IMS Learning Design - Overview

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These contents have been obtained from the IMS Global Learning Consortium official Web site and edited for presentation. Please refer to the IMS Global Learning Consortium official Web site for additional information on terms of use
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Scope
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IMS Global Learning Consortium
The IMS Learning Design specification is a language for modelling 'units of study'. It is based in the OUNL EML and has been accepted recently as a public draft (January 2003). Its objective is to provide a containment framework of elements that can describe any design of a teaching-learning process in a formal way. It provides a generic and flexible language that supports the definition of learning designs according to different pedagogical approaches.

IMS LD is an integrative proposal of a number of other existing IMS specifications: IMS content packaging, IMS Metadata/LOM, IMS Question and Test Interoperability, and IMS Simple Sequencing.
Purpose
The purpose of the IMS LD specification is to provide a level of abstraction for the description of learning processes, offering constructs generic to different pedagogical approaches.

A key task of the IMS Learning Design Working Group was "the development of a framework that supports pedagogical diversity and innovation, while promoting the exchange and interoperability of e-learning materials".

The language supports the definition of learning designs according to different pedagogical approaches and facilitates the development of new ones. To the developer of learning technologies, the language enables pedagogical diversity to be supported through the implementation of a single engine, rather than either having to implement multiple engines for each approach, or remaining 'pedagogically agnostic' by providing no specific support for any.
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IMS LD is a language in which to describe learning processes. It helps educational developers model who does what, when and with which content and services in order to achieve learning objectives.

The core concept of the Learning Design Specification is that regardless of pedagogical approach, a person gets a role in the teaching-learning process, typically a learner or a staff role. In this role he or she works toward certain outcomes by performing more or less structured learning and/or support activities within an environment. The environment consists of the appropriate learning objects and services to be used during the performance of the activities. Which role gets which activities at what moment in the process, is determined by the method or by a notification. Note: most of the concepts mentioned above are reflected in the information model, but some only exist at the conceptual level (person, outcome).
Levels of Implementation and Compliance
To facilitate both the production of the specification and its subsequent implementation, IMS LD has been divided into three parts, known as Level A, Level B, and Level C. Separate XML schemas are provided for each level, with Levels B and C each integrating with and extending the previous level.
  • Learning Design Level A contains the bulk of the IMS LD constructs, including activities, environments, plays, acts, roles, services, etc.
  • Learning Design Level B adds Properties and Conditions to level A, which enable personalization and more elaborate sequencing and interactions based on learner portfolios. It can be used to direct the learning activities as well as record outcomes.
  • Learning Design Level C adds Notification to level B. A notification is triggered by an outcome and can make a new activity available for a role to perform.
Primary Components
This information model describes a model for learning design that contains three primary components:
  • A conceptual model that presents the vocabulary, the functional relationships between the concepts, and the relationship with IMS Content Packaging. The conceptual model is described from an overall (level C) perspective.
  • An information model that describes the IMS LD elements for respectively the levels A, B, and C. Also the restricted conceptual model for the different levels is presented.
  • A behavioral model which describes a set of runtime behaviors that delivery systems must implement.
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General Information
Title: “IMS Learning Design”
Version: 1.0
Release Date: 20 January 2003
Status: Final Specification
Authors: Rob Koper, Bill Olivier, Thor Anderson


The electronic version is available at IMS Learning Design Web site.

It is comprised of three documents:
  • IMS Learning Design Information Model. This document describes the data structures (HTML)
  • IMS Learning Design Information Binding. This document describes how to encode the IMS LD objects in XML and provides the corresponding XML schema (HTML)
  • IMS Learning Design Best Practices Guide. This document provides an overview and describes how the IMS LD Information Model and XML Binding can be applied to specific types of interoperability scenarios (HTML)
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Relations with IMS specifications
The IMS LD specification can be considered as an integrative layer of IMS specifications in that it makes use of, includes or is extendable with a number of IMS existing specifications. The standard way to include specifications is through the mechanisms XML namespaces. All IMS specifications have their own namespace.

The IMS LD specification makes use of, includes, or is extendable with the following specifications:
  • IMS Content Packaging. The IMS LD is preferably integrated into an IMS Content Package to create a so called 'Unit of Learning'.
  • IMS Simple Sequencing. The IMS Simple Sequencing Specification can be used to (a) sequence the resources within a learning-object and (b) sequence the different learning-objects and services within an environment.
  • IMS/LOM Meta-Data. Placeholders for meta-data are on various structures within the IMS Learning Design. IMS/LOM Meta-Data can be included at these places.
  • IMS Question and Test Interoperability. The IMS QTI can be integrated in two ways. The first way is to integrate QTI elements into the element context environment/learning-object as a separate schema. The second way, the currently used methods, integrating them into IMS Content Packaging as specific Resource types or as separate files are still supported.
  • IMS Reusable Definition of Competency or Educational Objective. Learning Objectives and Prerequisites can refer to resources that are defined according to this specification.
  • IMS Learner Information Package. The structure of IMS LD properties can be mapped fully to the IMS LIP.
  • IMS Enterprise can be used for mapping learners and support staff to roles when instantiating a learning design.
Relations with other specifications
The IMS LD was developed taking as starting point the OUNL EML. As consequence there are a lot of similarities between both specifications.

With the IMS LD Specification it is possible to include SCORM content within a learning design. It would be necessary to have its type set and the runtime system would have to be able to deliver and manage SCORM content.
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IMS/GLC regularly conducts Summits in conjunction with our Quarterly Meetings. The public is invited to attend these meetings. Presentations and information about past Summits can be accessed here.
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