Comparison of the Features of EPUB E-Book and SCORM E-Learning Content Model

Comparison of the Features of EPUB E-Book and SCORM E-Learning Content Model

Hsuan-Pu Chang, Jason C. Hung
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJDET.2018040101
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E-books nowadays have greatly evolved in its presentation and functions, however its features for education need to be investigated and inspired because people who are accustomed to using printed books may consider and approach it in the same way as they do printed ones. Therefore, the authors compared the EPUB e-book content model with the SCORM e-learning content model from the respects of their content presentation, metadata and package structures. Drs. Chang and Hung found that 1) EPUB has the possibility to implement the advantage of content sharing and reusing. 2) EPUB e-books can present educational materials with multimedia and interactive components based on web technology. However, content creators should beware of the limited supported media types 3) EPUB lacks dedicated educational metadata. 4) EPUB e-books have a content reflow mechanism to adjust layouts to fit small screen devices and are able to use all resources offline. Finally, they determined the research issues and strategies that are worthy of further investigation and development for EPUB e-books in education based on our findings.
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With advances in technology, numerous variances of formats have emerged to enhance enrich e-books which are able to contain embedded interactive multimedia features. Readers are able to interact with the content through audio, video, hyperlinks, dictionaries, translators, manipulation of images, quizzes, social collaboration and other web site resource. Therefore, a simple definition of e-book suggesting it is a simple digitized version of printed book like a PDF file is literally not enough to fully express the features of current e-books. Anne Kostick writing for Digital Book World (2012) even further suggested to coin a new term to describe the variation of these digital literary products. She argued that referring to them as books is not only inaccurate and confusing, but may even impede innovation in its development. Gardiner and Musto (2012) acknowledged that the definition of an e-book is a “work in progress”.

With the digital features of e-book, educational practitioners have noticed its benefits for education include 1) easier distribution and purchase, 2) simple backup and storage, 3) ability to adjust font size, 4) add text to multimedia, 5) read on different devices and 6) the ability to have a large number of devices in electronic books (Fojtik, 2015). However, despite the advantages aforementioned, sales of educational e-books such as e-textbooks have not been as popular as it was expected. Smith, Brand and Kinash (2013) pointed out one of the reasons is that teachers approached e-textbooks in the same ways as they did printed books. They used affordance theory to understand the adoption of e-textbooks by university lecturers. They argued lecturers are not aware of e-book’s enhanced features and lack the understanding of its affordances. Affordance means the concept of the opportunities that objects create for the user’s behavior. These opportunities need to be perceived by the user.

E-books are not just the replacement of the printed books, but its opportunities and significant enhanced features applying for education need to be recognized and inspired. One of the best ways to do that is through comparison. EPUB (Electronic Publishing), the international standard of e-book and SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model), the most widely used e-learning standard which gives insight of an educational content model facilitating e-learning. Both were chosen for the comparison to help us understand their beneficial features for learning. The comparative research method (Bereday, 1964) was conducted inspecting their features from the three respects: content presentation, metadata, and content package.

This paper is organized as follows: Section 2 introduces the two international standards, SCORM and EPUB including their institutions and the proposed specification. Section 3 describes the adopting methodology and the results of comparison. Section 4 shares the discussion and suggestions on using EPUB e-books for educational purposes. Finally, Section 5 gives the conclusion of the research.

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