Saturday, February 20, 2010

Microsoft Semblio – A set of tools for educators to create rich interactive content/training, with extensibility via SDK, .Net and WPF (SDK free available today, rest coming soon)

Microsoft PressPass - Global Content Solution Professionals Back New Microsoft Education Platform for Rich Media

REDMOND, Wash. — Feb. 3, 2009 — At its fourth annual Global Education Partner Summit, Microsoft Corp. announced a lineup of prominent educational content publishers, developers and software vendors from around the world that intend to use the Microsoft Semblio Software Development Kit (SDK) to contribute to the creation and packaging of content solutions for educators. Built upon the Microsoft .NET Framework, the Semblio SDK will enable developers to reach new audiences and help create new business opportunities and revenue streams.

The Semblio SDK is the first release of three components that make up the Microsoft Semblio platform. Formerly known under the code name “Grava,” Microsoft Semblio consists of an SDK for developers to create and package content; an assembly tool for educators to combine multiple types of content into a single, multimedia package; and a runtime media player that students and educators can use to view and interact with the lessons and presentations. The assembly tool and player will be available with the next version of Microsoft Office.


Kurt Shintaku's Blog - INFO: Microsoft “Semblio” vs Microsoft “Learning Content Development System” – SCORM-compliant Development Software

What is Microsoft Semblio?
Semblio is a new set of tools designed to provide the education community the ability to easily author, assemble and publish rich interactive content.

The Semblio toolset is comprised of three building blocks:

  1. Semblio SDK: Are a set of API’s and developer tools which allow content professionals to develop and design digital content
  2. Semblio Assembly Tool: Is an interactive canvas which allows teachers, students, and subject matter experts to create and assemble rich digital content
  3. Semblio Player: Is designed to both display content and allow users to interactively engage with the rich digital content

What is the Microsoft Learning Content Development System?
Learning Content Development System provides the Microsoft Learning Communities with an easy-to-use, form-based tool that allows them to create e-learning in the Official Microsoft Learning user experience. Another goal of the LCDS is to showcase Silverlight technology. All interactive elements and interactive media in LCDS v2.2 are Silverlight-based.

How does the LCDS tool differ from the Semblio Assembly Tool? 
The fundamental differences between LCDS and the Semblio Assembly Tool center on four main areas; audience, extensibility, delivery platform, and support.  


  • The LCDS tool is for the Microsoft  Learning communities. Output generated from the LCDS is constrained to the Official Microsoft e-learning user experience and supports the MSL instructional design model and Microsoft Learning standards and styles.   
  • The Semblio Assembly Tool is for a non-technical educators and subject matter experts to create and assemble rich-interactive learning objects. Output generated from Semblio will not restrict users to one specific instructional design model and is flexible enough to work both in the classroom as well as out of the classroom.   


  • The LCDS tool is for creating e-learning courses according to the Microsoft Learning Official e-learning user experience and instructional design model.  The LCDS provides a templatized version for structuring e-learning courses according to the Microsoft Learning style, user experience, and instructional design model.  
  • The Semblio Assembly Tool provides an open and flexible way to create interactive learning materials which the user controls. Users have several ways they can customize the interactive canvas in Semblio Assembly to suit the needs of their project and work habits.


  • The LCDS tool is primarily focused on enabling web based e-learning courses and leverages Silverlight technologies.  Courses created with the LCDS can be deployed in an LMS, on a web server, on a user’s hard drive, and on CD.  For deployment on a web server, CD, or hard drive there are additional configuration steps that must be followed.
  • Semblio is designed for rich media content and provides the best experience by leveraging Windows desktop capabilities via WPF; however Semblio will also target a lighter web- based experience via Silverlight.


  • The LCDS is a community supported tool. The LCDS is not supported by Microsoft Product Support and one uses the LCDS at their own risk as it is not an official Microsoft Product. 
  • Semblio will be a fully supported Microsoft product and will be targeted to all Microsoft customers.

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Microsoft SemblioHow It Works

“Now you can make your instructional materials even more valuable. Microsoft Semblio provides easy access to the power of Microsoft .NET and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) by tailoring the Microsoft development platform specifically to the education market. Get ready to create an immersive education content experience.

What you need.

Getting started with Semblio is simple. You'll need to do a few things:

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Microsoft Downloads - Microsoft Semblio SDK

“Microsoft Semblio SDK enables content professionals, ISVs, developers, and designers to package and distribute rich educational material. The Microsoft Semblio SDK is a collection of API’s, samples, tools, and associated documentation that assists software developers in creating components of a Microsoft Semblio interactive presentation.

File Name: v1_SDK_RTM\SemblioSDK.msi
Version: 1.0
Date Published: 12/15/2008
Language: English
Download Size: 5.2 MB

The Microsoft Semblio SDK is built on the .NET Framework 3.5 and provides the necessary tools for content professionals to create rich interactive learning material. The Microsoft Semblio SDK provides the API's which enable the packaging and collating exploratory learning activities like simulations, animations, labs, e-books, and more.


Interesting… I dig that it’s extensible via .Net/WPF. And it seems it’s going to be part of Microsoft Office 2010 (so I guess ‘free’ if you already have that?). Seems like something that would be great for corporate internal content providers/trainers?

Anyway, I dig the idea of using technology to speed, enhance, improve and streamline education, so I’ll be keep an eye on this.

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