Last modified 11 years ago Last modified on 03/29/06 11:18:02

Metadata standards


SCORM is an acronym, it means Shareable Content Object Reference Model. A SCORM package is actually a digital coursebook, which is built from reuseable fragments. The base fragments of a SCORM package are the assets. Assets are multimedia elements, images, animations, HTML pages, or other content fragments. Theise objects are reusreuseable but usually useable only in a context, not in itself. The real base unit is the SCO. A SCO is a page of a "SCORM digital coursebook", which is built from assets. The SCO definiatedefines a main asset (ex.: an HTML page) and and the dependencies of this main asset (ex.: images, animations, etc. on the HTML page). For this reason a "page SCO" is an encapsulated, reusable set of assets. The other type of SCO is the "paragraph SCO". This type of SCO is built from other SCOs (pages and other paragraphs). This tree of SCOs definiates the whole structure of the curriculum, and every level of the units are reuseablereusable. The top of the curriculum is the organisation unit. The SCORM standard permits to use more thaen one organisation in a curriculum, but actually the organisation unit is the whole curriculum. First and last, the SCORM standard aims to make encapsulated units of content (page and paragraph SCOs), and organises theise units to a curriculum.


Learning Object Metadata (LOM) is the metadata format for SCORM. LOM is an extensible XML based metadata standard, like RDF, but it has more strict format. LOM could be assigned to every level of a SCORM curiculumcurriculum (asset LOM, SCO LOM, Organisation LOM). It could be assigned as separated file (.lom), or embeddeding into the SCORM mainfestmanifest using XML namespaces.

Basicly LOM contains 9 main category of metadata:

  • general metadata (title, language, etc.)
  • lifecycle metadata (version, status, etc.)
  • metametadata (metadata about the metadata)
  • technical (format, requirements, etc.)
  • educational (conditions of use of the resource)
  • rights (conditions of use of the resource)
  • relation (relationship to other learning objects)
  • annotation (comments on the educational use of the learning object)
  • classification (keywords, description, taxonomy, etc.)

Altough theise 9 categoriesy can describe the resources very well, LOM is able to embbed other metadata standards using XML namespaces, like Dublin Core.

LOM final draft:

IMS Learning Design

IMS LD has been developed because on-line learning resources based on earlier spesifications and reference models are becoming too static and only reflects page-turning lessons with text and images for the lone learner. For a teacher or publisher to create an on-line learning resource that reflects a pedagogical idea with elements of cooperation and learning paths is difficult. There are no structures in the earlier reference models (like those included in the SCORM) that help the creator of the learning resource. Hence, developers of IMS LD (and former EML) have made a model that not only reference content and simple sequencing, but also incorporates users that can involve in different activities and roles during a learning session.

IMS LD is based on a theater metaphor where a play (learning session or course) can be constituted by several acts (activities) with actors (learners and teachers). This metaphor is most appearent in the incorporated sequencing mechanism (which is also the feature that most differentiates IMS LD from SCORM). Within IMS LD there are three sequencing mechanisms. The first mechanism lies in IMS LD's use of one or more concurrent plays, each consisting of a fixed sequence of acts. Each act embraces a number of concurrent role-parts. The second mechanism involves the role-part elements. Role-parts are used to couple roles to (structures of) activities. These activity structures may be of two kinds: a fixed sequence of activities or a selection of (all or some) of the activities. The third mechanism uses properties and conditions to modify the flow of events for both single users and for all users in any role.

Currently there are no tools that fully support IMS LD that consists of three levels: level A that contains activities, environments, plays, acts, roles and services. Level B adds Properties and Conditions to level A. These features enables personalization and more elaborate sequencing and interactions based on learner portfolios. Properties can be used to direct learning activities as well as record outcomes. Level C adds notifications to Level B. A notification is triggered by an outcome and can make a new activity available for a role to perform. The main tools currently available are CopperCore? as engine and player, and RELOAD as the editor. CopperCore? only supports level A, but developers have shown how it will support level B and C in the future. RELOAD as an editor is terrible and clearly needs a better interface.

An interesting development is that LAMS (Learning Activity Managment System) that supports EML (Educational Modeling Language) is being rewritten to support IMS LD. LAMS have been included in the latest release of SAKAI and is also being included in next release of Moodle.

Celebrate LOM profile

There already exists a LOM application profile for Celebrate (the project behind Calibrate) and Teemu, Tarmo and I found it very interesting. It's version 1.0 and has maybe been changed since then. I 'll ask Frans van Assche if they have a newer one. Se attached file "CELEB_app_profile.pdf"


SCORM is a standard to encapsulate and organise content to curriculum. It works with 3 separated, well defined, and reuseable content units (organisation, sco, asset). SCORM was made to describe any coursebook, but according to some people SCORM maybe a usable standard to describe any kind of documents, as they all are describable by these 3 content units (asset -> document fragment, sco -> paragraph, page, organisation -> document).

LOM is an overall standard to describe metadata of theise content units, and it is able to describe theise units totally.

If the course includes multiple roles, group or cooperation processes IMS LD offers the appropriate constructs. However, currently there are no tools supporting it fully, but next release of LAMS will and it is a part of SAKAI and is being integrated in the next release of Moodle.