Common Cartridge™ Standard Streamlines the Access and Integration of Content

Common Cartridge is a set of open standards developed by the IMS member community that enable interoperability between content and systems.  Common Cartridge basically solves two problems. The first is to provide a standard way to represent digital course materials for use in online learning systems so that such content can be developed in one format and used across a wide variety of learning systems (often referred to as course management systems, learning management systems, virtual learning environments, or instructional management systems). The second is to enable new publishing models for online course materials and digital books that are modular, web-distributed, interactive, and customizable.

How Common Cartridge Benefits K-20 Institutions
Using Common Cartridge, institutions of all types can streamline both access and integration of content into their learning platforms to support teaching and learning innovation. The past model of doing manual manipulation to make content work from a variety of sources can now be a thing of the past.  When selecting products that have implemented the Common Cartridge standard, K-20 institutions, schools and districts will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Greater choice of content: Enables collections of learning resources of various types and sources to be accessed with greater ease to enable the personalization of learning experiences.
  • Reduces vendor/platform lock-in: Establishes course cartridge native formats endorsed by educational publishers, and supports a wide variety of established content formats, thus eliminating platform lock-in.
  • Greater assessment options: Explicitly supports the Accessible Portable Item Protocol™ (APIP™) and Question & Test Interoperability® (QTI®) standards for exchanging assessment items.
  • Increases flexibility, sharing and reuse: Fits within the educational context of enabling instructors to assemble lesson plans of various resources and publish those as reusable and changeable packages that are easy to create, share, and improve.


Common Cartridge Implementation and Conformance Certification

IMS Certification Logo

All IMS Global standards are free and available to the public for download. IMS membership is the only way to achieve official conformance to IMS standards, including Common Cartridge™, Learning Tools Interoperability™, Learning Information Services, and other standards. Digital content or learning platforms must exhibit the marks shown here and have a valid registration number, signifying achievement of the official conformance process, to be compliant to IMS Common Cartridge and other IMS standards. Products without these marks are not considered to be compliant by IMS Global.

See who is implementing Common Cartridge and Learning Tools Interoperability


Join the Collaboration
Whether you are a college, university, state, or a business committed to serving education, we invite you to become involved in the IMS member community. There are three options for participation and official membership. Membership at any level shows your organization’s willingness to collaborate with organizations that are demonstrably supportive of the mission of standards that lower barriers to entry for innovative suppliers and increase the adoption of technology by end users that improves the access, affordability, and quality of educational experience.

For more information, contact us.