SCORM Ain’t Dead: That Which Can’t Be Said

Like so many organizations in and around Washington DC, ADL has a messaging problem.

Like so many organizations in and around Washington DC, ADL serves many masters.

Like so many organizations in and around Washington DC, ADL’s messages are best understood through the filter of a trained professional.

Call me SCORM’s James Carville, if you please.

The Noise

If you read every comment from ADL’s people and the responses to them, you get noise.

“We’re doing more to support SCORM”…
“SCORM isn’t being evolved”…
“We’re updating the SCORM books”…
“SCORM is going to ISO”…
“Introducing the Future Learning Experience Project”…
“Participate in Project Tin Can”…
“AICC CMI 5 is defining a new data model”…
“Check out LETSI RTWS”.

Without context, that looks like a big fat mess. It looks a bit directionless. But don’t despair, ye fans of SCORM. It’s actually laced with a lot of good news.

The Signal

ADL is doing the right things to support SCORM in its current form going forward, in the best ways it can as governed by its many masters.

ADL is pushing SCORM forward in leaps small and large (short term and long), but its many masters make continued use of the name SCORM difficult.

ADL hopes to work with willing collaborators to create the best learning standards.

Context and Background: The Noise Source

“If you serve too many masters, you’ll soon suffer.”
— Homer

As a government organization, ADL’s masters are many and their interests all impact ADL’s ability to maneuver.

Master 1: The Boss, er, the Pentagon

From Day 1, ADL has existed to better prepare the warfighter. Give credit to the folks at the Pentagon, they take a broad view of preparing the warfighter, and the eLearning community has benefited from that in the shape of SCORM as it is today. Rightly so, the Pentagon leadership doesn’t want to support a static standard, so they’ve asked for what comes next.

ADL has laid out the “Future Learning Experience Project”, and it will build upon the platform laid by SCORM to further the support of the warfighter as we move toward 2025. I have no doubt that “FLEX” will also support learners around the world effectively.

Our work with Project Tin Can gives us an early look at this work. FLEX builds upon the core concepts that led to the creation of SCORM 10 years ago, while adjusting for the inevitable changes in technology. This is good news of the highest order for those who care about SCORM. SCORM, “the name”, may or may not move forward, but the concepts and the platform inevitably will. And it will do so with ADL’s financial and technical support.

Master 2: The Financiers

Government agencies can’t just spend their budgets however they deem appropriate; they have to spend money on exactly what it was allocated for. People refer to this financial allocation as the “color of money”. ADL is funded using dollars allocated for “research” purposes. Maintaining an existing specification is classified as “sustainment”. You can’t spend “research” dollars on “sustainment”.

If you wonder why the SCORM brand may or may not survive, please consider the phrases research and sustainment. (Trust us, we benefit as much as anyone from the continued use of the word “SCORM”. It may or may not make it, but that doesn’t mean that the standard or work has been lost. It’s continuing.)

Master 3: The Lawyers

There are a lot of us, reasonable, plainspoken people, who really wish that ADL were able to pass SCORM off to an open group like LETSI. There are many people within ADL who wish this. SCORM would likely flourish if set free.

Put simply, the lawyers won’t let it happen. Well, the lawyers and the good folks at IMS. IMS, didn’t like the fact that ADL was handing over SCORM (with embedded IMS IP) to yet another standards organization so they brought lawyers into the equation. There are two sides to every story, but the relevant outcome is once lawyers got involved it turned into a very messy divorce.

Unfortunately, this means that SCORM stewardship remains locked up within ADL. And further, it means that any evolution of SCORM is further complicated, particularly as it relates to anything originally contributed by IMS.

Again, we reasonable, plainspoken people (including learning tech people from both IMS and elsewhere) would be best served by reconciliation and collaboration. For now, though, it seems that we’ll have to do without. As long as the relationship between IMS and ADL remains dysfunctional, the two significant parts of SCORM contributed by IMS (packaging and sequencing) are effectively frozen. ADL can’t evolve them without more legal sword-fighting.

What Next?

Well, check back here tomorrow for a line-by-line interpretation of ADL-SCORM-Evolution Speak.

Highlights to include:

  • AICC-CMI-Evolution
  • ISO-FLEXification

These words are my own. These opinions are my own. There is no official ADL opinion, fact or history included herein.

