Group Training in SCORM 2 by ajizai


									                          Group Training using HLA in SCORM 2.0


Currently, SCORM does not address group training requirements. There are no specifications
specifically designed to allow a group of people to train together collaboratively. Developing
collaborative training and/or multi-user simulations that can be transferred between specific
LMS implementations is not possible without a clearly defined way of having the training
content on one learner’s computer communicate with training content on another. Adding an
implementation of High Level Architecture (HLA) to the Learning Management System (LMS),
which is accessible to the training content through the SCORM API would allow for this
communication. All training content, as well as all learners belonging to the training group, are
considered federates within the HLA Run Time Infrastructure (RTI). These specification
additions need developed for not only the training content but the run-time environment as well.

Problem definition

Very little standards or exist addressing group learning. These standards should allow for
instructor led and controlled training, collaboration, and content created on-the-fly (injects).

Use cases

#1: Instructor Lead and Controlled

Goal: To allow a training lead to monitor and control the flow of the training.

Preconditions: An organization has determined that they have a need for group training and
training content has been created. A group of trainees, as well as a training lead, has been
identified. All participants have signed into the training software and the training is underway.


   1. The lead schedules when training will begin and who will take the training. Once the
      training has begun the lead will be able to monitor who is currently participating.

   2. As the trainees progress through the training, the lead will be able to monitor their
      activities (i.e., collaboration application, chat messages, progress, etc). As-needed, the
      lead will be able to interact with the trainees to provide guidance.

   3. The lead wants to determine how well the training is progressing and will be able to view
      any trainee’s current progression.

Group Training using HLA in SCORM 2.0                                                               1
   4. As-needed, the lead will be able to send injects to training participants. The injects may
      be pre-built as part of the training content or may be created on-the-fly.

#2: Participant Collaboration

Goal: To allow training participants to collaborate with each other.

Preconditions: All participants have signed into the training software and the training is


   1. A trainee needs to collaborate with other participants.

   2. A trainee needs to collaborate with only one other participant. For example, the trainee
      will be able start a private chat session with that other participant.

#4: Content Creation On-the-fly

Goal: To allow a training lead to control the flow of the training by increasing the level of detail
of information or providing situations not considered when the training was originally

Preconditions: All participants have signed into the training software and the training is


   1. The training lead creates and sends a new inject (e.g., piece of training content or

   2. The training lead sees responses to this inject don’t meet expectations. The lead decides
      to send another inject with more information to help guide the trainees.


          Various branches of the Department of Defense (DoD).
          Any organization with a need to conduct group training.

Proposed solution

In order to implement the use cases, three components will be affected: the learning
management system (LMS), the run-time environment (RTE), and the training content. The
changes must allow for communication among the components using an open protocol. The
protocol proposed by this paper is the DoD High Level Architecture (HLA).

Group Training using HLA in SCORM 2.0                                                              2
A possible solution would be to include an implementation of the High Level Architecture
(HLA) Run Time Infrastructure (RTI) as part of the LMS implementation and expose this
through the SCORM API and as a raw networking interface to meet the possible high
performance needs of a game/simulation, or in an environment where the SCORM API isn’t
easily available.

   1. The LMS will have to include an implementation of the HLA RTI. The RTI will have to
      expose a total of 6 services that need to be exposed.

       a. Federation Management Services which expose the necessary functionality to create
          and operate a federation.

       b. Declaration Management Services which allow federates to declare why data they’ll
          provide and require during their execution.

       c. Object Management services which allow for the creation, deletion, and identification
          of objects from all of the necessary federates within a federation. It also provides a
          mechanism for state updates to be sent to all federations that have expressed interest
          in a given object.

       d. Ownership Management Services which provide the capabilities allows federates to
          transfer ownership of an object to a different federate, because only the “owner” of an
          object is allowed to update the state of an object.

       e. Time Management Services which support synchronization of data exchanged
          between federates.

       f. Data Distribution Management Services which supports routing of data among
          federates during the course of the federation execution.

       The HLA interface specification defines the way these services are accessed both
       functionally and in a programmer’s interface.

   2. The RTE will have to act as a proxy between the SCOs and the RTI, it will also
      optionally have to provide connection information to be passed into a simulation if using
      the RTE/SCORM API as a proxy won’t be able to provide the necessary functionality
      (i.e., a game engine that isn’t able to communicate to the API but is able to connect to an
      RTI will need the connection information to communicate directly).

