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  • 2008-06-05
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Meeting Information


June 5, 2008



Attending: Morgan Bantly, Valerie Smothers, Don O'Guin, Dawn Carroll

Agenda Items


Morgan began the call with an informal discussion of Pfizer's implementation plans. Don explained that there is no scorm or metadata in place at Pfizer.  They are looking to move in that direction. Morgan explained that the VA is trying to implement scorm and healthcare lom and working with an LMS to make it more compatible with their metadata needs. Now that healthcare lom is an ANSI standard, it will be easier to make sure systems accommodate these requirements. Don said they have gone from 47 LMS to 2. Most users will be on Sum Total. Manufacturing is on Plateau. In neither is scorm used. Their group has only used AICC. Their curriculum is complex, much of the content is developed by outside vendors.  The Curriculum Development team creates content for new products. None of that content has been created with an eye to reusability. He is working with them now to write content standards and use SCORM, a sco orientation for reuse and repurposing. If they come out with a new product, there is disease state information included in the training. Much of that could be reused multiple times - cardiovascular information could be reused across several courses. They hope to have that in place by September. In 2009, they want to do business requirements gathering to put in place standards that they need.

Don asked how Pfizer can interact with MedBiquitous on the standards implementation. They would like to adopt standards out of the box without rewriting for Pfizer - keep it simple. They would like to take advantage of the MedBiquitous expertise and ADL expertise.  Valerie commented that she is happy to meet with Don and his colleagues in New York; she can also speak with them over the phone and answer questions via e-mail.  If more significant support is required, a consulting arrangement could be discussed.  In addition, the CTC organization provides services to the ADL.  Sean Thropp, one of their employees, has been the main author of the scorm specifications, and he could provide technical advice on deploying SCORM across the enterprise. And of course this working group can be a great resource. If there are any really sticky questions, those can be referred to the technical steering committee.

Morgan emphasized that this group is focusing on implementation. We want to review and refine implementation guidelines, so Don's experience can feed into those guidelines. Morgan asked him to take a look at that. Dawn commented they are working on something to process metadata more quickly - templates. That should take place shortly. She found XML notepad - you can create templates there.

Don commented that one of his challenges is that outside vendors will create the content. Tools used internally are simple. His focus is external. How can outside vendors know what to do? Dawn commented that Healthcare LOM is pretty clear. There were a few things she had questions on and asked Valerie. Dawn is creating a guide - going on what the Leo Grassi at the Navy gave her. Valerie will contact him and see if she can share that with the group.

Morgan commented that Don is keyed on next steps towards implementation. One of the things we have on agenda is how to get the word out. What does Don want to know about? Any specific questions about the work of the group?

Don added that they would like to take healthcare lom in toto and use as the metadata standard for Pfizer going forward. The vendor for content creation is vendor for documenting scorm, they are not familiar with MedBiquitous. One question is how is the vendor going to understand healthcare lom instead of what they might have proposed. These are look and feel standards. Morgan commented that healthcare lom is just an extension to lom; if the vendor is familiar with lom, this is just an extension related to healthcare. It works the same way; just a few additional fields. They have questions about appropriateness. Morgan added there are new things it addresses. When they look at description of elements, it is clear what they represent. Many fields are optional; they can choose what they are interested in applying. Don asked who could Pfizer benchmark with? Dawn commented that company that they went with does not have robust metadata. They are developing something open source.

Don's team is creating content without LCMS or repository. How do you store assets so that you can find what you need? Morgan commented that the VA developed a repository of assets that allows you to assign metadata. It's a COTS product they customized. It's available to everyone in the VA. Don added they have a documentum solution available, but that won't help cataloguing and discovery. Morgan commented that the system VA used allows you to apply metadata to each asset and searching (Boolean, nested, etc.) can be used against all metadata elements. You could use an application like that to organize and locate other assets such as courses, large video files, etc. even if they can't be physically stored on the same server. You could enter thunbnails and related metadata along with actual physical locations of the assets. Don commented that they may be able to leverage a digital asset management solution. Morgan added that with their solution you could directly download the assets; but if you included an entry for assets (or courses, etc.) that were not directly downloadable, you would need to include the location and method for retrieval as special instructions for those particular items. They also created a function for employees to contribute assets to the system. They worked with clinicians pertaining to specific medical specialties to identify key descriptors, keep it minimal, use consistent vocabulary (form w/pull down choices), then select asset and submit. The asset and associated metadata are sent together to the system administrator for review and entry into the repository.  Don asked if a librarian does QA on metadata. Morgan said yes. Morgan will send him contact information for that person.  Centralizing management of assets has saved individual management time across the organization for organizing assets in addition to preventing duplication or asset creation and increasing re-use of assets.

Don asked for words of wisdom around governance.  Morgan recommended the need to collaborate with the right people to get everyone's commitment and buy in. For example, various technical requirements need to be coordinated; course requirements, lms requirements, and the organization's infrastructure requirements. This results in a comprehensive coordinated set of technical guidelines.  Valerie recommended having  RFP guidelines, copyright guidelines.  Morgan described their process for online course testing: in phase 1 testing, the client verifies that content is final, scorm conformant testing is done through the ADL test suite, 508 compliance, etc.  All of that must be done before testing content on the LMS. There have been instances where they have a statement from ADL on conformance but the course doesn't run. There are some ways to do things in designing courses that are outside the scorm model; it still applies with testing, but with LMS there may be some things that don't work as expected due to course construction and the SCORM version of the LMS, for example.

Morgan commented that we are looking at incorporating consent and licensing elements. The group will be looking at using Creative Commons as a basis for that.

Morgan emphasized that near-term our work group is trying to get the word out about the new healthcare LOM standard and revise the implementation guidelines to be more helpful. We want to address those a little more rapidly. At that stage, we may not have the calls as frequently and doing other things to support.

Don recommended leveraging - Eliot Masie's community site.  It's an opportunity for us to make sure that the learning town community is aware of MedBiquitous and LOM.


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  1. The AACN has developed all of its E-Learning courseware to be SCORM-conformant.  We initially launched it in our new LMS at version 1.2.  However, we have since revised the bulk of our E-Learning curricula and, when we did, we upgraded it to SCORM 2004.  SCORM has significantly enhanced the interoperability and distribution of our E-Learning, although we have not yet implemented any of the Medbiquitous extensions.  We currently have many VA medical facilities and VISNs as customers of our SCORM-conformant e-learning.