LETSI:  The International Federation for Learning, Education, and Training Systems Interoperability

March 24, 2010 10:45 ET

LETSI Announces First Step in Modernizing Elearning Software Standards

LETSI Announces Final Testing of Its Forward-Thinking Web Service Definitions for Communication Between Standalone Learning Activities and Traditional SCORM Learning Management Systems

ORLANDO, FL--(Marketwire - March 24, 2010) -  LETSI, the International Federation for Learning, Education, and Training Systems Interoperability, announced today during the eLearning Guild's Learning Solutions Conference the kickoff of the final test phase of its software standardization project entitled Runtime Web Services for Learning.

Eight LETSI volunteer organizations are involved in the final research and development phase of this year-long project, which pioneered a rapid, collaborative approach to solving systems interoperability issues.

LETSI's project allows standalone learning activities, like mobile training on an iPhone, to communicate directly with existing learning management systems (LMS) using web service definitions based on SCORM protocols -- a standard developed by the U.S. Department of Defense in the 1990s. LETSI's innovative work will enable new types of elearning activities to easily integrate into existing LMS at learning institutions and in industry.

Participating companies:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton, Rustici Software, and Meridian Knowledge Solutions are instrumenting their learning management systems for web service communications.
  •, OutStart, Intelligent Automation, Booz Allen Hamilton, pipwerks, and WISE Learning Solutions are modifying existing courses to use the new communications framework.

Each will demonstrate delivery of elearning with runtime communication across platforms (e.g., LMS, browser, PC desktop, mobile) and with standalone learning activities like simulations, games, virtual worlds, and intelligent tutors.

Future LETSI projects will continue to advance activity-based software architectures for learning systems. Enabling communication across learning platforms fosters rapid experimentation and evolution of innovative learning activities, intelligent online tutors, and new tools for academia, and parents.

LETSI Commentary
"For a long time, industry has been dissatisfied with limitations imposed by standards in the area of content-to-LMS communication," said Meridian Knowledge Solutions' Christopher Sawwa, an e-learning standards expert. "LETSI has figured out a simple way to incorporate the technology that some of the best LMS vendors have had for years. By doing this, we've developed a powerful and elegant method for content, and a hosting system to talk to one another without a web browser. For example, a course on a flight simulator can now transmit tracking information directly to an LMS using simple Web service calls; a course can now be its own stand-alone application, not limited to a collection of web pages. As web services become ingrained in the new standards, the very way we think about content will drastically change."

"Over the last 10 years, the web has changed our lives -- the way we shop, the way we read, and even the way we date," notes Avron Barr, LETSI's communications chair. "But education and job training have been slow to adopt new technology. One barrier to innovation is the lack of modern interoperability standards."

"OutStart is an aggressive supporter of standards that help industry move learning from an era of proprietary platforms to one where content works across multiple systems and is delivered from many sources," said Massood Zarrabian, president and CEO of OutStart. "LETSI initiative's laser-beam focus on agility and time-to-value can create great benefit to vendors and users alike."

"The RTWS framework allows a learning activity to sidestep traditional browser server/client limitations and be a first class citizen in the elearning world: a desktop real time game that requires gigabytes of local data; a simulation that needs access to OS api's not exposed to the browser sandbox, training that can run without a continuous Internet connection; or a learning app running native on an iPhone or Blackberry or on limited bandwidth devices that don't have a browser such as vehicle information displays." Ethan Estes, elearning developer, WISE Learning Solutions.

LETSI was formed in 2007 by a group of organizations dedicated to innovation through the creation of open standards for the next wave of online learning tools. LETSI collaborates with international standards bodies, including IEEE and ISO, to produce mature standards in a fast timeframe -- for broad adoption of new technologies.

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