The demand for new technology in education is on the rise, and new educational technology products appear almost regularly. The global education technology market will reach $318.8 billion USD by 2027. In comparison, in 2019, its size was only $74.64 billion USD . Investing in such a rapidly developing industry is a promising idea.
Unfortunately, in most cases, great opportunities come hand in hand with challenges and restrictions. Probably, you have heard something about standards and regulations shaping medical technologies. Are there similar technical standards for e-learning?
Yes, there are eLearning software standards, and you must follow them while creating EdTech products.
Offering education software development services , Binariks is well aware of the most valuable technology standards in education. We will tell more about the technical standards for elearning software products below.
Why should you comply with technology standards in education?
First of all, let's determine why learning technology standards matter. Contrarily to healthcare , you will not be fined or prevented from incentives in case of non-compliance. Meanwhile, there are still solid reasons to adhere to eLearning software development requirements. Here is the list of the most valuable ones:
- Reputation. Adherence to technology educational standards can bring you certifications and licenses that will make you more reliable in the eyes of customers.
- Efficiency. By complying with learning software development standards, you ensure better performance of your eLearning systems.
- Interoperability. The essential education technology regulations facilitate connectivity and efficient information exchange between eLearning systems, which increases the accessibility of your technology in education.
- Community integration. Compliance with Learning Management System (LMS) standards facilitates your cooperation and experience exchange with other education technology businesses.
Therefore, complying with eLearning software development standards is not the way to avoid punishments but rather a great opportunity to become more prominent in the education industry. But on which standards should you focus? We will discuss this in the next chapter.
Create edtech solutions that offer people-centered learning experience
Create edtech solutions that offer people-centered learning experience
Technology educational standards to focus on
There are many educational standards that set particular requirements for eLearning software. This material describes the most significant EdTech software standards and reasons to implement them. You will also learn the drawbacks and limitations of each standard for online learning software.
Mind that we focus only on technical standards. Hence, there is no overview of INACOL standards and similar regulations on the educational content of eLearning courses.
AICC is where all other eLearning standards start. The Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC) created it in 1988 to ensure electronic training systems are interchangeable and compatible with other software products.
This standard enables the communication between an LMS and course content via the HTTP AICC Communication Protocol (HACP). An HTML form and text strings transmit information from and to the learning management system.
Even though many organizations still use the original AICC standard because of legacy software, you won't need it for new products. The following standards listed in our overview are more relevant now.
- Highly secure HTTPS data transfers between content and the learning management system
- Deployment flexibility due to separate AICC content storage from the LMS
- No course tracking and limited reporting capabilities
- Gradually used in fewer and fewer eLearning solutions
- No more updates since 2014
Since it's a very early eLearning standard, today, AICC is pretty outdated, so you are unlikely to use it.
Binariks built a blockchain-powered web platform for education
Platform engineering for education community
Binariks built a blockchain-powered web platform for education
The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a set of standards facilitating the interoperability of eLearning technologies. It is supported by the ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) organization to ensure compatibility and smooth data exchange between different types of educational software.
The main benefit of implementing SCORM is that it increases your app's accessibility. The standard makes your learning management system or any other eLearning app integrable with different educational solutions. Hence, users can use your app as a part of their system or easily exchange data with other educational technology products. Another benefit of SCORM implementation is that this software educational standard is flexible. Therefore, it does not limit you to a strictly defined set of functionalities. In addition, SCORM deployment models are reusable, which can reduce the delivery cost for your company and save time.
SCORM is, by far, the most notable education software development standard. It provides the communication method and data models that make eLearning content and an LMS compatible.
SCORM has three main components to enable the delivery of e-courses via an LMS:
- Content packaging. Packs training materials in a ZIP file.
- Run-time. Launches a course in a web browser.
- Sequencing. Specifies how users navigate through the course.
SCORM has five versions: SCORM 1.1, SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004 2nd ed., SCORM 2004 3rd ed., and SCORM 2004 4th ed. The preferred version depends on what content you need to support in an LMS. Overall, SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 3rd ed. are the leading choices.
- User-friendly content authoring tools
- Sequencing support allows you to set how long a user can stay on a specific page and track the time spent on a whole course
- Most LMS vendors support SCORM content, so migrating your old courses to a new system should be easy
- Easy building of course catalogs
- Offline learning is not supported
- LMS-only deployment, which means you won't be able to deploy courses directly via a website or mobile app
- Limited tracking and reporting capabilities
- Non-native HTML5 support and lower quality of content
eLearning software providers and users still utilize SCORM in many products. Actually, SCORM 1.2 is the most popular standard so far. Nevertheless, its popularity is likely to plummet soon. The SCORM Run-Time is the most suitable for mobile users, which is obviously a big problem now as more people switch to smartphones.
One more pick in the list of tech interoperability standards in education is the LTI. LTI is Learning Tools Interoperability Certification by The Instructional Management System Global Learning Consortium (IMS). To be certified, your eLearning system must pass multiple connectivity tests. If your product smoothly and efficiently exchanges the information with other certified types of educational software, it complies with the LTI standard in education.
