4.1 The ICOPER Reference Model (IRM)
As previously indicated an important aspect of the ICOPER project is that of the necessity of adhering to standards. Effectively there are four relevant standards to consider in respect of the Icoper Reference Model (IRM) and reusable learning content context, namely:
• Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)
A standard to describe structure and behaviour of content and components (ADL SCORM, 2004). It comprises the Content Aggregation Model (CAM), the Run Time Environment (RTE), as well as Sequencing and Navigation (SN)
• Learning Object Metadata (LOM)
An IEEE standard to describe metadata for learning objects in a standardized way (IEEE LTSC, 2002)
• Open Archive Initiative’s Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH)
A protocol specifying the harvesting of metadata for learning objects residing in repositories (Lagoze and van de Sompel, 2001)
• CEN Simple Publishing Interface (SPI)
An upcoming standard in draft status that enables authoring tools and other content management environments to actively push metadata and/or content into repositories (CWA 16097, 2010).
These all support device-independent “information models” in terms of format that enable the exchange of appropriate learning content objects. In reality this means that the information required to describe and store such objects need to be standardised and stored in a recognised structure that has regulated metadata and is fully understood by all associated software applications. It is important, therefore, that any learning content in the Open ICOPER Content Space OICS, for example, is based on such standards. These are also essential prerequisites for locating, aggregating and reusing the same learning content objects.
In addition it is also worth noting that these standards also enhance the interoperability and cross-platform compatibility of such learning content resources. Once again these standards have been described elsewhere in further detail (see Najjar et al, 2010; Mueller, 2010 and Simon & Pulkkinen, 2010; for example)
The ICOPER Reference Model (IRM) aims at defining a framework through which innovative learning processes can be stored, shared and delivered through standardized services and data formats. These processes exploit rich linkages between teaching methods, learning designs, learner assessments, learning content, learning outcome definitions, user profiles for achieved learning outcomes and learning needs, and learning opportunities.