Friday, December 14, 2007

SCORM and SCO's

Lots of LMS's and authoring tools limit their system by their limited reading of the SCORM specification and their limited implementation of SCO's. There is nothing in the SCORM specification that says that a SCO must be a single page of content. In fact, I believe it is a bad
design decision to make each page a SCO, but this appears to be the
group-think way of doing things. Here is my rationale: When you go from
SCO to SCO, the LMS has to close the previous SCO and then Launch the
next one. In some cases this means that the user must return to the
table of SCOs and manually launch the next one. That completely breaks
the learning flow.

Imagine that every time you want to see a new page of Google results you
have to go back to the start page, and re-input your search. That would
chunk your learning experience down into little pieces. And, we haven't
even addressed the delays most LMSs have in closing one SCO and
launching the next. I have seen delays as big as 20 seconds when going
from unit to unit, and this is on a DSL line.

If you want to see a tool that uses chapters or entire courses as a SCO,
you can take a look at the ReadyGo Web Course Builder.

One of the reasons that the "group-think" has gone with page=SCO is that
the majority of LMSs don't capture or report interactions and
objectives. This means that you can't get granularity of reporting
unless you have granularity of content. That is to find out if someone
answered a specific question correctly, you must use question=SCO.
Technically, it is easier to implement a single question on a web page,
but instructionally, I wonder if that isn't worse. In school, do
teachers hand out a single question, then pick it up, grade it, tell you
your grade, and then hand out the next one? I usually learned the
answers to one question by understanding another question on the test.
Since the objective should be training/teaching rather than measuring,
wouldn't it be better to use the pedagogical methods that have been
refined over centuries? Yes, we have new technologies available, and
these afford new opportunities, but it doesn't mean that we should
jettison older methods just because some 20-somethings with their cool
new iPods walking around with headphones believe they are the first to
ever do this, and thus anything the above-30s do must be trashed and
dis'-ed. (Does that stand for disregard, disparage, disagree, or all of
the above?)

Another tragedy of the minimalist LMS approach is that it becomes
impossible to use the LMS to carry out surveys and assessments. The
good news is that there are LMSs (Avilar, Oracle, MeridianKSI, IBM,
Aspen) that do capture and report interactions and objectives. So now,
there is hope that your LMS can be used to evaluate your course both
from the point of view of figuring out if the instructor is giving bad
questions and for the student to let you know their thoughts.

So, if you let a SCO be more than a single page, you can have the
summary as part of the SCO, and have the navigation/reusability, without
making compromises.

1 comment:

sam said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.

Scorm E Learning