Part 2: SCORM Ain’t Dead: Where We Will Head

  • Hi Mike- I just happened to come across this post – well after you originated it. Clearly you have a huge bias toward SCORM and ADL because of your company’s products. That’s fine. What’s not fine is your attempt to describe what might have happened or is happening between IMS and ADL. Here are the facts:

    IMS rarely runs into ADL or SCORM these days. We are focused on the education segments and there has been little success of SCORM in education. It’s been tried and hasn’t worked out. Although you would like to paint SCORM as a viable alternative to what IMS is providing to the educational community, well, even your own customers will tell you that the IMS Common Cartridge, LTI, etc. are gaining huge traction while SCORM has not. Just ask Blackboard, Desire2Learn, MoodleRooms, Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Cengage, Elsevier, Wiley, etc. We work within the education industry every day. Sorry, but these are the facts.

    It’s common and accepted practice for standards organizations to have legal agreements between them when one standards organization uses the other’s work. W3C or any other non-profit standards consortium would not allow another standards organization to reuse it’s work without an agreement of cooperation. This is good for all the end-users. Fact is that we have had at least two very viable agreements co-authored with ADL for the evolution of IMS work in SCORM. The main sticking point seems to be SCORM’s unwillingness to contribute back to the IMS community the work created (which is a very typical provision of such agreements). IMS has such workable agreements with many other standards bodies and cooperates with leading standards bodies through such agreements all the time – including W3C, ISO/IEC, IEEE, and OASIS/WSI. It is simply the fact that the U.S. Department of Defense seems to want to compete with an industry standards organization rather than cooperate. That’s very said for those of you all wrapped up in SCORM, because the industry standards activities will win over time. In fact, there are laws that require the U.S, government to use and cooperate with industry standards organizations. ADL is a very strange case indeed.

    Finally, it is not at all common for a private enterprise such as yours to use the trademark of a U.S. taxpayer initiative in your URL. The fact that ADL does not challenge you on this seems to indicate that there must be some sort of preferential relationship between Rustici software and the Department of Defense. I don’t know how a reasonable person could draw any other conclusion. That may be fine – I’m not a lawyer. But, it certainly isn’t good for interoperability and standards. How many of the SCORM certifications are really just the Rustici engine under the covers? If it’s a significant portion then what we are seeing is not interoperability as much as a single vendor providing a way to doing something that is adopted by many in a market. Again, that’s probably OK legally- but it’s not an industry controlled standards process. Same goes for Rustici’s unique position in terms of Tin Can and defining the next generation of SCORM. A special relationship between your organization and the publisher of the standard just doesn’t strike me as fair to the other industry participants.

    So, all is fair in the competition among standards – which, as you say, is unfortunate given the need to really get them right for the sake of our community. IMS is committed to doing that and that is why we have grow so dramatically over the last 5 years. We see SCORM and ADL as an outlier that just doesn’t want to play by the normal rules and conventions that have benefitted so many in terms of open standards over the years. I’ll be very happy to further discuss this in any forum and set the record straight as well as hear any concerns there are out there. There appears to be a lot of misinformation out there.

    Perhaps Rustic Software should take the high road and join the standards process as opposed to trying to create its own? After all, standards have been very good to your business.

    Best regards,
    Rob Abel
    IMS Global Learning Consortium

  • Hi Rob,

    Thank you for taking the time to add your thoughts to this discussion. We’re always happy to listen to and discuss an alternate point of view.

    I am more than a little dismayed though to see you again burying a legitimate counterpoint amongst a pile of misplaced vitriol. Quite frankly Rob, we’ve considered joining IMS on a number of occasions, but theatrics like this comment and your TAACCCT post make it difficult for us. If we were to join, would we be supporting your continued disparagement of SCORM in inaccurate and misleading ways?

    So, before I join you down in the mud, you make a legitimate point. IMS does have agreements in place with ADL under which collaborative work could be continued. As I said in the post, “there are two sides to every story”. I’m sure that ADL and IMS both share the blame for the demise of this relationship. But we can both agree that there is no love lost in the current IMS-ADL relationship.

    Even though you don’t seem to believe it, I simply don’t speak for ADL, nor am I reflecting their official positions. I am simply telling it like I see it. ADL and IMS are no longer collaborating and the rest of us wish you would both just get along.

    And now down to the mud.

    Your conclusion is the most troubling part of your comment, so let’s start there:

    Perhaps Rustic Software should take the high road and join the standards process as opposed to trying to create its own?

    We have contributed hundreds, if not thousands, of volunteer hours to the standards process. We’ve worked with and are members of the ADL Technical Working Group, LETSI, AICC and the IEEE LTSC. Our Project Tin Can outreach has included over 300 distinct contributors and about 75 one-on-one interviews with industry thought leaders and key vendors.