LTI is designed to enable plug-and-play integration of educational apps with an institution. Before this standard came into force, a university IT department needed to hire a developer to connect learning tools with a campus platform. The process took months and had to be repeated for each tool. Now, LTI-compliant APIs allow organizations to connect new tools to an ELS much quicker and at a lower cost.
Apart from fast integration, the LTI standard helps educational facilities improve students' experience through more convenient software. Integrating learning apps into campus platforms or LMS for interoperability ensures better navigation and learning.
Besides, LTI certification improves your reputation as a dependable tech provider. It shows that your EdTech app fits the essential eLearning standards . Also, IMS provides LTI-certified companies with technical support and diverse tech resources.
- Quicker and more affordable integration of new software products into existing systems
- Enhanced interoperability between LMS software components
- Trainers have more freedom of choice regarding tools to use
- Single login for all apps used by students and trainers
- Equally easy access to internal and external platforms for trainers and learners
- Many extra tools that facilitate learning can be connected (e.g., homework, authoring, plagiarism detection, library resources, and more)
- Many old applications may not be compatible with LTI
- Combination of diverse learning applications within one organization may result in inconsistent learning
The LTI eLearning standard is a massive step towards connected learning as it allows instructors and students to create personalized courses. They can pick any compliant tool to connect it to an LMS system. Once integrated, all apps can have a single interface for a great user experience. The main drawback is that many legacy apps don't support the LTI standard for eLearning, so users may be unable to connect some apps.
Experience API (xAPI) was released in the 2013 API specification. It enables software to capture user interactions with a learning app both online and offline. According to this specification, all learner's app activities are recorded and sent to the Learning Record Store (LRS). Hence, this store becomes a source of analytical and tracking data. All the information collected with xAPI can be easily shared with other learning management systems. Also, this education software development standard gives you great flexibility. You can manually choose which activities to track.
The main benefit of implementing xAPI is that it allows you to collect valuable data on user preferences and generate precise learning statistics. Your analysts may use this information to improve the product, expand its functionalities, or even build a concept for new technology in education.
- Can record almost any user activity
- Ability to create personal data lockers for learners that can be transmitted between organizations
- Advanced cross-device support of xAPI statements
- Tracks learning events outside of an LMS
- Setting up and measuring performance metrics may be challenging
- User activity reporting doesn't reflect the real impact on knowledge or performance.
- Collected data has no use without a context
xAPI is one of the most advanced standards for eLearning software. You should use it to track and manage training content across various tools. Yet it may be challenging to configure tracking and make sense of the collected data. So if you develop an eLearning solution to deliver traditional content via an LMS, a good-old standard like SCORM may be good enough.
Apart from the leading technology standards in education, we should mention the value of licenses for an open-source application. This part applies to you only in case you want to launch an extensible software for education. An app is open-source if its software code is accessible and open to everyone. Although making your product extensible may be challenging, this solution brings you greater flexibility. After all, an open-source application may be customized and extended to fit emerging business needs.
Make sure to obtain one of the licenses from the table below while launching an extensible technology in education:
- Apache License 2.0
- BSD 3-Clause "New" or "Revised" license
- BSD 2-Clause "Simplified" or "FreeBSD" license
- GNU General Public License (GPL)
- GNU Library or "Lesser" General Public License (LGPL)
- MIT license
- Mozilla Public License 2.0
- Common Development and Distribution License
- Eclipse Public License version 2.0
An open-source license approved by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) grants you a secure and legal implementation of an open-source code for your eLearning app. It is also essential for your reputation as a credible provider of extensible technology in education.
Comparison: SCORM vs. xAPI vs. IMS LTI vs. AICC
We know that telling the difference between all these standards may be challenging. That's why we offer to use the table below as a quick summary of SCORM vs. xAPI vs. IMS LTI vs. AICC.
SCORM 2004 3rd Edition
If you need consulting or help with eLearning software development, contact Binariks . We can evaluate your company's technical and operational needs to recommend the most suitable software development approach and assist with implementation.
Binariks eLearning experience
Binariks is a software development company with a profound experience with eLearning solutions. We design and develop educational apps , language learning apps, LMS systems, classroom simulators, apps for kids, and other EdTech solutions following the core technical standards and best practices.
A Blockchain-backed platform for educational certificate verification is one of our latest projects. We have assembled a dedicated team of an architect, backend developers, frontend developers, QAs, UI/UX designers, and a project manager to develop an architecture for the customer's web platform, following the Asian market standards. Read the full case study in our portfolio .
By following technological educational standards, you become more efficient and visible. The critical point is to properly implement the most valuable technology standards in education.
That is when Binariks comes into action. As an experienced technology partner, we are ready to facilitate you in developing eLearning apps that fit the essential LMS standards.
Contact us to discuss your needs. Let's start building technologies that meet standards in education together.