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Kunkel, Matthias [mkunkel] - 31. Jan 2014, 19:28

xAPI - Future of SCORM

A lot of ILIAS users have chosen our LMS because of its SCORM compliance and sound integration in ILIAS. But even if SCORM is a well introduced e-learning standard today that is used worldwide and in all kind of sectors, a next generation SCORM is already discussed in the community. Therefore, it was a good moment to think about the future of SCORM in ILIAS when we had a meeting of some of the major stakeholder in SCORM at January 30, 2014 in Cologne.
ILIAS and SCORM have a tight relation for years. ILIAS was the first open source LMS that was certified as SCORM 1.2 (with 3.1) and SCORM 2004 (with 3.9) compliant. It offers an integrated authoring environment to create SCORM 2004 learning modules. And since 4.4 it even has a SCORM offline player that allows the usage of SCORM modules without internet connection. These features show how important it is for us to offer a good and valuable SCORM support in ILIAS. And all these features will still be maintained and improved in the future.
At the ILIAS conference in Stuttgart in 2012 there was a very interesting speach about evolutions in SCORM and what might come next. Conclusion of the presentation was: we do not know yet. But with the first release of the Tin Can API last year (followed by a 1.0.1 release in October 2013) the discussion of a new SCORM changed to a new level and gain particularly in importance for the product strategy of ILIAS. Now there is a specification supported officially by ADL (who was and is still responsible for SCORM). And so the first LMS players are starting to offer xAPI support.
The major aim our SCORM strategy meeting in Cologne was to discuss the requirements for xAPI (aka Tin Can API), the options it could give ILIAS, and how to support it in our LMS. Participants of the meeting were Sébastien Fraysse from Knowledge Decision who is SCORM expert and consultant, Uwe Kohnle as SCORM maintainer in ILIAS,  SCORM consultant Stanislav Wischniak of Qualitus GmbH, and the ILIAS core team represented by Alexander Killing and Matthias Kunkel.
It became obvious in the discussion that xAPI support would offer much more options to use external applications of any kind in ILIAS learning and collaboration scenarios. Especially, all activities on mobile devices as well as in other web applications could be easily used without a special technical integration or a plugin. One result of this meeting were two suggestions for a first step of supporing xAPI activities with ILIAS.
    1. Quite easy to implement would be a feature called "External Web Activity". A typical use case would be to offer an external interactive learning application like a Serious Game that is launched as a learning activity in ILIAS. Once the game is finished the user pushs the button Get Activity Results in ILIAS, so that ILIAS receives and use the tracking data and results of this external application for triggering the learning progress of a course or to fulfill a precondition.
    1. A bit more work to implement would be the External Mobile Activity. One typical use case is a game delived on a smart phone. In ILIAS, this game appears as an « External Mobile Activity » object in the course. When the learner achieves to play the game on its smart phone, the results (e.g. completion, success) are automatically sent to ILIAS and appear in the Learning Progress and can be used to trigger other activities. Besides a new repository object External Mobile Activity this feature requires also to provide an own integrated LRS (Learning Record Store) in ILIAS.
Both features are already published in the Feature Wiki, category xAPI activity, and waiting for approval by the Jour Fixe. Up to now the funding for both feature is still required. For more information and interest in funding, please contact Matthias Kunkel.


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