There really used to be a bloke at Euston station who did the “Standard, Standard, read all about it” news vendor pitch, back before the London Evening Standard became another free paper to litter the carriages of Underground trains.
A strange title for a paper, as Standards don’t often attract much excitement, or publicity, except when the lazy tabloids decide a new Euro standard is going to force us all to eat straight metric bananas.
I want to briefly look at a specific Euro standard, and try and explain why it is important.
EN 15982:2011 Metadata for Learning Opportunities (MLO) – Advertising
“EN” means European “Norme” from the French for standard OR “Norm” from the German for standard, a standard being a technical document designed to be used as a rule, guideline or definition. In Europe this is coordinated by CEN (the Comite European de Normalisation- OR European committee for Standardization) and is a consensus-built, repeatable way of doing something.
Standards are created by bringing together interested parties such as manufacturers, consumers and regulators of a particular process or service. Everyone benefits from standardization through increased product safety, quality or in this case interoperability.
A European Standard (EN) automatically becomes a national standard in the 31 member countries. This is the bit that causes the outrage in the tabloids, as the nationally adopted standard becomes the one that should be selected in procurements. There are quite likely cases where over regulation is an inconvenience, but if for instance you are a council planning to repair your pot holed roads it might be useful to be able to specify the road materials for the repairs: EN13108.
So, back to EN 15982:2011 Metadata for Learning Opportunities (MLO) – Advertising, which I was notified today has been approved by a final vote of national members.
MLO is a standard addressing metadata for advertising a learning opportunity.
It describes the information needed about the provider, the specification and the particular instance of the learning opportunity.
It aims to provide enough information about a learning opportunity to enable a learner to discover it, decide whether it meets their needs, and where to find further information.
MLO is a lightweight standard designed to mesh with existing business processes and technologies. The standard is easy to implement to ensure a rapid uptake by the European countries.
To support the take-up of MLO, work is underway to produce further guidance on implementing a specific conformant binding.
XCRI-CAP 1.2 has been selected as the British national conformant profile, and the JISC are supporting HEI’s in England to review the way they generate and store course data, to make it easier for potential students to discover.