Feds reverse course on open education mandate


Ed-tech officials lobbied for a change to a federal grant program.

The departments of Education and Labor have heeded calls from online education experts to change a mandate in a $2 billion grant program that opened last month, meaning grant applicants will have much broader choices in how to share their web-based learning tools freely among educators.


The federal grant program, known as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Grants Program, included a requirement to use the Department of Defense’s Sharable Content Object Reference Model, or SCORM, in developing open education resources.

SCORM is an eLearning software standard for self-paced, computer-based learning in the military and business sector.

While SCORM works fine for stand-alone content objects—such as a video clip illustrating how cells divide, or a PowerPoint explication of a sonnet—it cannot be used to define the more collaborative, interactive learning experiences that are typical of today’s Web 2.0-enabled course environments, its critics say.

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Denny Carter

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