    Are you implying that we are not on the high road because we have not joined IMS?

    We have and are still considering implementing Common Cartridge, because we recognize that different standards have their place and strengths and that vendors buy into one or another. We are huge contributors to the evolution of standards and our products can introduce new technologies to hundreds of eLearning vendors.

    To this point, we have not contributed to the evolution of your standard. We believe that we could bring great perspective and encourage substantial adoption, but your approach makes joining/implementing difficult for us.

    So, Rob, what do we need to do to move past the kind of aggression that has led to multiple blog posts on the subject?

    Although you would like to paint SCORM as a viable alternative to what IMS is providing to the educational community.

    Are you referring to something specific we have actually said, or are you just conjecturing what we might say?

    Our position has always been that SCORM is good for some use cases and poor for others. We routinely turn away customers for whom SCORM is a poor fit. If you look at the bottom of our Benefits of SCORM page, you will notice that we even publicly point out that SCORM is not always a good fit for the educational community.

    How many of the SCORM certifications are really just the Rustici engine under the covers?

    Good question. I ran the numbers this morning. 35 of the 386 SCORM certifications listed on ADL’s site are backed by Rustici Software, roughly 9%. This percentage is the same across certification types and SCORM versions.

    As a whole though, few of our customers bother to get formally certified. That holds for the rest of the industry as well. There are hundreds of SCORM conformant products on the market that most of the world doesn’t know about. We recently began a project to find out just how many there really are.

    Common Cartridge, LTI, etc. are gaining huge traction

    We’ve never disputed that Common Cartridge and LTI are gaining traction. We recognize that and are watching them closely. CC in particular has been on our implementation roadmap for a while.

    Finally, it is not at all common for a private enterprise such as yours to use the trademark of a U.S. taxpayer initiative in your URL. The fact that ADL does not challenge you on this seems to indicate that there must be some sort of preferential relationship between Rustici software and the Department of Defense. I don’t know how a reasonable person could draw any other conclusion.

    Then should a reasonable person assume that you will be challenging IMS member Warwick Bailey on the URL of his Icodeon Common Cartridge Platform ( Or should we conclude that there is a preferential relationship between Warwick and IMS?

  • Hi Mike-

    You are not the only one allowed to opinions. it was your opinions – stated very factually in your post – that caused me to respond.

    I stand by my assertions in my response to your post – which was inaccurate in terms of its characterization of “IMS bringing in lawyers” to stop cooperation. Since you have “no inside information” than why are you making a post which clearly tries to paint IMS in a poor light? As I said, I’ll be happy to clarify exactly what has happened or is happening with ADL/SCORM and IMS. But, in either case, Rustici Software isn’t qualified to comment – but yet you did.

    With respect to the “high ground” – hundreds and thousands of organizations all around the world voluntarily submit to work under the auspices of standards consortia. ADL is NOT a standards consortia. ADL is a government project, funded by taxpayers. Companies like Blackboard, Oracle, IBM, MoodleRooms, Microsoft, with substantial market share, as well as small start-ups, submit to consensus based standards where they only get one vote (in the case of IMS 1 out of about 100). As far as I’m aware Rustici has never been a member of such a voluntary consensus based standards body – IMS or otherwise. That’s fine – but that’s “not the high road” with respect to contributing to standards. Voluntary consensus based standards activities, if conducted correctly, prevent suppliers from getting an advantage out of the standards setting activity. Also, it is the members that provide the financial support. So, this is the high road. I might note that Rustici software was never a member of IMS, for instance, even before there were “issues” with ADL. The stuff that you are profiting from was funded by others. Again, this is fine – lots of companies take advantage of standards in this way – but, it is not what I would call “the high road” with respect to standards. I don’t think anyone else would either.

    I don’t know of a single other situation where the U.S. government has allowed a private enterprise to put a government-owned trademark in its URL. SCORM is a government owned trademark. Those letters. If you can come up with an example where such favoritism has been allowed in terms of use of a government trademark, I’ll stand corrected. With respect to the Icodeon use of Common Cartridge – it is very different. Common Cartridge was not funded with taxpayer dollars. Common Cartridge is not a trademark at this point. The Icodeon site you are referencing pretty much has nothing on it. For all I know, Icodeon, which IS an organization that contributes in the consensus based standards organization process, took that mark to prevent Rustici from taking it. And, believe me, if that site ever begins to cause confusion IMS will ensure that it is remedied.

