As with the other segments in the IT industry that have been greatly impacted by the revolutionary changes taking place in the areas of technology, the training market too is getting affected by some of the new developments. Advances in technology are altering training delivery. Developments in hardware, intranets and the Internet, multimedia software and videoconferencing have created a tremendous potential for multiple-site delivery and bringing training to people's work sites.
With the Internet, intranets and extranets proliferating both at the level of the global and Indian domestic market, one is witnessing the rise of a new form of training delivery--E-learning or on-line education.
On-line education is the next generation tool that has already started developing its roots in India. It is expected to allow both corporate and the Government to deliver state-of-the-art training to company personnel, students and home workers, and enable them to create the kind of skilled computer workforce required for the next millennium.
This kind of virtual education is being catalyzed by the continuing decrease in costs related to technologies, particularly computer hardware. The demand from all types of learning for more equitable access and service is also fuelling the trend.
The Web as the Enabler
On-line education or Web-based training implies that courses are delivered partly or completely via the Internet, an intranet or an extranet. The factors that are driving demand for virtual education are essentially need and availability. "There's the need to train more people on more topics, to do it faster, to do it on a worldwide basis and do it cheaper," says Brandon Hall, editor and publisher of the Multimedia & Internet Training Newsletter and author of the Web-Based Training Cookbook.
On-line Education in India
The On-line education market in India is showing marked potential and is expected to be a significant revenue earner for the industry in the years to come. Already a number of key initiatives are being taken by the industry to incorporate Net-based training as part of their curricula. Steps are also being taken by various State Governments in India to incorporate Net based training into their IT agendas.
On-line Training: The Enlarging Impact
On-line training is not just the prerogative of the computer sector. The impact of such training is going to be all pervasive and will extend to various segments across a variety of industries. Such a mode of education will be used to reach out to students (both at the level of schools, colleges and institutes of higher learning) and even corporate to enhance the base of skilled manpower within their setups. In fact, in the latter case, already a number of leading organizations are using tools such as video conferencing and on-line, self paced learning modules for employees to expand the ambit of their knowledge.
Today, a number of methods have been devised to deliver on-line training. These include live training, class room based support learning environments, stand alone, self paced learning, CD-based, and Web-based education that facilitates the use of technology and in the creation of a virtual education community.
SCORM at a high-level is a collection of specifications and standards. It applies the current developments in training technology through use of a specific content model to ensure consistent implementation of training across the e-learning community. SCORM is built upon the work of the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training (CBT) Committee (AICC), the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc., the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Alliance for Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe (ARIADNE) and others to create one unified "reference model" of interrelated technical specifications and guidelines that meet DoD high-level requirements for Web-based learning content and systems.
Content providers, instructional designers and project managers are most interested in how SCORM will help them meet their project requirements. Content providers will quickly see how SCORM helps implement reusable learning objects. Instructional designers will identify reusable content and content sequencing strategies that can be successfully implemented with SCORM. Finally, Project Managers will realize development, time and cost savings when a strategic plan for implementing reusable content is identified and carried out.
There are significant benefits to adopting SCORM:
Interoperability: The ability to take instructional components developed in one location with one set of tools or platform and use them in another location with a different set of tools or platform.
Accessibility: The ability to locate and access instructional components from one remote location and deliver them to several other locations.
Reusability: The flexibility to incorporate instructional components in multiple applications and contexts.
Durability: The ability to withstand technology evolution and changes without costly redesign, reconfiguration or recoding.
Maintainability: The ability to withstand content evolution and changes without costly redesign, reconfiguration or recoding.
Adaptability: The ability to tailor instruction to individual and organizational needs. Instances where SCORM can be useful include using complex instructional behaviors that track learners, using an adaptive framework that is responsive to a learner's errors and using item tracking to determine the effectiveness of assessment items. If the instruction is only informational, contains classified or proprietary information, quickly becomes obsolete, or is of interest to only a small group of learners, then SCORM may not be as beneficial.