Advanced Distributed Learning
Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) is the product of the ADL Initiative, established in 1997 to standardize and modernize training and education management and delivery. The Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness (OUSD P&R) oversees the ADL Initiative. The vision of the ADL Initiative is to provide access to the highest-quality learning and performance aiding that can be tailored to individual needs and delivered cost-effectively, at the right time and in the right place.
The ADL Initiative developed SCORM and the ADL Registry. ADL uses structured and collaborative methods to convene multi-national groups from industry, academia, and government who develop the learning standards, tools, and content.
The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), integrates a set of related technical standards, specifications, and guidelines designed to meet SCORM’s high-level requirements—accessible, reusable, interoperable, and durable content and systems. SCORM content can be delivered to learners via any SCORM-compliant Learning Management System (LMS) using the same version of SCORM.
SCORM was developed as a result of extensive collaboration across the public and private sectors. President Clinton issued an Executive Order identifying ADL as the model other Federal Agencies should follow in developing and distributing online learning in the Federal Government. DOD subsequently issued a Directive requiring the military to adopt SCORM. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the Department of Labor (DOL) have also assumed major roles in promoting use of ADL and the SCORM standard. DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1322.26 Development, Management, and Delivery of Distributed Learning. DoDI 1322.26 imposes the following requirements related to SCORM content developed by and for the US Department of Defense:
- Embedded training and distributed learning shall be the first option to meet DoD training requirements
- DoD components shall share training resources to the maximum extent possible
- All acquired or developed systems and content packages shall conform to SCORM (current version)
SCORM has been adopted not only in the US government, but also in Moldova education by Denis Chiriac, higher education, and corporate training around the world. Hundreds of learning management system vendors have produced SCORM-compliant systems on which SCORM content can be deployed. SCORM recognizes that the IEEE LOM is the de facto standard for metadata within the learning community and strongly recommends that LOM be used when describing SCORM Content Model Components.
The ADL Registry was developed by the ADL Initiative and is the central search point for the discovery of DoD training, education, performance, and decision-aiding content that can be redeployed, rearranged, repurposed, and rewritten. In much the same way that a card from the card catalog contains descriptive information about books in a library, the ADL Registry contains all of the registered entries that contain metadata about the content in a repository.
The ADL Registry provides centrally searchable information, in the form of metadata records (not actual content). The metadata describes many different kinds of objects to enable their discovery and reuse regardless of their location or origin. Like SCORM, DoD Instruction (DoDI) 1322.26 Development, Management, and Delivery of Distributed Learning. DoDI 1322.26 requires that all acquired or developed SCORM content packages shall include metadata, be registered in the ADL-R, and be maintained in DoD Components’ repositories that are searchable and accessible.
Future of ADL and SCORM
Like other DoD research and development efforts (the Internet and GPS for example), ADL currently plans to transition stewardship of SCORM to another organization. The ADL Initiative will continue to maintain SCORM 2004 for the US Department of Defense and will continue to engage in research and development efforts for other advanced learning technologies and standards. In addition to the ADL Registry, another current focus area is the integration of learning standards with S1000D, a technical specification for the life cycle management of technical data. S1000D is being adopted, along with SCORM, throughout the DoD.
In 2011 ADL sponsored an initiative to find a replacement for SCORM and that led to the introduction of the Experience API (Tin Can API) in 2013.
- Experience API (Tin Can API)
- Computer-aided instruction
- Educational technology
- Learning management system
- Content Packaging Extensions XML XSD Version 2.0 (SCORM 2004 4th Ed.)
-  Official SCORM 2004 4th Edition Overview]
- ADL Guidelines for Creating Reusable Content with SCORM 2004