Assessing SCORM 2004 for its Affordances in Facilitating a Simulation as a Pedagogical Model




Gallagher, Patrick

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This study assessed SCORM 2004 for its affordances facilitating the implementation of specific requirements representing a simulation-based model optimized for interoperability and reusability. The overarching assessment methodology consisted of a gap analysis. A specific set of requirements called the Simulations Requirements Framework (SIMREF) derived from an existing online simulation learning environment was developed as the criterion and the Run-time Environment (RTE) and Sequencing of the SCORM 2004 technical architecture were targeted as the condition. To achieve the gap analysis, 26 experienced SCORM developers employed in industry, government, standards/specifications entities, and academia were surveyed. Participants were asked to provide levels of agreement to indicator statements of the relevance of the SCORM 2004 technical architecture targets to the SIMREF requirements at both the individual and set levels. As such, data were collected and analyzed to determine the relevance of SCOs, functional or typed SCOs, extending SCORM 2004, extending Sequencing, relevance of SCO to SCO data sharing, and the utilization of a LMS thick client. Participants were also asked to describe alternate standards, specifications, technologies, and capabilities necessary to fulfill the requirements. The findings from the data analyses indicated that according to the SCORM development community gaps do exist in the implementation of the SIMREF with respect to SCORM 2004 technical architecture as well as in common implementation practice. These gaps occurred within the communication affordances in the RTE and in the data value/variable management and if-then logic within Sequencing. Gaps are also present in the common implementation practice of using SCOs purely for content presentation. One prominent implication is the need for persistent arbitrary SCO to SCO communication which could be accomplished through the inclusion of the IMS SSP specification. Also implied, are gaps in the field of instructional design in relation to designing SCORMbased solutions as well as gaps in the understanding of IT engineers and practitioners in relation to learning theories and practices. In respect to SCORM 2004 and simulations as a pedagogical model to produce more meaningful learning, the underlying behaviorist pedagogy inherent in its design needs to be revisited and in so doing the academic community needs to become more involved in its evolution.



SCORM, Simulations, Pedagogy, Assessment, Standards, Reuse