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E-learning standards: what are they and which should you choose?

E-learning standards are a set of guidelines that define how electronic learning materials should be created, delivered, and accessed. They aim to improve the quality and effectiveness of e-learning by ensuring consistency and interoperability across different platforms and systems. In practical terms, it means that e-learning materials that follow the standards can be used on any device or system, and will work consistently and predictably.

Let me explain this with an example.

Suppose you want to create an e-learning course that can be accessed on both a laptop and a smartphone. If the course is not built using standards, the course will likely have to be created twice, once for each type of device or platform. This means extra work for you and can also lead to inconsistencies between the two versions of the course. Not to mention, it can be confusing and frustrating for learners who have to switch between devices or platforms.

E-learning standards make it possible to create courses that can be accessed on any type of device, without having to create separate versions for each. This makes it easier for you like the course creator, and also ensures that your course is consistent across different platforms.

Having said that, there are many different e-learning standards out there, and it can be confusing to know which one to choose. In this article, I’ll give you an overview of the most popular e-learning standards, their features, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

1. SCORM

SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It’s the most widely used standard for e-learning and has been around since 2001. SCORM is a technical standard that defines how e-learning content and learning management systems (LMSs) should work together. It’s mainly used to track learner progress and completion, but can also be used to deliver content.

SCORM has three versions: SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, and SCORM 2004 4th edition. The latest version is SCORM 2004 4th edition, which was released in 2016.

SCORM 1.2 was the first version of SCORM and is still widely used today. It’s a relatively simple standard that only tracks learner progress and completion.

SCORM 2004 is a more complex standard that can track learner progress, completion, and other data such as time spent on a task, score, and so on.

The latest version of SCORM is SCORM 2004 4th edition. It includes all the features of SCORM 2004, plus some additional features such as support for mobile devices, better usability, and improved accessibility.

Advantages:

– SCORM is the most widely used standard, so it’s compatible with most LMSs.

– SCORM is a relatively simple standard that is easy to implement.

– SCORM can track more data and provide a better learning experience.

– SCORM also supports sequencing to control course progression.

– The latest version of SCORM is even more user-friendly and accessible.

Disadvantages:

– SCORM can be complex to implement, especially for beginners.

– Some older versions of SCORM are not compatible with mobile devices.

– Offline learning is not supported

2. AICC

AICC stands for Aviation Industry CBT Committee. It’s a non-profit organisation that develops standards for the aviation industry, but it’s also widely used in e-learning. AICC has been around since 1988 and its standards are used by some of the biggest names in e-learning, including Microsoft, Adobe, and Blackboard.

AICC’s most popular standard is CMI-5, which stands for Course Management Interoperability. CMI-5 is the latest version of AICC’s standards and was released in 2016. It’s similar to SCORM in that it defines how e-learning content and LMSs should work together.

Advantages:

– AICC is a well-established organisation with a long history of developing standards.

– AICC’s standards are used by some of the biggest names in e-learning.

– Far more secure than other standards.

Disadvantages:

– AICC’s standards are not as widely used as SCORM, so they’re not compatible with as many LMSs.

– AICC has no support for tracking the courses.

– AICC no longer supports or updates the standard.

3. xAPI

xAPI (also known as Tin Can API) is a relatively new standard that was released in 2013. xAPI is different from SCORM and AICC in that it’s not limited to e-learning. It can be used for any type of learning, whether it’s formal or informal, online or offline.

xAPI is a very flexible standard that can track almost anything you want. For example, it can track how long someone spends on a task, what they do, what they say, and so on.

Advantages:

– xAPI is a very flexible standard that can be used for any type of learning.

– xAPI can track almost any data you want, including data from offline activities.

Disadvantages:

– xAPI is a relatively new standard and is not as widely used as SCORM or AICC.

4. cmi5

cmi5 is a new standard that was released in 2016. It’s similar to SCORM in that it defines how e-learning content and LMSs should work together.

However, cmi5 is different from SCORM in that it’s a more flexible standard. For example, cmi5 can track data from offline activities and mobile devices.

Advantages:

– cmi5 is a more flexible standard than SCORM.

– cmi5 can track data from offline activities and mobile devices.

Disadvantages:

– cmi5 is a relatively new standard and is not as widely used as SCORM.

So, which e-learning standard should you use? It depends on your needs. If you want a simple standard that’s compatible with most LMS s, then SCORM is a good choice. If you want a more flexible standard that can track more data, then cmi5 or xAPI may be a better choice.

 Table of Comparison

Table of Comparison

Our Recommendation

If you’re just getting started with e-learning, we recommend using SCORM. It’s the most widely used standard and it’s relatively simple to implement. Once you’ve got a handle on SCORM, you can then start exploring other standards such as cmi5 or xAPI. However, if you have no time to experiment, we suggest xAPI. It’s a very flexible standard that can be used for any type of learning. As mentioned before, it can track data from offline activities, which is very useful if you’re looking to create a blended learning course.

Hope this article helped you understand the different e-learning standards. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

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