Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fake SCORM limitations that mask LMS or authoring tool limitations

A number of people think there are SCORM limitations when the real limitation is the LMS or authoring tool who then blames it on SCORM.  One of my favorite fake limitations has to do with screen size. There is nothing in the SCORM specification that requires a fixed size
screen. The concept of the fixed size screen is a hold-over (with
enormous inertia) from the print paradigm. That is, graphic designers
have gotten accustomed to specifying layout of every pixel of every
letter with respect to fixed size pages. Most tools have been adapted
to this concept: to maintain the precise duplication between the
authoring environment and what the page looks like at delivery,
regardless of student's settings, you have to specify a fixed size.
However, this is really bad web etiquette:
1. Pages either take up too much of the screen (requiring horizontal
scrolling to read a single line) or too little (a small box within a
larger screen area).
2. Accessibility and respect for student's browser default settings are
ignored. If a user wants his default font size to be 20pt, but the
course is built with the print paradigm, their desire will be ignored.
Then, it will be difficult for them to read the content.
3. Content doesn't rearrange if the student wants to put their course in
one half of the screen so that they can work on other tasks in the other

Please see the ReadyGo authoring tool that creates SCORM conformant
courses that resize to the student's browser size. If you want to, you
can also select a template that uses a fixed size screen.

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