MADISON – The learning environment of the future will be modeled into shape during a “Plugfest” to be held at the UW-Extension’s Pyle Center on the UW-Madison campus, 702 Langdon Street, August 2-3, concurrently with the 16th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning being held at the Marriott Madison West.

The Pyle Center is home of the Academic Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Co-Laboratory, the focal point for development of distributed learning for the nation’s universities and colleges. The ADL Co-Lab is a partnership between the University of Wisconsin System, Wisconsin Technical College System, US Department of Defense, and US Department of Labor.

The Co-Laboratory is charged with facilitating collaboration on standards, tools and content for the future learning environment of distributed learning over the Internet.

Approximately 200 representatives from over 90 organizations, comprising learning software developers and content providers from sectors of the U.S. government, industry, and academia, will participate in the Plugfest. The goal is to set up specifications and guidelines that allow technology-based learning courseware and content, among other things, to be reusable, platform independent and globally accessible.

“The result will be the ability to make quality learning more readily available by bringing distributed learning to the classroom, job site or home, anytime and anywhere it is needed,” said Judy Brown, emerging technology analyst for the University of Wisconsin System and director of the Academic ADL Co-Lab.

“The Co-Laboratory will evaluate and develop tools to ensure quality and the ability to meet the individual learning styles. People will be able to take more responsibility for the results of their learning,” said Brown.

Developed under the auspices of DoD’s ADL Initiative, the Sharable Courseware Object Reference Model (SCORM) provides the foundation for how universities, schools, the Department of Defense, and others, will use learning and communications technologies to build, and operate in, the learning environment of the future.

Brown said that many commercial vendors and technology firms, as well as academic partners, have supported technical development of SCORM Version 1.0.

This event will bring together early adopters of the SCORM specification to experiment and demonstrate interoperability of content from many sources over multiple learning management systems and from separate organizations. In addition, the Plugfest will provide participants with a forum for sharing their experiences in converting instructional products to comply with SCORM specifications and help to make the specifications more robust.

For more information about the Academic ADL Co-Laboratory Plugfest, contact Judy Brown at (608) 263-9270 or


Judy Brown, technology analyst
(608) 263-9270