Last time we discussed what goes into establishing an ROI for an S1000D Solution. In this blog, we provide an in-depth discussion of the S1000D and SCORM specifications, which aims to facilitate content reuse between technical publications and training by defining an API that will connect learning content tools with S1000D Common Source Data Bases (CSDBs).
What Is SCORM?
The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) also integrates related technical standards, specifications, and guidelines to meet SCORM’s high-level requirements for accessible, interoperable, durable, and reusable learning content and systems. SCORM content can be delivered to your learners via any SCORM-compliant Learning Management System (LMS) that supports the same version of SCORM.
SCORM is developed and published by ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) at www.adlnet.org and describes a content aggregation model and run-time environment for instructional objects.
It supports adaptive instructions based on a learner’s goals, preferences, prior performance, and other factors and enables content objects to be aggregated independently of their format.
Content can be easily rearranged based on learners’ needs, and any SCORM-compliant Learning Management System can interpret the resulting content packages.
SCORM compliance leverages course development investments by ensuring that compliant courses are:
- Accessible: Can be run by any SCORM-compliant system; easy access for learners and content developers.
- Interoperable: Operates across various hardware, operating systems, and web browsers.
- Durable: Does not require significant modifications due to new versions of system software or updates to Content or format.
- Reusable: SCO concepts allow for content reuse in different applications and contexts.
S1000D and SCORM Working Together
As of Issue 4.0 of the S1000D specification (released in August 2008), a relationship between S1000D and SCORM has been defined so that training content can be developed using the data module concepts of S1000D. New data module types were added to S1000D to capture five learning information types.
In addition to new data module types, S1000D Issue 4.0 includes an identification mechanism to identify learning content and locate it within your CSDB quickly. Once you have written your learning content, the various content pieces are aggregated using the S1000D SCORM content package. So just like any other S1000D data module, learning data modules are stored as XML in your Common Source Data Base.
Learning Objects in S1000D
Storing learning data modules in the CSDB facilitates reuse and can ensure that training content is synchronized with technical product documentation throughout the document lifecycle. This improves the overall configuration management of your product information and serves as a common digital data format that can be exchanged with partners and customers.
1. The five learning information types that can be stored in the CSDB are described below:Learning Plan:
• Purpose: To describe learning needs, goals, and other information necessary to the lesson planning process
• Typical Content: Project-related information, learning needs, and goals based on performance analysis data, cause analysis data, or intervention definitions
2. Learning Overview:
• Purpose: To provide additional information about the Content to the learner
• Typical Content: Goals and challenges, duration, or audience for the course or module
3. Learning Content:
• Purpose: To provide (additional) learning content to the learner
• Typical Content: Content to be learned in addition to technical instructions, procedures, or other knowledge about a job, task, or product description
4. Learning Summary:
• Purpose: To provide a review of the Content, give context to the learner and reinforce learning
• Typical Content: A short description of the Content, review notes, further steps, and where to find additional information and related resources
5. Learning Assessment:
• Purpose: To test the student’s knowledge in different ways, reinforce learning and measure progress
• Typical Content: Questions with true/false answers, and/or multiple-choice questions, etc.
Pulling it All Together
The introduction of SCORM into the S1000D specification includes a content aggregation concept called the “S1000D SCORM Content Package”, which is similar in concept and function to the S1000D Publication Module.
The SCORM Content Package aggregates defined SCOs (Shareable Content Objects) into learning packages (e.g., a training course). A single SCO contains all the learning content needed to fulfill one complete learning objective.
An SCO can consist of one or several data modules and illustrations and be reused in different training courses. Like the Publication Module, the S1000D SCORM Content Package is encoded in XML. To be SCORM-compliant, a content aggregation package must be generated according to the SCORM syntax.
Just-in-time training or point-of-use information can be used to augment the Content provided for a technical procedure. Just-in-time training provides instruction for doing a task right at the moment when it is needed. Often offered in e-learning, this training can be delivered when and where it is required.
One significant issue with training is how much time elapses between learning something and applying what you have learned. If what you learn is not used quickly, it will be forgotten; just-in-time training eliminates this effect since training is delivered immediately before the task in question is performed. To facilitate this, it is essential that training be targeted to a user’s role. Electronic resources such as IETP also reduce just-in-time training by enabling training content and technical data to be accessed from a single information resource.
Since S1000D and SCORM both allow multimedia and web technology, using the two standards together in an IETP takes just-in-time training to a whole new level. Using audio, video, animation, simulation, and virtual task training makes for a highly effective and engaging information resource available at precisely the right moment.
Job Performance Aids
Although like just-in-time training, Job Performance Aids (JPAs) began as printed cards that contained step-by-step instructions for performing a specific task so that technicians did not have to commit all the steps to memory.
Today, JPAs can include anything that improves job performance by guiding, facilitating, or reminding technicians during the accomplishment of job tasks. JPAs are considered instructional interventions because they also mediate knowledge and skills problems. However, job aids are not intended to produce learning; learning that does occur because of using a JPA is considered supplementary.
Simply put, JPAs can contain anything you ever wanted in a maintenance manual. They can replace static 2D drawings and countless paragraphs of instructional text with photos, illustrations, animations, or instructional videos. Instead of reading about the right way to do an inspection or repair, a JPA may allow a technician to simply watch a video demonstrating the correct way to complete the task.
An integrated environment for S1000D and SCORM provides the aviation and defense industries with numerous benefits that will reduce costs and ensure that technical documentation and learning content is accurate, consistent, and current:
- Better collaboration between technical publications and training organizations
- Easier creation and validation of learning materials by using controlled technical publications as input source data
- Improved planning and control of product information as learning material is continuously updated with the latest versions from tech pubs
- Reduced production time and faster time to market
- Increased quality and consistency between training and technical documentation
- Greater longevity for Content based on industry standards
- A single standard supports Content that is simple and inexpensive to produce, as well as Content with very high production value
The S1000D and SCORM communities have been working diligently to integrate and mature both standards, to create a high degree of compatibility between the two specifications, and to drive significant improvements in how aerospace and defense organizations produce, reuse, deliver and consume technical documentation and learning content.
The possibilities promised by the combined use of SCORM and S1000D include reduced costs, more consistent and accurate information resources, and improved mean time to repair. Good things happen when information consumers have access to interactive training exactly when they need it. Quality goes up, costs go down, and job satisfaction improves. And the combination of these two robust standards has the potential to be far more valuable than the sum of its parts.
Next up: We will address availability.