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.
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
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 enterprises 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
Standards developments in a variety of interconnected
areas are essential to the achievement of a global, interoperable