Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Content, Instructional Design, & eLearning Systems Guidelines

I wrote this article for the SIRIM publication's SIRIM Standards and Quality News

E-Learning standards refer to a system of common rules for content development, instructional design as well as the systems that support eLearning. The standards are a set of rules that facilitate eLearning development and delivery over multiple platforms so that they operate seamlessly together.

Adherence to these guidelines is important to facilitate development of common standards for educational technology. Benefit of these guidelines usage will result in durability, interoperability, accessibility and reusability of learning content and learning application.

To establish a set of eLearning standards for Malaysia, a set of guidelines has been developed by MIMOS as a baseline. The development of Content, Instructional Design, & eLearning Systems Guidelines was initiated as part of the Malaysian Grid for Learning (MyGfL) initiative.

Why develop and not adopt?
Due to the fact that e-Learning standards cover a whole range of issues in pedagogical, technology, development, delivery, and access; there are numbers of available focused standards published and adopted worldwide on these issues.

Therefore, the MyGfL Content, Instructional Design, & eLearning Systems Guidelines serves as a single document that covers all the relevant standards based on these criteria:

1. Easier for localization and customization
2. Mix and match the needs to the solutions
3. Adoption of simple model
4. Availability of support worldwide
5. Extensibility of use
6. Provides potential for interoperability
7. Observance of open standards

The objectives of the guidelines are:

1. To observe certain protocols for e-Learning development and to make adoption and understanding of e-Learning technology more flexible and user friendly.
2. To achieve Interoperability, Reusability, Manageability, Accessibility, and Durability for the benefits of learners, content developers, and system developers:
a. Interoperability - can the system work with any other system?
b. Reusability - can a courseware (Learning Objects, or "chunks") be re-used?
c. Manageability - can a system track the appropriate information about the learner and the content?
d. Accessibility - can a learner access the appropriate content at the appropriate time?
e. Durability - will the technology evolve with the standards to avoid obsolescence?

The Content Guidelines covers the general issues on content as well as the technical issues in the development of digital learning content. These include issues on accessibility, usability, reusability, interoperability, metadata, instructional design, and copyrights.

The Instructional Design Guidelines Contain general guidelines for instructional designer for the purpose of developing learning object. These include Gagne 9 Event of Instruction and the Merrill’s Component Display Theory & Jeroen van Merrienboer’s Complex Cognitive Skills and Knowledge

The Technical Guidelines specify in details the E-Learning framework of the systems that support learning. These include the Content Management System, Learning Management System, and Learning Content Management System.

These guidelines will help e-Learning service providers to provide access to high-quality, tailored education, and training materials for the benefits of learners. Conformance to these guidelines will lead to making learning content widely available whenever and wherever they are required.

Besides creating the awareness among e-Learning players in Malaysia on existence of such standards, it is envisioned that the local e-Learning industry could strengthen its competitive advantage in order to compete globally.

The heavy emphasis on metadata is aimed to increase learner experience through searching. Thus, enriching users’ experience and improving discoverability of learning content on the Web.

In view of systems for e-Learning, for heterogeneous systems to interoperate there is a need to understand the data structures they share. Without standards addressing these issues, each “data supplier” or “tools developer” will find it seemingly difficult to interoperate among them.

International Standards Studied
1. World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
2. Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI)
3. Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) of Advanced Distributed Learning (ADLnet)
4. Instructional Management Systems (IMS) Project
5. IEEE Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC),
6. Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-Based Training) Committee (AICC)
7. Michigan Virtual University: Instructional Design Standards for Quality Online Courses
8. E-Government (UK) Interoperability Framework Part Two: Technical Policies and Specifications, Version 4.0 25th April 2002
9. Communication & Multimedia Commission Forum (CMCF)
10. British Educational Communications and Technology agency (BECTA)

Posted by haxa on November 12, 2003 at 09:25 AM in Graphics Design, Instructional Design, Learning Objects, Multimedia Programming, Standards & Guidelines | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack