Project Tin Can

SCORM is now 10 years old, an eternity in the world of rapidly advancing technology. Over the last decade, two things have happened. First, as the adoption of SCORM soared, people wanted to use it in new ways, ways that stretched the limits of what SCORM was designed to do. Second, technology has continued to evolve at a breakneck pace. In comparison with today’s technologies and best practices the current SCORM structure is antiquated and inadequate. Both of these trends beget the need for a more modern and powerful communication framework.

The end result of this project should create a clear path forward for the modernization of the SCORM communication framework. Ideally, this work will feed directly into the development of the next generation of e-learning standards.

So that’s just what we’re going to do. We answer the most likely of your questions below, and you can read the technical approach we intend to take. Oh, and be sure to participate yourself along the way.

Does it relate to “SCORM 2.0”?

Maybe. Maybe not. Here’s what we do know. ADL recognizes that there is a need to update the technology used by SCORM and is starting the technical work to do so. Currently, ADL has publicly committed to three parallel thrusts of effort regarding SCORM:

  1. Revitalized support for the existing SCORM versions, including legacy support for SCORM 1.2
  2. Harmonization of the CMI data model with AICC, IEEE LTSC and LETSI
  3. Research and development of an “Experience Tracking API”

Rustici Software (and more importantly, you, as an e-learning stakeholder) is/are making a significant contribution to this third thrust with Project Tin Can.

Whether the result will be “the next SCORM” or something else entirely is still being determined. What is certain is that we are thinking much bigger than the current scope of what SCORM does.

How is ADL involved?

This is a research project sponsored by ADL, in support of their “Future Learning Experience” project. They are very interested in this area and we will be working very closely with them throughout the project. But, technically this is a private research project with the emphasis on the word research. Which means they could decide to adopt what we come up with or it might be shelved indefinitely.

What about LETSI?

LETSI recently published a solution for web-service based communication that extends the existing SCORM framework. LETSI RTWS is an immediately implementable and useful solution to a number of restrictions inherent in the existing SCORM communication framework. It solves a number of pressing problems and provides a foundation on which many more capabilities can by built. Rustici Software was (and still is) heavily involved in the creation of LETSI RTWS.

There is certainly some overlap in the scope of Project Tin Can and LETSI RTWS, but there are also points of divergence. Rustici Software will continue to support both efforts and use the lessons learned in each effort to inform work in the other. Our hope is to have open and collaborative relationships between all stakeholders to advance the state of the industry.

Why Rustici Software?

So, just how did we end up with this gig? Well, forgive the immodesty, but we have an excellent reputation for implementing SCORM really well. Really well. Add to that the numerous connections we’ve built over the years with important SCORM stakeholders through our work with ADL and LETSI and the reputation we’ve built there for insightful contribution to previous technical work to evolve SCORM. Mike and Ben also played key roles in the development of RTWS, which gives them a headstart on thinking about where e-learning communication might go.

And those qualifications inform why we’re taking on this project. We don’t normally take consulting or research projects. But we’ve always been big believers in giving back to advance the industry and preserve the future of SCORM. This project is one where we’re uniquely qualified and believe strongly that it’s super-important for the industry going forward.

Why “Project Tin Can”?

Well, would you have preferred “ADL Funded Broad Agency Announcement Research Project to Modernize the Communication Framework for What May or May Not Be Called SCORM”…with the nice simple acronym “AFBAARPMCFFWMOMNBCS”?

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