Interview Dr. Jon Mason
Agreements for Growth - International Standards in IT for Learning
6. July 2017
They are omni-present in today’s world but often get confused with rules and regulations. For us as a society, they help us grow and making the next step into the future, for a better, safer and less-disruptive life – international standards.
Two important words describe an even more important mission - to support seven billion people in 195 countries worldwide to agree. That’s correct, the world agrees in something. One can find the results of those agreements in everyday life: if it’s the food products in the supermarkets which are controlled and certified by the food safety management standards to ensure the safety in the global supply chain or when transferring money to another bank, using defined country codes to identify the banks’ location.
But there is another industry which is strongly influenced by those standards. An industry which is one of the fasted growing globally and most people and businesses don’t and can’t live without – information technology. Through IT, including all types of devices and universal internet connection, the world has become a village with technology capabilities bringing science-fiction movies like “Her” or “The Matrix” very close to home.
As organisations from all industries grow with IT, so does the need for their employees to grow their skills. Organisations whose core remit is learning and development rather than information technology, navigating this complex landscape is time-consuming and downright confusing. The head of L&D for a large legal firm or the manager of a government department cannot be expected to know the best tooling for delivering learning on mobile devices or for packaging content to deliver via a Learning Management System (LMS).
This is where Standards come to the fore
For customers, standards prevent vendor lock-in, reduce switching costs, enable like for like comparison using a common language and informed choice and, to a degree, certainty around that choice. Standards also enable adoption of an ecosystems approach so that content and data can be exchanged efficiently resulting in the right data being in the right place at the right time.
For vendors, adopting standards reduces complexity and cost, enables them to leverage new and emerging technologies, to remain relevant and to achieve economies of scale. Standardisation is not about one-size fits all, nor about homogenising or reducing choice. But one standard (or a set of standards) can fit many sizes. As research by constituent body’s attests, when used appropriately, standards act as enablers – enhancing interoperability of technologies and processes, facilitating choice, international trade, and economic development amongst other things.
Simplifying and harmonising the landscape of information technology for learning, education and training delivery is key to economic and political prosperity and potentially millions of people will benefit of that effort.
I had a shirt with that written on it
One of the most respected thought-leaders in the field of standardisation in information technology for learning, education and training has shared his knowledge and experience with us at the recent ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC36 Conference1 hosted by Standards Australia, in Melbourne – Dr Jon Mason.
Questions how IMC is keeping up with international standards in IT?
Say hi to Bruce, our guru for standards in IT
Bruce Chynoweth is a former Vendor Member of the SIF AU Data Standards Working Group (now Access4Learning) and has contributed to industry forums developing open standards for e-learning systems integrations including supporting the adoption of SIF and IMS standards in K-12 education in Australia. Questions? Get in touch.
1ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36: sub-committee 36 of the Joint Technical Committee 1 of a partnership between ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, and the IEC, the International Electrotechnical Commission.