Common Cartridge Working Group

Common Cartridge & Learning Tools Interoperability Alliance - Find out More


Learning Industry Leaders Agree to Be Initial Investors in Testing Platform for Open Standards-based Digital Learning Materials


IMS Announcement on Common Cartridge - Leading Publishers and Learning Management System Providers Commit to Support of Common Cartridge Standard 


Common Cartridge Video by Chuck Severance

Common Cartridge Benefits


  • Greater choice of content: Enables collections of learning resources of various types and sources.
  • Reduces vendor/platform lock-in: Establishes course cartridge native formats endorsed by educational publishers, and supports a wide variety of established content formats, eliminating platform lock-in.
  • Greater assessment options: Explicitly supports the most widely used 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.

Factors for Success

  • Based on 10 years experience in learning content interoperability.
  • Based on the most widely used interoperability standards for learning content and assessment.
  • Supported by the leading educational publishers, assessment organizations, and learning platform providers and leading open source/open content initiatives.
  • Easy to implement and flexible.
  • Enables mapping to things we use and understand: textbooks, lesson plans, courses.
  • Supports the overwhelmingly predominant educational and training paradigm: self-directed but guided learning with an instructor in the loop, coordinated with assessment and online communal learning (discussions).
  • Component standards are in a very healthy state of improvement and evolution to support future needs.

CC Package Interchange Format

diagram of CC package interchange format

The Common Cartridge defines a new package interchange format for learning content, able to run on any compliant LMS platform. Version 1.0 supports the following features:

  • Rich content
    • html, xml
    • web links
    • media files (e.g., mpg, jpg, mp3)
    • application files (e.g., Microsoft Office)
  • Integrated assessments
    • Multiple choice (single or multiple response)
    • True/false
    • Essay
    • Simple fill in the blank
    • Pattern match
  • Discussion forums
  • Metadata – both descriptive metadata for cartridges and roles-based for resources
  • Authorization for protected content

Future versions will introduce:

  • Web/enterprise integration with third-party tools and services
  • Lesson plans
  • Competency maps based on educational standards
  • Accessibility support

Creating the Common Cartridge

Common Cartridge v1.0 is already available, along with a test tool for testing cartridges for conformance with the specification. The project group, made up of major publishers, LMS vendors, the open source community, and other interested parties, is now working on CCv1.1 which will add some exciting new features, such as seemless integration with web applications and eBooks using LTI. The CC & LTI Alliance provides a number of resources to help software vendors implementing the specification, content providers creating cartridges and user institutions and practitioners in harnessing the power of Common Cartridge.

The Common Cartridge builds upon the widely implemented IMS Content Packaging specification, adding support for the following standards:

Further Information

For information on Common Cartridge and participation in the project, please contact us