Proof-Of-Concept Web Services Interface for the Generalized Operations Simulation Environment, 07-R8099

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Principal Investigators
Malachi J. Wurpts
Chad J. Zalkin
Robert L. Rogers

Inclusive Dates:  09/16/09 – 01/16/10

Background - Sharable content object reference model (SCORM) and Web services are two widely used technologies in training and business applications. SCORM, an initiative of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Co-Laboratory, provides a standard for computer-based training so learning content can be portable between learning management systems (LMS). Using the traditional SCORM model, user activity is reported to the LMS using JavaScript calls, which results in limitations when creating learning content because the reporting mechanism must be channeled through a web browser. A Web service is a collection of functions exposed as a single point of access available on the Internet for use by other programs. Web services are fundamental building blocks for creating open distributed systems that can enable users to quickly compose many different services into complex multi-layered computational infrastructures to handle difficult training problems. A Web services interface to SCORM enables non-browser based learning applications, such as high fidelity immersive training simulations and training applications running on mobile platforms, to communicate directly to an LMS in more flexible and innovative ways.

Approach - SwRI's Generalized Operations Simulation Environment (GOSE™) provides a highly configurable, immersive 3D learning environment. Since GOSE is a non-browser based application that manages user activity, it was selected as an ideal candidate for evaluating the Web services framework developed in this effort. During this effort, SwRI actively contributed to the development of a Web service-based application programming interface (API) for interfacing training applications with a SCORM LMS. The Web service framework was evaluated and demonstrated using the GOSE training application. Performance and data validation testing was performed using GOSE, along with assessments of the API, as the framework was developed.

Accomplishments - SwRI collaborated with the International Federation for Learning, Education, and Training Systems Interoperability (LETSI) Runtime Web Services working group to create a framework for interfacing non-browser based applications with a SCORM compliant LMS. An initial porting of the SCORM runtime communications protocols to a set of Web service definitions was completed and tested. The framework was integrated into GOSE, and tested with two LMSs configured with the Web services framework. The proof-of-concept application was demonstrated at two conferences, the eLearning Guild DevLearn Conference in November 2009 and the Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in December 2009. During this effort, SwRI actively participated in the definition of this emerging training technology and is well positioned to implement solutions as a contributor and early adopter of the framework.

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