|1.2.1 1.2a More on behaviors|
Most people are familiar with plug-and-play standards. A CD player is a good example of a plug-and-play device since it will play any music regardless of the CD manufacturer or style of music. SCORM is a standard, but not yet plug-and-play standard. Because of this, managers responsible for purchasing SCORM based solutions need to be aware and knowledgeable so that they can ask the right questions to make the best decision.
When choosing eLearning technology, most managers want a SCORM based solution so they can be assured of interoperability between content and delivery platform. If they purchase or create an eLearning course they want to know that the course will work with their LMS and that their LMS will track, save, and report important information. What the SCORM spec provides is a definition of variables that can be transmitted to an LMS to capture a student's performance or attendance. Which variables are implemented and how they are used is open to interpretation.
Transmission and reception of variables sounds straightforward; however, it can be quite complex. For instance, each variable may trigger multiple behaviors by the Learning Management System. Behaviors relate to how the student's experience is affected relative to their actions. An example of a variable that can greatly affect behavior is lesson status. First of all, the decision of what criteria establish completion needs to be decided. Is it based on score or on visiting certain pages? If so, for how long? Next, the LMS's behavior based on this status should be defined: When a student completes a course are they locked out from returning to the content or are they allowed to use the course as a reference material in real time for productivity improvement? If they revisit the course, is their lesson status changed?
The SCORM specification allows for many responses by the course content based on how the course author wants to deliver the content. Not all behaviors may be available from an LMS, authoring tool, or course. Most authoring tools and LMSs only send or track the minimum variables required for passing SCORM conformance. These variables are course start, course stop, lesson status, time on course, and lesson score. Additional SCORM variables are available but are rarely implemented. For example, the specific answer provided by the student for each question can be tracked. If they answer the question multiple times, all of these submittals can be stored.
Limiting the information stored and tracked, as most SCORM certified systems do, limits an organization's ability to use eLearning to its potential. Specifically, many authoring tools and LMSs only save lesson score as a percentage correct based on the most recent student session. If there are multiple tests in a single course, or if the student visits the course multiple times, this value could be a very incomplete reflection of the student's understanding. As a result, management lacks the information necessary for remediation. If every answer to every question is stored (and reported) management can review them to see if there is a problem with individual trainees or if there is a problem with the course content. If a course creator can identify a specific question missed by many students, they can change the question.