One of the goals of the NLII is developing tools and standards to support new learning environments and creating market structures for the development of interactive learning materials. The NLII gives high priority to the monitoring of and participation in the development of technical specifications and standards for learning materials, instructional technologies, and software developed to manage courses (or learning), learning objects and other content, or student activities
Many factors influence the development of specifications and standards throughout their lifecycle. In particular, good communication and coordination between the tool users and the tool makers is critical, and the NLII sees its role as to facilitate that communication and coordination, working particularly with the IMS.
This article highlights several issues such as the specification and standards development life cycle, use case methodology and open source development. The role of IMS, OKI, and Shibboleth in this context is discussed; the University of Delaware's uPortal describes one model model for open source software development; and anoverview of NLII's involvement in the process of specification and standards development is given.