    So, it does seem to me that something is amiss in the Rustici use of – especially if there have been some contracts let from ADL to Rustici. For instance, perhaps Icodeon or some other organization that does participate in voluntary consensus-based standards organizations is more qualified to lead Tin Can than one that does not? But, again, I’m not a lawyer. I do think it seems very unfair to all the others out there. Just like when ADL tried to grant stewardship of SCORM to LETSI without any competition or fair process on how to set it up – which as you know was eventually corrected by the DoD’s own lawyers (with no involvement from IMS I might add) – see

    I really have nothing against SCORM or Rustici. But, if you want to persist in your negative positioning of IMS we are certainly going to respond. Honestly, I found a lot of negative positioning around IMS five years ago when I came into this job coming from ADL & SCORM supporters. It’s gone way down since then, but there are still a few out there that think they have to put down IMS. The bottomline is that IMS needed to stand up to it then, needs to stand up to it now, and will in the future.

    The IMS response to TAACCCT was simply the same issues/comparison of IMS work for education and SCORM – which does not fit education (or perhaps only a very small niche within education). You can see all the supportive public comments on the IMS web site of the analysis and, believe me, the number of supportive private comments was at least a factor of 10 more. And, of course, our objections led to a positive resolution for all the potential standards organizations that could be involved. So, if IMS did not stand up we would not have positively resolved that issue. So, what bugged you as vitriol is perceived as a huge step forward in cutting through the non-sensical requirements for SCORM.

    Perhaps my objections to your post will lead to some positive outcome for the community as well?

    I’m sorry if you might not like the “way I phrase things” and therefore call it “vitriol.” That seems to be what you and your colleagues at Rustici like to label anyone that disagrees with you. But, I could also label your original post with respect to IMS the same way. Instead, I choose to focus on the arguments made and not the style of the arguments.

    If you want to voice your opinions about standards and standards organizations – well, I think I have at least as much expertise on this topic as you – as well as real inside information – and you shouldn’t be surprised to get challenged. I thought others might want to hear from someone that actually knows what is going on and how standards bodies really work.

    At this point I think we would both be best served to leave this where it is. There are some folks that believe your perspective and there are some that see it my way. Time will tell who has it right I guess.

    Rob Abel

  • inaccurate in terms of its characterization of “IMS bringing in lawyers”…which clearly tries to paint IMS in a poor light…corrected by the DoD’s own lawyers (with no involvement from IMS)…focus on the arguments

    Again, I am happy to have a discussion of facts and to be critiqued if my facts are incorrect.

    Are you asserting that IMS did not hire lawyers to claim that a transfer of SCORM stewardship constituted an improper use of IMS intellectual property?

    I have heard many times that such a claim was made.

    If I have presented something as fact that is untrue, I would be very appreciative if you would correct my facts.

    I’m sorry if you feel that the post portrayed IMS in a negative light. I tried to be as objective as possible and to acknowledge the fact that IMS had legitimate grievances about ADL’s SCORM stewardship plans.

  • Hi Mike-

    Happy to explain for all to see.

    We did have some lawyers involved – but the objective was to get ADL to “play fair” – not to stop progress on standards. ADL – the U.S. Department of Defense – are the ones that have all the lawyers. They know it and they know they can pretty much do whatever they want.

    When I came into IMS there was no agreement between IMS and ADL regarding use of the IMS materials in SCORM. I first learned about this from Bob Wisher in ADL. He brought the issue up in our 1st phone call. Frankly I didn’t care much until it was clear that ADL had been and was actively positioning IMS as an irrelevant organization (“if you pay attention to SCORM you don’t need to care about IMS”). ADL was also portraying itself as the organization taking things into international standards with IMS being purely an input to ADL/SCORM. The facts were that IMS was the organization working with standards in ISO, not ADL. ISO did not see SCORM as something that could become an ISO standard – but rather as you have noted a Technical Report (there is a VERY major difference). The net-net was that the U.S. Department of Defense was asserting ownership over IMS-developed work and putting misinformation into the market that was hurting IMS. To IMS this was/is no different than if any IMS member organization – say Microsoft or your favorite semi-monopoly – attempted to take IMS work and assert that it was theirs. IMS would object to that as well. The thing is, what we find is that corporations tend to adhere to the rules while ADL felt it was above them.

