Aaron Silvers has innovated the design and production of learning experiences with a variety of technologies for organizations large and small, in both the private and public sectors, for over 15 years. From 1999-2001, he produced, designed and developed web-based games for the National Football League (NFL) and the website KidsCom. With a particular niche in learning games, he produced several popular titles that, ten years later, continue to attract 20,000 children ages 6-12 a day. Working on the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative, Aaron led the development of a number of SCORM 2004 content examples and returned to ADL in 2010 as its Community Manager. He has an M.S. in Curr...
As a contractor with Problem Solutions, Aaron provides support to the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of ADL.
Over the last few weeks since the Tin Can API project kicked off, I’ve had more than a few people ask me what exactly a BAA is. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say:
The Broad Agency Announcement is a technique for United States government agencies to contract for basic and applied research and certain development. It is not intended for acquisition “related to the development of a specific system or hardware procurement.” It may only be used “when meaningful proposals with varying technical/scientific approaches can reasonably be anticipated.”
What this means, from my experience, is that a BAA is a contractual vehicle that may be issued as either a procurement contract, grant or a cooperative agreement. The type of contract (procurement, grant, or cooperative agreement) issued varies according to the applicable US Code. The degree of involvement by the government is also determined by the type of contract awarded. BAAs allow the government to reach out to industry and academia when there’s a research area that’s of interest to the government and are only used when meaningful proposals with varying scientific or technical approaches are reasonably expected.
In the case of both of the BAAs last year for the ‘SCORM Best Practices Guide’ and the ‘Experience API’ (the Experience API is known to most everyone as “Project Tin Can”), ADL awarded a procurement type contract and worked with the awardees because it was in our organizational mission to do so. ADL “owns” what comes out of these programs, and we were looking for relevant, applicable technology and best practices that would be immediately useful: the ‘Best Practices Guide for SCORM’ is something the greater community has asked for over many years; the ‘Experience API’ was something many of us came back to ADL seeking to research.
All this is to highlight to anyone who might be unclear that the Tin Can API is an ADL technology that we are stewarding into common, open and practical development. We’re releasing it (all of it) as open source, so when we say “ADL owns it” what we are really saying is that “you own it.”
If you have questions on the ADL Initiative’s BAA program, you should contact Mr. Steven Hicks (firstname.lastname@example.org) at 1-407-384-5464.