Microsoft Semblio and SCORM

Topics: Developer Forum, User Forum
Feb 2, 2009 at 8:49 PM
I've downloaded the SDK for Microsoft Semblio (previously Grava). It's a platform and library for educational content creation, using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) to create rich activities. It looks interesting, even exciting, but I can't see any mention of SCORM conformance.

Does anyone know if Semblio packages are likely to be SCORM conformant?
Feb 4, 2009 at 2:39 PM
We are currently looking at creating an HTML wrapper that would allow Semblio packages to be turned into SCORM packages. However this hinges upon the creation of a browser based Semblio application player, which currently has some apparent security restrictions to overcome.
Jul 12, 2009 at 6:41 PM

Ayone have any new / updated info on this? An HTML wrapper or Silverlight version of the player control is pretty important. Access to learning content by way of webbrowser/webserver is a must, IMHO.


Dec 31, 2009 at 10:07 PM

Does anyone know if Semblio packages are likely to be SCORM conformant?

I don't see this happening.  Semblio content is implemented as a WPF user control.  WPF content does not play through a browser the way HTML, Flash or Silverlight content does.  The security implications of making a Semblio player into a browser control are fairly complex and difficult. 

An HTML wrapper or Silverlight version of the player control is pretty important. Access to learning content by way of webbrowser/webserver is a must, IMHO.

I disagree.  

I think that the training content industry has already identified some significant limitations in SCORM because it is constrained to the web browser.  My customers want immersive 3D content and even "virtual worlds".  You really just can't deliver this kind of stuff in a web browser without proprietary plugins that no one wants to install.  The Semblio architecture seems to overcome this issue because it brings to bear the full power of WPF with rich text formatting (via FlowDocument) and a full 3D content model.

As for SCORM conformance, I think SCORM will change to accommodate Semblio.  The group called (of which I am a member) is working hard to develop a service orientated architecture for learner performance tracking.  In the first week of December at the ITSEC conference in Orlando the LETSI group demonstrated some really promising proof of concept applications built using this new service oriented system.

I believe the better path for Microsoft is to think of the Semblio player as a browser in it's own right.  The player should control downloading packages from remote Internet servers, caching the content in a local sandbox, and rendering it with the full capabilities of WPF.

Mark Ewer

Jan 1, 2010 at 1:06 PM

HunterStone is launching a tool that will take Semblio content and package it to a SCORM format - it is to be released 2 weeks after BETT.

Jan 20, 2010 at 7:44 PM

@ MEwer i agree and disagree with you, I’m an IT Network Manager for a school of around 1400 pupils and somewhat 300 staff. We use sharepoint 2007 and I must say it works very nicely.....with this new version of semblio. From what I have seen on MS web site it does like very nice and some what entertaining now. but from an education point of view teachers don’t want to be creating 3d content and even virtual worlds I mean yes don’t get me wrong some of the staff most probably  would go for this idea but then some not...we used to use a service called class server where teachers can create these resources as then pupils would login on the sharepoint 2003 which I must point out that class server is no longer compatible in a some what of an awkward way with the new sharepoint 2007  which really puts me in a bad situation because we have or should i say my sharepoint desinger has now spend 3x as long trying to explain to the teacher what she / has to do

e.g. logon to class server (offline) export the resource > save as zip file then upload it to the vle > right click right  blah blah set it to the group of pupils...we also use hotpoatos which gives the pupils the results and not the teacher now if this new software e.g. semlio can do what i need it to do then create but if it cant then I really don’t know what or how Microsoft are going to get this right. like I say yes i agree with things looking nice but when it comes to the homework / assigning it to pupils / publishing it then I don’t think Microsoft have got a clue unless they speak to teachers / pupils

lets see what happens!

Jan 21, 2010 at 7:21 PM

The new version of Semblio (not yet released) includes an application geared towards teachers which allows them to easily create/assemble content packages from existing materials (Word, PowerPoint, images, audio/video etc.) and also existing Semblio packages. So they then could combine an existing Semblio package such as a 3-D simulation with their own stuff.

HunterStone has also created an enhanced version of CourseManager functionality in the SLK that eases the burden on teachers for creating and managing assignments.

Feb 12, 2010 at 7:18 PM

Thank you mrkl.  While we disagree I do appreciate your point of view!  I think that jtoddwalker is hinting at the point I was trying to make.  A fully web-based system (like class server) simply cannot deliver the level of fidelity that is possible in a WPF system like Semblio.  However, a WPF system can easily deliver anything that a web-based system could.  Newer tools like the Semblio packager that Microsoft is working on or the CourseManager from HunterStone will make it easy for instructors to build simple content while professional content development firms (like mine) can build more interactive and engaging content.  Because Semblio content breaks out of the web browser we gain some significant new capabilities, but we don't loose the old ones.

So, to answer the original question of will Semblio content conform to the SCORM specification, the answer is no.  SCORM simply does not have an "out of browser" story and Semblio content runs out of the browser.

Feb 12, 2010 at 8:57 PM

Starting with Silverlight 3 and moving on to 4 we are getting extremely close to having the same functionality for either WPF Windows, or WPF SIlverlilght.. I copied and pasted about 400 lines of code out of a wpf app this morning into a silverlight usercontrol and had to make about 2 or 3 minor changes and it just worked.  :)  I'm on no ones side here by the way, just pointing out that very soon that 'extra' fucntionality you get for being a windows client application will be availble on the web.   Of course disc writing, etc, are not support InBrowser (Out of browser you can write to disc now).