LETSI - Overview
The International Federation for Learning, Education, and Training Systems Interoperability (LETSI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving systems interoperability and supporting innovation in learning, education, and training technology.
International Federation for Learning, Education, and Training Systems Interoperability
LETSI is a global federation of organizations and individuals formed as a program of the IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization (IEEE-ISTO). LETSI’s goal is to improve individual and organizational learning and performance through the promotion and development of standards and software that lead to interoperability among learning, education, and training systems.
There are a number of learning-related trade associations and standards organizations around the world. Dozens, in fact. LETSI's Founding Sponsors believe that yet another organization is needed:
- There is no existing forum that crosses geographical regions and market boundaries (K-12, higher education, corporate job training) and that includes educators, technologists, vendors, and policy makers and the associations that represent these stakeholders.
- Members-only organizations close their processes to give paying members a "return on investment." LETSI believes that in today's education and job training market, an open participation model is required to support market variation and bottom-up innovation.
- Open software standards that can be freely customized are critical to support market diversity and to give innovators a level playing field. Unlike many trade associations and standards bodies, LETSI work products are licensed under a business-friendly, industry-standard, permissive license, with "no strings attached."
- Trade associations support existing business models and established institutions. Dramatic innovations, less so.
- It takes years for standards to mature and enjoy broad adoption. LETSI will not develop standards, but will expedite the adoption of available standards in learning technology and related fields like HR and Knowledge Management.
- LETSI's modern, community-based software model will shorten the adoption cycle and enable less costly and more consistent implementations.
LETSI supports the long-term sustainability of eLearning initiatives by promoting and facilitating standards innovation and harmonization. Core principles driving LETSI’s work are:
- Openness and inclusion. Providing an effective forum for educators, technologists and policy makers around the world who are interested in realizing the full potential of technology-supported learning.
- A cross-market orientation. Finding common ground across diverse learning, education, and training domains (K-12 education, higher education, corporate and government training, and professional education and certification).
- Coordination and harmonization. Serving as a key resource for standards development organizations (SDOs) and other standards stakeholders in facilitating interoperability across the diverse learning, education, and training markets. LETSI is a standards integrator, not an SDO.
- Innovation. Pioneering the next-generation approaches to interoperability that are difficult for existing standards organizations and consortia to pursue on their own because of their obligations to adopters of the current generation of learning interoperability specifications.
- Working code for the real world. Developing royalty-free software components to test and implement interoperability specifications. These components are developed not as merely after-the-fact reference implementations, but as an integral part of LETSI’s methodology of producing and expediting the adoption of specifications capable of meeting real-world needs.
Recently, LETSI brought together the SCORM community to discuss its future. This involved over 100 white papers, dozens of online discussion forums, a 3-day workshop in Pensacola, and four follow-on LETSI working groups – some 250 people all together. The conclusions of the “SCORM 2.0 Project” are available at letsi.org in our Assumptions Document.
LETSI will follow and improve upon the ADL model for working with standards organizations, software and solution vendors, and elearning system customers to drive interoperability improvements. SCORM has become the de facto world standard for learning content. However, adopter’s laments about partially met requirements for elearning interoperability are still nearly as universal as SCORM adoption. For this reason, LETSI’s new ideas regarding open governance, shared software libraries, and agile development processes have been strongly embraced by the broad cross section of elearning stakeholders that have been involved in LETSI’s requirements gathering processes.
LETSI is starting its first shared-software project in the area of web service definitions for a segment of well-defined, core SCORM functionality (the SCORM run time environment ECMAScript API).
The LETSI Technical Roadmap Committee is hosting a series of webinars to discuss other existing technologies whose adoption in elearning could be transformative, allowing, for example:
- Expression of each community’s model of learning objectives, competencies, and curricula.
- Intelligent orchestration of session activities for the individual learner or for teams.
- Facilitating content and performance result interoperability with and among new learning environments, including, simulations, serious games, and virtual worlds.
- Secure integration of data from all sources, not just the LMS, e.g., accessing learner data from an HR system.
- Integrating official, ever-changing technical and policy documents into training in real-time.
LETSI’s first project on web service definitions is coordinated with related work being carried out by the IEEE Learning Standards Technology Committee. LETSI has additional formal liaisons with the leading elearning standards bodies and trade associations: AICC, SIF Association, ILCE in Latin America, SALTIS in the UK, MedBiquitous in healthcare, and a category A liaison with the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36. It is in discussions with OASIS, OKI, OCW, MERLOT, e-Framework, S1000D, PESC, and others.
Stakeholders in learning, education, and training systems interoperability are invited to join in the benefits of LETSI membership and support its progress in advancing next-generation approaches and tools for LET system interoperability.
To enable broad participation across market sectors and geographical regions and to include small, innovative organizations as well as established players, LETSI has established attractive, low-cost participation options available whether you are looking to raise the visibility of your organization by sponsoring this high-profile industry initiative or have technical or domain expertise to contribute to a LETSI development effort. In addition to organizational sponsors, LETSI is seeking seed financing from foundations and government agencies, to support two years of international community building.