Academic journal article Connections : The Quarterly Journal

Supporting Learner Mobility in SCORM-Compliant Learning Environments with ISN Mobler Cards

Academic journal article Connections : The Quarterly Journal

Supporting Learner Mobility in SCORM-Compliant Learning Environments with ISN Mobler Cards

Article excerpt


Over the last decade, mobile information technologies have become a ubiquitous part of daily life. Mobile learning research has been going on for less than ten years, given that the smartphone revolution only started in 2006.1 As such, this field is among the newest research areas in educational technology. Given the overwhelming success of smart mobile devices on the global scale, this technology appears to be well suited to extending the reach and continuity of educational programs.

Mobile technologies have become increasingly relevant for education and training in security and defense organizations not only because of the market success of mobile phones and other portable devices but also because many mobile technologies have become part of the standard infrastructure in these organizations. Mobile technologies are part of the information networks that characterize the professional environments of soldiers, policemen, fire fighters, and other security workers. An example of such a networked infrastructure in the defense sector is the "Gladius" System that integrates infantry and vehicle-based weapon systems in the German military.2 Further development towards "network-enabled" combat systems is currently in process.3 These examples illustrate that the scope of technological change represented by the mobile revolution goes far beyond the availability and use of mobile phones.

Education and training in security and defense organizations are challenged by mobile technologies and the new relevance of mobility from four perspectives:

* Technological

* Socio-technological

* Professional complexity

* Organizational.

This essay emphasizes the organizational perspective. Many organizations have already made substantial investments in learning management systems (LMSs) for advanced distributed learning (ADL) infrastructure and in developing appropriate educational material. Significant investments have also been made in the training of instructors and authors to make good use of the available ADL solutions; indeed, many organizations have a rich pool of educational resources available in the SCORM format.4 The introduction of mobile technologies into education and training is particularly challenging because many organizations have not yet completed the initial adoption of conventional ADL solutions. This raises the question for security and defense organizations of whether they have to reiterate the process and create new educational resources and programs if they want to introduce scalable mobile learning solutions.

Mobile Learning and SCORM

The sharable content object reference model (SCORM) is the most prominent interoperability standard for educational material that can be used for Web-based training. Originally developed by the ADL Co-labs in the United States, it has emerged as the industry standard for exchanging Web-based training material. SCORM introduced interoperability standards for educational material that made the solution independent from the underlying delivery platform. SCORM is one of the core elements for sustaining investments into the development of educational material. The "reference model" has been widely adopted for packaging and exchanging educational material between so-called "run-time" environments and "learning management systems." SCORM specifies three aspects of ADL solutions:

* Content packaging, exchange, and delivery

* Content arrangement and sequencing

* Interactive content and data persistency.

The central elements of SCORM are "content objects." The terminology of SCORM refers to content objects as "sharable content objects," or in shorthand, "SCOs." SCOs are those educational resources that can be shared across ADL courses, compared to non-reusable contents, such as submissions to discussion forums or student presentations, which cannot be shared across courses. SCOs can be text documents, videos, audio files, interactive multi-media, as well as tests and assessments. …

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