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DoDI 1322.26 Fungible References

This DoD Instruction also formally assigns responsibility to the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative and Defense Advanced Distributed Learning Advisory Committee (DADLAC) for maintaining the Instruction’s “fungible references.” These define future guidelines and technical guidance across the DoD, which is likely to change on a routine basis—too frequently to include in the base of the Instruction.

Introduction

This guide is the official reference and support resource for Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1322.26. This reference contains the most recent technical information available and will be updated as the ADL Initiative and the DADLAC identify new information or recommend changes to standards, specifications, conformance, testing, acquisition, and other DL topic areas. Readers are encouraged to visit this reference guide frequently for the latest available technical information and guidelines.

This document is divided into the following sections

  1. Definitions
  2. Implementation Guidance
  3. Conformance Testing
  4. Other Acquisition Guidance and Development Considerations
  5. Technical Specifications and Standards
  6. References

Definitions

Distributed Learning (DL): DL is defined in DoD 1322.26 as any type of learning mediated with technology and accessed through a network or experienced via portable media. Additional terms are defined in the glossary appended at the end of this reference guide.

Implementation Guidance

Acquisition of Training and Education Infrastructure Systems:

Training and Education Infrastructure Systems are applications such as Learning Management Systems (LMSs), Learning Content Management Systems (LCMSs), or Learner Record Stores (LRSs) intended to support sophisticated learning and training capabilities leveraging DL content. As part of any acquisition of new DL Systems, DoD Components should consider the following:

  • Components shall develop or acquire DL systems that support the latest versions and editions of existing DL standards to maximize interoperability. (See the section below on Technical Specifications and Standards for details of this support.)
  • Before acquiring DL systems, DoD Components will evaluate existing resources within the DoD. Many DL systems have the capability to customize administrative functionality, user experience, and interface to specific DoD Components’ needs. Prior to commencing development or acquisition of DL systems, DoD Components should consider using open-source or government-off-the-shelf (GOTS) DL systems. Open-source and GOTS systems may reduce overall ownership costs and improve interoperability and flexibility.
  • DoD Components are encouraged to develop or acquire DL systems that permit the transmission of data to other systems like human-resource, student-information, and training-management systems.
  • DoD Components should thoroughly examine the controls, interfaces, and capabilities of DL systems for Adobe Flash™ use or reliance. Deprecation of Adobe Flash™ in 2019 will render dependent features useless and create security vulnerabilities within the system.
  • DoD components should thoroughly examine 508 compliance of any new DL systems. Voluntary Product Accessibility Template, commonly referred to as VPAT is one method to use. It’s a document that outlines how your application conforms to the Section 508 regulations. Authoring tools within any system should be evaluated. More about Section 508 Accessibility can be found in the section below.

For most DL system needs, there will be a mix of LMSs, LCMSs, and/or LRSs readily available. DoDI 1322.26 establishes baseline scenarios for the interplay of Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM®) and Experience API (xAPI) across DL systems. The ADL Initiative will update this reference as best practices emerge from those baseline scenarios and/or alternative practices are deemed to be preferable for DL among DoD Components.

The considerations referenced above include adopting existing standards, as well as evolving profile specifications, to support current and future interoperability requirements of DL systems. DL Components should implement ADL Initiative-approved standards and specifications using one of the following methods:

Option 1: Implementing a SCORM®-conformant LMS

  • Conform to all mandatory requirements for the targeted version of SCORM®.

Option 2: Implementing SCORM®-conformant LMS with LRS

  • Conform to all mandatory LMS requirements for the targeted version of SCORM®.
  • Conform to the xAPI base specification.
  • Can optionally conform to the xAPI SCORM® profile specification to support translation and exchange of historic and incoming SCORM® data to xAPI.
  • Can optionally conform to the xAPI cmi5 profile specification to support launch, packaging, and other cmi5-specific features.
  • Can optionally send or receive data to and from other LRS implementations.

Option 3: Implementing Stand-alone LRS

  • Conform to the xAPI base specification.
  • Conform to all mandatory LRS requirements for the targeted version of xAPI.
  • Can optionally send and receive data to or from other LRS implementations.
  • Can optionally conform to the cmi5 or SCORM® profile specifications.

Content and Activities:

Before creating or acquiring new or modifying existing DL content, DoD components must conduct an analysis to identify and analyze performance gaps and determine the best solutions to address the gaps. If DL content is identified as an appropriate solution, DoD Components should establish project goals including performance tracking requirements, integration with other training/education solutions, and expected outcomes.

Section 508 Accessibility

Federal regulations mandate electronic and information technology resources be made accessible to people with disabilities (e.g., “508-compliant”). Access and experience shall be comparable to that available to non-disabled individuals in compliance with the requirements, applicability, and alternatives provided in Procedures for Ensuring the Accessibility of Electronic and Information Technology (E&IT) Procured by DoD Organizations. Current specific standards and methods for development and testing are provided at the Section 508 website.

Deprecation of Adobe Flash ™

The Adobe Flash™ plug-in is a browser-based technology that has commonly been used to support the development of web-based courseware and content. Due to ease of use and popularity in DL authoring tools, use of this technology in DoD DL content is rampant. In the year 2020, Adobe Flash ™ will no longer be supported by its owner or any of the commonly available Internet Browsers allowed for use within DoD environments. As a result, DoD Components:

  • MUST NOT develop, fund, pay for, or acquire any DL content, tools, websites, or any other capability that contains any Adobe Flash™ code of any version or derivative of Adobe Flash™.
  • MUST NOT update, modify, refurbish, or re-engineer any DL content, tools, websites or any other capability to a state in which it contains Adobe Flash™ code. This includes non-Adobe Flash™ modifications, etc. that leaves the content, etc. in a state of containing Adobe Flash™.
  • SHOULD carefully analyze the user interface and output of authoring tools, including web tools or plug-ins, currently in use for underlying Adobe Flash™ technology and desist in usage of tools found to contain or use any form of underlying Adobe Flash™ technology.

Conformance Testing

The ADL Initiative oversees the process of DL conformance testing for SCORM® and xAPI. The conformance tests for xAPI are focused on LRS conformance and are being developed. Improving the conformance testing landscape for xAPI is a top priority for the ADL Initiative. Certification opportunities for SCORM® and xAPI will also be announced soon.

Other Acquisition Guidance and Development Considerations

Security: DoDI 1322.26 does not specifically address cybersecurity considerations, although the ADL Initiative recognizes that such considerations are imperative for DL implementations. Recommendations, such as the deprecation of Adobe Flash™, may be made as a result of a combination of provisions, including security.

Technical Publications: When specifically acquiring or developing Interactive Electronic Technical Manuals, consider the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) or S1000D specifications.

Technical Specifications and Standards

DL standards are published technical specification documents that are designed to ensure interoperability of learning technology products, services, and data. Standards help establish consistent protocols that can be universally understood and adopted to simplify the development process. Standards also make it easier to understand and compare competing products and systems. It is only through the application of such standards that new DL products can be tested and verified for conformance.

The ADL Initiative is the principal steward of the SCORM® and the xAPI. The affordances of these two standards and various types of DL they support underpin the DoDI 1322.26 policy.

SCORM®: For more information on SCORM®, the DoD standard for self-paced, asynchronous DL that is specifically delivered in a desktop/laptop browser, please read the DoDI SCORM® Reference.

xAPI: For more information on xAPI, the new standard for tracking all other types of learning activities that can be delivered on any device or platform, read the DoDI xAPI Reference.