One year ago, we kicked off a project with ADL to develop tools and resources to help accelerate the adoption of cmi5, and ultimately xAPI, within both the DoD and across the industry as a whole. We even came up with a catchy acronym- Project CATAPULT (cmi5 Advanced Testing Application and Player Underpinning Learning Technologies)–because acronyms–and a nod to the crux of cmi5, which is to track xAPI enabled learning activities launched from an LMS.

Last week, a team here at Rustici met a huge milestone with the final delivery of Project CATAPULT. This was the culmination of 12 months working with ADL and key stakeholders from the DoD, collaboration with the cmi5 working group and focused software development and writing. The final deliverables include conformance test suites for both LMSs and content, an open source cmi5 player and course templates to help accelerate things on the content side for both course creation and migrating legacy content. Along with the software, we also delivered a cmi5 best practices guide, “From Conception to Conformance.” More details on Project CATAPULT and links to the final deliverables are available here.

About the project and the team behind it

This project was right up our alley, and we got to put many of our strengths to good use. We joke a lot that we’re a pedantic bunch and when it comes to specifications, this trait comes in handy. To build a conformance test suite, the specification you’re testing against has to be explicit in all of the things. This meant that Brian Miller, who led the Project CATAPULT team, spent a lot of time with the cmi5 working group honing the cmi5 spec requirements so that the test suites could validate each defined requirement. A big thanks goes out to the cmi5 working group for persevering through the many pull requests to get the language just right.

For those that are familiar with our sample SCORM golf courses, you’ll be happy to learn that similar sample course templates are now available for cmi5. We switched things up a bit and hope you like geology because these courses are all about rocks in homage to the geologically themed naming convention for the cmi5 spec. Feel free to quiz George Vilches the next time you see him as he spent a lot of time on the topic while building out these templates.

The cmi5 content conformance test suite, which uses the open-source cmi5 player under the hood, was designed and developed by Brian to test for all of the variables cmi5 offers. This test suite will be key for testing content and validates conformance. Even more helpful is that the test suite also shows you where your content fails to help you troubleshoot any non conformant findings. Jim Ingram dug deep to design both the UI and corresponding documentation to help guide users through this test suite.

The cmi5 LMS test suite, also designed and developed by Brian, is now available to test an LMS for cmi5 conformance. Intended for developers, this test suite is key to ensuring that any platform you consider buying or something you might build on your own handles all of the LMS requirements of the cmi5 spec.

For those of you that want to learn more about cmi5 and understand where it fits in the overall eLearning standards continuum and how to get started, the cmi5 Best Practices Guide is a great place to start. One of our newest team members, Alicia Pack, rolled up her sleeves and dug into this part of the project wholeheartedly. She can tell you anything you need to know about cmi5 and can probably quote from memory the numerous sources and citations included. We also have a few webinars you can check out that walk you through the tools created by Tara Morey. It’s not easy fitting a topic as complex as cmi5 into easy to follow slides, but somehow she managed to do just that.

Many others at Rustici contributed to this project over this past year. It was a team effort and amazing to see everyone come together and offer their expertise and help along the way.

Why Project CATAPULT matters

The cmi5 spec is an xAPI Profile designed for tracking xAPI enabled learning activities from an LMS. The goal for Project CATAPULT was to develop and deliver tools to help accelerate adoption of cmi5. As with any standard or specification, the value comes with relevance and adoption. cmi5 plays a pivotal role in the transition from a legacy, SCORM centric approach to an xAPI enabled ecosystem. To help accelerate the adoption, the open source cmi5 player and course templates help to fast track development and the conformance test suites support validating systems and content. We’re excited that these tools are now widely available and look forward to seeing them propel cmi5 adoption.

Tammy knew what SCORM was several years before joining Rustici Software, and she’s not even a standards geek. She’s the Managing Director and leads our company with a passionate commitment to caring for our people and customers. She’s also an Iron(wo)Man many times over.