A revolution in the sharing of knowledge…

Transforming e-Knowledge
TABLE OF CONTENTS     Technologies, Standards, and Marketplaces for e-Knowledge   © SCUP 2003
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Standards Incorporate Consensus and Create Value (continued)



Chapter 4

Technologies, Standards, and Marketplaces for e-Knowledge

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The white paper goes on to proclaim that by following these standards, NHSU will be able to achieve the five “abilities” of interoperability, re-usability, manageability, accessibility, and durability. (NHSU, 2002, p.2). Other institutions and learning enterprises are creating similar expressions of support and intent that are useful in raising the consciousness of learning enterprises to these developments.


Standards and the
Creation of Value

The word “standard” is commonly used in a wide variety of ways. It can mean a social convention, a dress code, a skill level, or a video format. In French, the words “norme” and “normalisation” are used as translations for “standard” and “standardization.” In the context of formal organizations such as ISO (the International Organization for Standardization), a “standard” has a very precise meaning.

A standard is a published document which sets out specifications and procedures designed to ensure that a material, product, method, or service is fit for its purpose and consistently performs the way it was intended to.

Standards Australia

Standardization of everything from bolt and screw specifications to railroad gauges turned the Industrial Revolution from localized and national phenomena to an international movement.


The Internet Revolution would have been impossible without de facto standards such as TCP/IP, HTTP, HTML, XML, and more yet to come. And the e-knowledge revolution will not occur without standards in modular content management, vocabularies and metadata, portable IDs, security, and enterprise system architecture integration.

A Global Investment. Standardization amounts to a huge investment globally. This investment makes good economic sense on many different levels. Standards help grow markets and facilitate trade. The e-Knowledge Industry is no different in this respect from the domestic lighting or cellular phone industries. Standardization of key components enables interoperability while stimulating diversity and innovation.

Economic value chains are fueled by two contrasting activities — the appropriation of value and the creation of value. Standardization is focused almost entirely on the creation of value. While it often delivers new efficiencies to a given market it is not focused on best utilization of resources — that is the concern of an enterprise’s management.

With standards now emerging that support the growth of e-learning and knowledge management, value can be assigned or discovered depending on who you are. For example, a CEO of a company developing learning content will see value in routine processes that deliver standards-compliant, quality products and, potentially, greater market share. One employee of the same company may see value in the optimization of assembly processes while another may see the opportunity for innovation; while another, who may be concerned about professional development issues of learning content designers, may see a clearer career path.

Key Standards Areas
Facilitating e-Knowledge

Standards developments in a variety of interconnected areas are essential to the achievement of a global, interoperable
e-knowledge infrastructure.


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  History shows that revolutionary changes, tipping points, do not take off without widespread adoption of common standards. Common standards for metadata, learning objects, and learning architecture are mandatory for similar success of the Knowledge Economy.
Wayne Hodgins