Principal Mobility Architect
In this article Peter Rogers, Principal Architect for Mobility at Cognizant shares his insights on the technology and standards behind mobile eLearning platforms.
One of the main challenges for eLearning systems is having a great mobile user experience, and this is largely due to the in-browser nature dictated by SCORM. “SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. Sharable Content Object indicates that SCORM is all about creating units of online training material that can be shared across systems. SCORM defines how to create ‘sharable content objects’ or ‘SCOs’ that can be reused in different systems and contexts. ‘Reference Model’ reflects the fact that SCORM isn’t actually a standard. ADL didn’t write SCORM from the ground up. Instead, they noticed that the industry already had many standards that solved part of the problem. SCORM simply references these existing standards and tells developers how to properly use them together.” [http://scorm.com/scorm-explained/]
The upside is that SCORM is one of the very few standards (or collections of standards) that exist in the eLearning space. What App developers really want however is to produce their own native UX as opposed to having to wrap non-mobile-first web content inside a UIWebView / WebView. This is where a new standard called the Tin Can API comes in, allowing for a totally custom mobile-first UX to hook up with a remote learning record store (LRS) in order to record learning activities and achievements.
“The Tin Can API removes the need for an Internet browser. This opens up a lot of possibilities for how users experience your content, and what your content can be. Creating native mobile apps, simulators, and serious games that conform to the Tin Can API is easy. Just make sure that your software is set up to send statements to an LRS, and that your system is connected to a network (or at least occasionally connected)” [http://scorm.com/project-tin-can-phase-3-removal-of-the-need-for-an-internet-browser/]
The Mobile App uses the Tin Can API to send secure messages to the LRS in the form of “noun verb object” or “I did this”.
- bob attempted ‘HTML 5 Beginners Course’
- user 1 experienced ‘Gamification Level 1’
- user 2 completed ‘Gamification Level 2’ with score 2000
You can use a public LRS for test purposes (http://tincanapi.com/public-lrs/) but for a permanent solution then you need to create a SCORM Cloud Account (https://demo.tincanapi.com/pdl/#/pdl/sign/up).
It is easy enough to create an eLearning system that presents learning material but the challenge is to make the mobile user experience compelling and fun, and most importantly to record and assess the actual learning achieved. The use of the Tin Can API can enable both of these two goals and with public LRS being accessible then I highly recommend that all educational developers try this out.
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Senior Analyst, Digital Transformation, EBA, Center for the Future of Work Cognizant
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***Full Disclosure: These are my personal opinions. No company is silly enough to claim them. I am a mobility and digital transformation analyst, consultant and writer. I work with and have worked with many of the companies mentioned in my articles.