    Then, to top it off, DoD attempted to set up LETSI as a steward of SCORM and therefore IMS work. IMS requested that if a stewardship organization was going to be set up there should be a fair and open “procurement” process. As it was, a few folks on the inside of ADL had all the control. It was ADL consultants setting it up and handing it over to themselves in our opinion.

    So, IMS did a few things. First, I objected to the powers that be in the U.S. DoD. The response I got was along the lines of “we’re in charge here boy and it’s our way or the highway. We have a strategy and it doesn’t necessarily include IMS – so get in line.” Second, we realized that we had little chance of fighting a legal battle with the U.S. government. So, we had our legal counsel send a letter to the formers of LETSI making it clear that we disputed ADL’s rights to SCORM (and therefore LETSI’s rights). We also sent a couple of other warning letters to organizations that seemed to be reinforcing some of the misinformation that ADL was projecting into the marketplace.

    Now, in parallel with all this we bent over backwards to try to resolve the issues with ADL so they could in fact grant the IMS IP to LETSI. We had developed an agreement with ADL that required them to keep working in concert with IMS. ADL and IMS signed it. But, then ADL pulled out of IMS and stopped collaborating with IMS. Thus the terms of the agreement have not been fulfilled.

    Now, the other “legal thing” we did in there was we filed a protest with the GAO regarding the formation of LETSI – the fact that there was no open competition and bidding process. Unfortunately for us, the GAO rejected this as a case they could rule on. We felt this was our only attempt to get a fair hearing from an unbiased agency in the U.S. government. It did not work.

    Then, by some miracle there was a short window in late 2009 when some new blood came into ADL. They felt that there was “something fishy” with respect to the granting of SCORM stewardship to LETSI. They asked the DoD general counsel to make a ruling and the ruling they made in fact is what prevented SCORM from being stewarded by LETSI – again, see . I wish I could say that the ruling had something to do with the IMS protest. But, it did not. I did not even meet these new people until the ruling had been made and they were unaware of the IMS protest.

    That is the end of any legal letters, etc. There was never any litigation. Just attempts to ask parties involved to act responsibly.

    Now, in mid-2010 there were some meetings and quite a bit of time spent with ADL again looking at how to possibly bring together SCORM with the new generation of IMS work. I thought there were some good ideas on how to do that. However, we ran into some issues when certain ADL personnel kept harping on some IP and transparency issues that, quite frankly, they didn’t/don’t understand. The bottomline is that consultants want to see things run in a way that favors them – but those ways of doing things do not reap the maximum involvement and contribution from market leading organizations. But there appeared to be some that were highly influential in ADL – despite being wrong on these topics. IMS has had its processes looked at over and over again and there is just NO merit in the noise coming from the IMS detractors. If you are against the IMS processes then you are pretty much against the policies and procedures of all the best run standards organizations in the world. So, we have chalked up this misinformation as simply organizations or individuals that want to “run their own show” in a very small group as opposed to truly engaging in a substantial organization such as IMS.

    Anyway, all that discussion was for naught because there has been a complete and utter lack of engagement from ADL to follow through on any of the ideas discussed on how to bring the work together. IMS reached out and had ADL leaders come to IMS Board of Director sessions and there has been zero follow through from ADL.

    In IMS we don’t see SCORM as bad for it’s purpose. We’d like to be supportive because many IMS members have done things with SCORM in the past. We just don’t see it as a great fit for what we are trying to do. And, when it is marketed as a good fit for what we are trying to do – well, we need to object to that. SCORM to us represents the past – a first attempt at interoperability of digital content and learning platforms that has been largely overcome by the evolution of the web. It also represents something that has marginal advantage over AICC – which was everyone’s inspiration in the late ’90’s to solve the needs of web-based corporate training. When I came into IMS there was a bunch of stuff percolating from the education community – like Common Cartridge – to serve the needs of the education community. All the folks involved were well aware of SCORM and did not see it as a fit. I had nothing to do with it – these are the education organizations that made these decisions – not me. The stuff IMS is doing now is our own direction. It has a lot of support. We want to clear up the competition with SCORM.

    I personally AM a bit angry at SCORM and the DoD. The main reason is that from the education segment’s perspective it has been a major distraction. Quite honestly, it still is a major distraction. The brand name of SCORM is powerful – and, as with many standards – people ask for it when it isn’t what they need and it isn’t a good fit. There’s still that kind of marketing going on. There are rules and regulations in the U.S. government that inspire requests for SCORM not only in inappropriate places in U.S. education, but all around the world. We have asked ADL/DoD to make a place for the IMS work and give it equal time in these regulations and conversations. From the reaction it has become very clear that the DoD wants to compete with/overshadow the IMS work with SCORM. That’s why we reacted so strongly to TAACCCT and will to any other SCORM mandate that cuts into education. I’ve seen what the situation has been with SCORM in education in the UK, Europe, and South Korea. It could be summarized as somewhere between failure and limited success at best. It’s time for work that is focused on the needs of education.

