Saturday, November 5, 2011

E-learning Standards

As an instructor or content expert you may want to know why e-learning standards are important and why you should care whether the content that you create is standards-compliant.
E-learning standards and the issues surrounding them can be complex. But in general, the primary goal is to make course content and learning tools compatible among various e-learning delivery systems. The advantage is that you can create “portable” content that can be used in any e-learning delivery system without the need to modify the content. If the content and the e-learning delivery system both comply with the same standard, then the learning system will interpret and deliver your standards-compliant content.


SoftChalk supports the SCORM standard. SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is a set of technical specifications developed to support the creation of interoperable, accessible and reusable web-based learning content. The SCORM standards are a work-in-progress, with development led by the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL), working in cooperation with a number of government, industry and academic organizations.
SoftChalk packages your lesson in either a standard zip format or in SCORM format. If you package your lesson using the SCORM format, you can re-use your content in any learning management system that supports SCORM (with no need to revise the content). Additionally, the SCORM standards allow your content to work automatically with specific components of the course management system (for example the gradebook), and to track whether a student has completed the lesson.
In the future, as the SCORM standard is further developed, additional integrations between a SCORM conformant lesson and Learning Management Systems will become available.
Different Learning Management Systems may support different versions of SCORM and may not fully implement the SCORM standards. Check with your Learning Management System provider for more information about compatibility with SCORM.

Common Cartridge (IMS Global)

  • Greater choice of content: Enables collections of learning resources of various types and sources.
  • Reduces vendor/platform lock-in: Establishes course cartridge native formats endorsed by educational publishers and supports a wide variety of established content formats, eliminating platform lock-in.
  • Greater assessment options: Explicitly supports the most widely used standards for exchanging assessment items.
  • Increases flexibility, sharing and reuse: Fits within the educational context of enabling instructors to assemble lesson plans of various resources and publish those as reusable and changeable packages that are easy to create, share, and improve.

Learning Tools Interoperability (IMS Global)

  • LTI allows remote tools and content to be integrated into an LMS

Top Five M-Learning Best Practices for SoftChalk Mobile Users

Posted August 08, 2011 in Tips & Tricks Mobile learning is an emerging area of e-learning and the best practices are continually evolving. Today Robert Godwin Jones, a founding partner of SoftChalk, shares the top five best practices for SoftChalk SmartMobile.
1. Use automatic mobile formatting feature in SoftChalk 7
When you save a lesson in SoftChalk 7 or higher, a mobile-friendly version of the lesson content is created (in a folder labeled “mobile”) and included when the lesson is packaged or published. When a user accesses that lesson on a mobile phone such as an iPhone or Android phone, this specially formatted Web version of the content is delivered automatically. The font size, page width/formatting, navigation and image size are optimized for a smaller screen.
2. Avoid using Flash-based content
Flash is not supported on Apple mobile devices. This includes the iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch. Flash is supported on some but not all Android devices. However, performance of Flash on mobile devices is not robust—it may run slowly or erratically and may cause a system crash.  You can use the new HTML5 activities in SoftChalk with mobile devices, but Flash-based activities or videos will not be displayed.
3) Keep sidebar items to a minimum
Sidebar items will be displayed differently on a mobile device and will not be as readily visible as in a desktop browser. Content can be read, but users will have to click on the link to access it.
4) Avoid overly large or complex pages or lessons
If you are developing with mobile delivery in mind, it is advisable to divide your content into smaller units. Consider separating presentation and assessment on separate pages. It’s also not a good idea to load up the page with a large number of quizpoppers or activities. Mobile devices and their Web browsers may not have the same memory capacity as desktop environments and may thus have difficulty processing complex or very long pages. By the same token, it is preferable not to have an excessive number of images on a page.
5) Test your design
With new mobile devices being launched every week, it’s hard to know which platform your students will be using to access your course content, unless specific devices are given to the student.  Before releasing a mobile lesson to your students make sure to test it on different mobile devices. Also test what types of content and which layouts work best for your students.  Do they prefer small blurbs of text followed by self- assessment questions or would it be better to have video tutorials with self-assessment questions?
What are your top tips for mobile learning?