LMS technology based on

What Technology is LMS Based On?

All learning management systems (LMS) use technology to ensure that eLearning standards are met.

If your LMS fulfills these compatibility standards, then you’ll have higher chances of effective training.

You’ve probably heard these words thrown around in your search for an LMS:

  • SCORM
  • xAPI
  • AICC

These are actually specifications that form the technology used in LMSs. Without them, integrating content between tools and vendors would be expensive.

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Before these specifications came into the picture, every LMS had its own content format. Your LMS could only work with the tools provided by a specific vendor.

Today, all you need for your content to play is to make sure it’s compliant with ACCI, SCORM or xAPI. The same goes for vendors: They can only create LMSs that follow these guidelines. This prevents vendor lock-in.

In this article, you’ll delve into LMS technology so you can make the right choice for your training program.

What is AICC?

Aviation Industry Computer-based Training Committee (AICC) was the world’s first standard for interoperability between LMS and content.

If your LMS is AICC compliant, it will host and deliver any eLearning content that conforms to AICC guidelines and recommendations.

In 1988, Boeing, Airbus, and McDouglas convened a meeting. They formed a committee that would standardize the training offered to airline personnel.

The following year, the committee published recommendations for computer-based training, one of them being that a PC would be the key platform for delivering courses.

They later released a digital audio specification for DOS-based training platforms in 1992 that allowed CBT providers to use a single audio card.

In 1993, they produced the first Computer Managed Instruction (CMI) specification. It allowed trainers to track learner progress, administer courses, schedule training and record both group and individual data.

CMI001 supported CD-ROM and LAN-based training until 1998 when it was adapted for web-based eLearning through the HTTP AICC Communication Protocol (HACP).

The new web interface, HACP, used HTML to transmit information between content and an LMS.

Due to low membership, the AICC was disbanded in 2014, and therefore the specification doesn’t receive any updates.

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What You Should Know About the AICC Specification

  • AICC is Highly Secure
    AICC stores content in a different server from the LMS and data transfer occurs through the HTTPS protocol. Meaning that files, text and other LMS content are sent over the Transport Layer Security (TLS) or the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) protocol. Any exchange of data is encrypted, which prevents users from being directed to malicious sites or being attacked by hackers. Hosting content on a separate server makes deployment easier than if you were using SCORM.
  • AICC Compliance Varies
    It’s common to find an AICC compliant LMS without all the key features because the bar is set quite low for this standard. If you need additional functions, you’ll have to manually input the code. AICC doesn’t track course progress; it has limited reporting, and uploading content takes several steps.

What is SCORM?

SCORM is a suite of standards created by the Advanced Distributed Learning initiative in 1999.

Here’s what the acronym stands for:

Shareable Content Objective – Your HTML page, image, video, audio and other learning elements in your LMS are saved as a set of SCOs. They become the building blocks of your course and are reused in different contexts.

Reference Model – The ADL initiative combined previous specifications, such as AICC, to form SCORM. SCORM, therefore, references a set of interrelated standards, giving programmers a roadmap to follow when writing LMS code.

What You Should Know About the SCORM Specification

SCORM regulates two things: content packaging and runtime communication.

  • Content Is Packaged in a Self-Contained.Zip File
    This file contains the imsmanifest.xml which imports and launches content on an LMS.
    With SCORM, you only need to create a course once because you can use it on different platforms without modifying it.
    This makes SCORM-compliant courses faster and cheaper to develop. Unlike ACCI, SCORM content upload is effortless: It’s as easy as transferring a .zip file.
  • Runtime Communication Environment
    The RTE determines how information is relayed back to the LMS. When a learner launches a course, the LMS provides an API for SCORM to track data. A set of SCOs is packaged and delivered to the LMS. Once the learner is finished with the SCO, it informs the LMS and another package is delivered.

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These are the guidelines under SCORM 1.2, used by most of the LMS vendors today.

SCORM 1.3, which emerged in 2004, has an added specification: sequencing and navigation (S&N).

When a learner exits an SCO, sequencing determines what navigation they need to take to get to the next step. It can take the learner back to a topic that they haven’t yet mastered and helped them to bookmark their progress.

SCORM has its limitations. For it to work, your content and LMS must be hosted on the same server.

It’s less secure than HTTPS because it uses javascript. If you use traditional SCORM, your learners will have a diminished user experience on mobile devices because it’s flash-based.

However, getting a SCORM compliant LMS has numerous benefits.

SCORM gives you the flexibility to:

  • Create more interactive content.
  • Publish your content on versatile platforms.
  • Combine assessments with different course elements.
  • Upload your .zip folders in another SCORM compliant LMS if you need to change vendors.
  • Use high quality, interoperable authoring tools.

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What is Experience API (xAPI)

The xAPI standard, just like SCORM, keeps a log of the learner’s actions.

While SCORM records course status, completion and test scores, xAPI takes tracking to a whole new level.

It records all learning experiences by using noun-verb-object statements expressed in xAPI syntax. Then the data is stored in the Learning Record Store (LRS) and transmitted to the LMS when a learner goes back online.

This gives you a big picture of their learner’s behavior so you know how to improve your training efforts.

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What You Should Know About the xAPI Specification

  • xAPI Records Both Online and Offline Learning Experiences
    Learning is an experience, and your employees acquire knowledge through multiple devices and learning scenarios. With xAPI, you can measure the impact of informal learning experiences with confidence.
  • xAPI is Mobile Friendly
    It’s perfect for a mobile-first LMS because it tracks learner progress regardless of the device used.
  • xAPI Keeps All Your Data in One Place
    The LRS allows systems to communicate with each other so you can have fewer LMS integrations. It also stores rich data about your learners in one place, which will remain intact if you change existing systems in the future.

What technology is your current LMS based on? Does it deliver engaging content? Does it provide enhanced performance tracking and real-time reports?

World Manager LMS complies with modern eLearning standards to deliver effective training to companies in over 14 industries across the globe.

Ask for a demo today to get recommendations on what specifications you need for your corporate LMS.

Disclaimer: This information is meant to provide general guidelines and should be used as a reference. It may not take into account all relevant local, state or federal laws and is not a legal document. Neither the author nor World Manager will assume any legal liability that may arise from the use of this information.

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