    So, the net-net of all this is that the U.S. government/DoD/ADL still has not come to the table to resolve the issue of use of IMS work in SCORM. It’s very clear in OMB-119 that government organizations are supposed to function just like any other member of a voluntary consensus industry standards organization – and play by the rules. All along here ADL/DoD has been acting like a bully that can do anything it wants. Quite frankly it is still acting that way. To top it off, IMS really isn’t motivated any longer because SCORM has made very little progress in the last 5 years and doesn’t seem to fit where we are going. Despite all the activity and talk the last 5 years there seems to be just a tiny amount of progress on SCORM.

    I can still remember my first phone conversation with Bob Wisher within a few weeks of coming into IMS. I had no bias for or against SCORM at the time. My job was to figure out how IMS could best respond to our members. Bob said to me, “IMS is all about SCORM – without SCORM IMS is nothing.” At the time I just took that as another hypothesis that needed to be run through the truth process. If it were true IMS would have gone in a certain direction. What I found was that it was not true. IMS had many strengths. In fact, it was really SCORM weighing down IMS. The rest (so far anyway) is history – IMS has gone from 50 members to 160 and right in the middle of some very exciting new markets and government projects.

    I think it’s fair to say that IMS has an open mind on how to work with SCORM/ADL/DoD for mutual benefit. My honest assessment at this point, however, is that a change of leadership will be needed in the DoD to ever get there.

    Rustici Software deserves a lot of credit for “making SCORM work in real systems.” Without Rustici the world of SCORM would be a lot less practical and workable. The sort of work you are doing is the sort of thing IMS is doing with our members now on every new piece of work. You’ve built a fine company.

    Regarding my comments with respect to the trademark and the URL – I don’t fault you – I’m trying to point out just one more example of where ADL management dropped the ball on an important issue that should have been worked out a long time ago – just like the issue of permission to use IMS work in SCORM that got dropped on me 5 years ago 😉 How that was not already worked out given that IMS work had been contained in SCORM for some time was and still is beyond me. My sense is that the ADL folks knew they were doing something they shouldn’t but figured they could get away with it. That’s never a good way to do business.

    Thanks for listening,

  • Rob,

    Thank you for the honest and well reasoned explanation. There is nothing in your account that I dispute, it is a fair and rationale. ADL presents a different slant on some of the same events, but that’s a natural part of any disagreement (just ask my wife, we certainly find ways to view the same events through different lenses :-)).

    So here we are. There has been a messy divorce. Both sides have probably done things they regret. How do we move forward? Is there anything Rustici Software can do to help make peace?

    These worlds are inextricably linked. Through Project Tin Can, we are coming across problems that IMS specifications can help solve. There is talk of the Department of Education funding ADL. As you mention, SCORM is a powerful brand that causes disruption in the education segment….especially when it is misused.

    I know you are moving beyond SCORM and making good progress on your own, but it doesn’t behoove any of us to work on similar problems in isolation.

    This thread came up in our Tin Can status update call with ADL this morning, I know there are at least a few people on the ground over there who want to re-engage with IMS (but remember I don’t speak for them, nor I am talking with their leadership).

    How do we extend an olive branch?


  • Hi Mike-

    IMS mechanisms are very marketplace driven . . .

    It’s really pretty easy for ADL to reengage if it wants to. They just need to follow through on the conversations we’ve had over the last year and rejoin.

    As far as making use of IMS specifications goes, there is really no practical limitation on what you can do as long as you’re not “stealing” IMS specifications – claiming ownership and competing against us. Even today there would be absolutely no issue if ADL incorporated the IMS specs by reference rather than the manner in which they do it. No IMS membership is required, etc. If there is any doubt about what you can use IMS specs for, read here:

    Ideally if organizations see value in IMS they join up as members, get involved in existing work, and propose new work. That’s how a membership-based standards organization feels loved and knows it is providing value. That option is open to any organization that would like to contribute to IMS.

    I’m also available to chat about any other alternative thoughts or ideas – but I’m a bit tied up through May 20 on our Learning Impact conference.