   3. The training packages will now have to know how to communicate with the RTI, either
      through the RTE or through a direct connection to the provided services. If necessary the
      training packages will have to know how to break up the activities into objects that HLA
      can understand so that message routing can occur on a per activity basis or for the entire
      package. It will also have to keep track of who owns what objects at any given time and

Group Training using HLA in SCORM 2.0                                                           3
       know what federation it belongs to so that messages from one instance of a group based
       activity do not inadvertently get sent to another instance of the same activity.

As part of incorporating HLA into both the RTE/LMS and the training packages all data that is
needed to be shared between federates will have to conform to the HLA data interchange format
(DIF) so that there is a standard format for transmitting data for all LMS vendors. All services
provided by the RTI know how to interpret data provided in this format and all valid HLA
federates can interpret this data format. The DIF format is also used to pass data between tools
used to create HLA compliant simulations/activities. Below are examples of the data represented
in a DIF file.

   (Class (Name "Fish")
     (PSCapabilities PS)
     (Description "Completely aquatic, cold-blooded vertebrates having gills
   and fins.")
     (SuperClass "Seafood")
   (Class (Name "Food" [2])
     (PSCapabilities S)
     (Description "Nourishing substance that is eaten.")

The LMS, RTE, and training content will have the following data storage and messaging

Training content data storage:

       A flag that indicates whether or not the training should be executed within an HLA
       A format for defining the trainee’s progress with the training.
       A description of data that the content accepts as input.
       A description of data that the content provides as output.

Training Content Messaging:

       A call to retrieve the trainee’s current progress.
       A call to pass input data into the content.
       A call to retrieve output data from the content.
       A call to request data from another instance of the content.

RTE Messaging:

       Pass through calls from the training content and the LMS (and vice versa).
       Send chat messages to everyone participating in the training.
       Send chat messages to an individual participating in the training.
       Receive and display incoming chat messages.
       A call to receive and display an inject.

Group Training using HLA in SCORM 2.0                                                           4
The LMS data storage:

       When the training is scheduled.
       Who is scheduled to take the training.
       Who is currently participating in the training.

LMS Messaging:

       A call to retrieve the trainee’s current progress.
       A call to pass input data into the content.
       A call to retrieve output data from the content.
       A call to send an inject.

Integration and other technical issues

       Any game engine that would be considered for use must make use of HLA for cross
       client communication.

       Any possible firewall/security issues of having a service that is not using an http based
       protocol for networking

       Connecting to HLA from a java applet or other browser based object, since it may not
       possibly be using an http based network protocol.

       The RTI implementation within the LMS will have to be general enough to handle
       multiple kinds of simulations and training content and also robust enough to support
       multiple concurrent multi-user environments. This may cause an increased hardware cost
       for hosting.

Existing implementations/prototypes

The Immersive Learning Environments (ILES) program is a program sponsored by the Office of
the Under Secretary of Defense (OUSD) for Personnel and Readiness in support of NORAD-
USNORTHCOM and U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) small group training needs. The
ILES program has implemented a software framework which allows for group training. ILES is
not an HLA-based implementation; however, it does provide most of the requirements for the
above mentioned use cases. The framework has a client-server architecture and includes various

       ExServer – The server software coordinates communication with all the client
       components, and ILES database, and an LMS.

       ExLobby – The lobby is the starting point for training developers, training leads, and
       learners. Once logged into the lobby a list of available training exercises. From there,

Group Training using HLA in SCORM 2.0                                                              5
       the builder, manager, and player components can be launched.

       ExBuilder – The builder allows training developers to create new training exercises.

       ExManager – The manager allows training leads to monitor the flow of the training
       exercise. This includes monitoring learner’s progress, chat, sending injects, and access to
       the shared workspace used for document sharing.

       ExPlayer – The player allows learners participate in the training exercise. This includes
       viewing the training material, chat, inject review, access to the shared workspace, and
       access to external Web sites.

Summary and recommendations

By making the HLA part of the SCORM specification, group training will be enabled. Learners
will be provided with a dynamic and engaging environment within which training content will be
delivered. Training leads will be provided the ability to monitor and control the training, as well
as provide on-the-fly generated content.

Review existing HLA and SCORM integration efforts done throughout industry, government and
academia for best practices.

Review existing standards (e.g., HLA, ISO) for relevance toward implementing group training

Group Training using HLA in SCORM 2.0                                                              6

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