If standards and wrapping content are not the immediate answer to e-Learning integration issues, organizations may also consider Web services; the latest seeker of the integration throne.
Web services is often hailed as the bridge among applications, processes and information across the enterprise. Using accepted XML and SOAP standards, Web services can create links between outside services and applications.
Unfortunately, it does not help if the Web services-linked applications can’t talk to each other. With Web services, there is still a large custom development effort involved in getting both applications to speak the same language, which is, in this case, the language of content integration.
Content Integration Technology
The basic concept of content integration sets aside worries about the standards compliance of your e-Learning components, as well as concerns over how to modify these components to work differently than they were originally designed. CIT solutions create a middle layer that performs the translations among e-Learning components so they speak the same language. To modify the integration, you only need to modify the middle layer.
Another key distinction of CIT solutions is the resolution of firewall issues inherent in a distributed content infrastructure, which provides organizations greater freedom of choice and larger opportunities for cost savings.
The bottom line is that it may be several years before e-Learning standards begin to deliver promised value. As the world of e-Learning expands to include applications that span across an enterprise — such as regulatory compliance training — CIT offers one way to enhance the value of existing investments. CIT solutions help companies integrate both new and legacy training components, regardless of vendor, content location or industry standard and the solution is available today, not tomorrow.
Kimberly Woodward is vice president of Product Strategy at Chicago-based Trifus, a provider of content integration technology solutions, and can be reached at (312) 373-7000.