Common Cartridge is supported by a host of publishers, vendors, and LMS platforms, including McGraw-Hill and Pearson.

Rob Abel, chief executive of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, said standards designed to span across the educational market “are much more effective when market share leading organizations are committed to their success” because participation from a company like Blackboard “motivates the many partners of such leaders to also implement the standards.

“Standards depend on a network effect in that they become exponentially more valuable with each implementing organization and the value each organization brings is related to its market share,” Abel said.

The common standards apply to Blackboard’s Learn 9.1 platform, the company said in its announcement. Applying IMS’s standards to that platform would mean educators could use digital learning tools from other companies’ LMSs and could share the tools more easily.

“This is a big milestone for us and for our clients, and a sign of the maturity of the education technology industry,” said Ray Henderson, president of Blackboard Learn and a member of the IMS board of directors.

If a professor uses Desire2Learn to create a course platform, for instance, the standards will allow her to “reuse the learning content” if she is hired to teach the same course at another college that uses Blackboard.


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