IMS Learning Design

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IMS Global Learning Consortium [1] (usually known as IMS) is a non-profit standards organization concerned with establishing interoperability for learning systems and learning content and the enterprise integration of these capabilities. Their mission is to "support the adoption and use of learning technology worldwide". Their main activity is to develop specifications, some of which like QTI and Content Packaging are very widely used.

Scope of IMS standards

The scope for IMS specifications cover most of the data elements used in "distributed learning," including both on-line and off-line settings, taking place synchronously (real-time) or asynchronously. IMS specifications promote the reuse of E-learning content and include Internet-specific environments (such as web-based course management systems) as well as learning situations that involve off-line electronic resources (such as a student accessing resources on a CD-ROM). The learners may be in a traditional educational environment ([i.e.], a school classroom in a university), in a corporate or government training setting, or at home.


In 1997 the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative of Educause began a project to create a set of widely adopted standards for exchanging college learning content. While IMS got its start with a focus on higher education, the specifications published to date as well as ongoing projects address requirements in a wide range of learning contexts, including of course K-12 schools and corporate and government training. The acronym IMS originally stood for Instructional Management Systems but the full term is now rarely used.