 15 May 2006

Content Packaging and Shipping Container

In the #387 Updates from Elliott Masie, I learnt that May 13 is his birthday (Happy Birthday to Elliott) and the birth of the cool invention, the shipping container.

The shipping container introduced a standardized form of packaging content
(goods). It accelerated the globalization of markets, allowing goods to
flow with ease, automation and lower costs from every corner of the globe.

The standards of the shipping container were adopted by ships, docks and
manufacturers worldwide. It changed how goods were moved, with lower labor
costs and with higher tracking capability.

I must also add that the shipping container added a new way of putting "portable classrooms" in many schools! :-)

Elliott continued to reflect on the connection to content packaging for the learning space. He wrote:
As we adopt XLM, core learning standards and systems, it is possible for us to achieve some of the same benefits as the shipping container brought to transportation:

* Imagine the ability to easily move content from any source and rapidly integrate it.
* Imagine the increased ability to track content, through versions and localization.
* Imagine the impact of the "democratization" of content. Sharing the knowledge from many to many, with greater ease and greater organizational comfort with opening up the knowledge walls.

One of the most successful adaptations of content packaging would be the SCORM standard. I heard and read quite a bit about how successful SCORM has been. I am yet to read any report on the "volume" of learning content being traded or exchanged as SCORM package. [Please enlighten me if anyone can point me to any statistics about how much (either in number of courses or dollar value) course content has been exchanged using SCORM or any standard.]

I have been a strong advocate of learning technology standards such as SCORM, I am now starting to question whether these standards actually deliver any value to the learning community. The problems these standards meant to solve, ie interoperability, reusability,... etc, were not in the educators radar screen and frankly are not in their screen now too. It seems to be that these are problems created by technologists like myself trying to market our wares.

Can anyone show me some concrete proof that any learning technology standard has made a difference in learning? Will be greatly appreciated.

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