Understanding "AICC Compliance" (and AICC Certification)
What does "AICC Compliant" mean?
The term "AICC Compliant" means that a training product complies with one or more of the 9 AICC Guidelines & Recommendations (AGR's). Since there are 9 different AGR's, "AICC compliance" can mean different things as there are 9 different possibilities to "comply" with.
The AICC has developed formal certification testing procedures for the CMI related AGR's (AGR-006/AGR-010) and currently offers certification testing for both CMI systems and CBT courseware.
The other 7 AGR's (listed below) have no formal tests:
- AGR-002 - COURSEWARE DELIVERY STATIONS
- AGR-003 - DIGITAL AUDIO
- AGR-004 - OPERATING/WINDOWING SYSTEM
- AGR-005 - CBT PERIPHERAL DEVICES
- AGR-007 - COURSEWARE INTERCHANGE
- AGR-008 - DIGITAL VIDEO
- AGR-009 - ICON STANDARDS: USER INTERFACE
Many vendors will claim that their products are "AICC Compliant". (Whether they really do or not is subject to some interpretation in the absence of tests).
Some vendors will claim that their product is "AICC Compliant" if they feel that they comply with ANY of the above AGR's. This can be quite confusing. When talking to vendors of "AICC Compliant" products, be sure to ask vendors which specific AGR(s) that they comply with.
The most common meaning of "AICC compliance" (when associated with CBT courseware or CMI systems) is compliance with the AICC documents AGR-006 (File-based CMI Systems) or AGR-010 (Web-based CMI Systems). These AGRs define the communication between CMI systems and CBT courseware.
As with the other AGR's, any vendor can claim "compliance" with the AICC/CMI guidelines (and many do) but only a few have submitted their systems for testing (so far). The AICC is aware of this problem and, unfortunately, there is not much we can do except try to educate consumers.
So be a "smart shopper"! The next time you talk to a vendor and they claim to comply with AICC/CMI guidelines, ask for proof with the following questions:
- Ask them if they have been "AICC Certified". You can verify by checking the AICC's list of certified products Click here for list
- Or, if they claim to have "self-tested" their systems, ask if they have a copy of test logs from the AICC/CMI test suite
- Ask which version of the AICC/CMI guidelines that they comply with.
If you wish to check any system for compliance with AGR-010 or AGR-006 you can get a copy of the AICC/CMI test suite and its associated documents and perform the tests yourself. (these are the same tests used in our Independent Test Labs). Click here more details on testing.
The AICC Compliance Logo "Brand"
The AICC tries to discourage vendors from using the term "AICC compliant" because it can give the mistaken impression that it was somehow checked/tested for compliance. We instead ask vendors that if they have not been tested in our labs or if they only partially implement AICC guidelines, that they say "designed to AICC guidelines". If they have been tested by an AICC Independent Test Lab (ITL) they are to be called "AICC-Certified".
The AICC has a compliance logo program click here for details. This a "brand" that will help you recognize products that either claim to (or are tested to) comply AICC guidelines. Not surprisingly, the two logos are called "Designed to AICC Guidelines" and "AICC Certified":
"AICC Certified" logo - This logo is available only to products that have been tested compliant in an AICC Independent Test Lab.
"Designed to AICC Guidelines" logo - This logo is available to any vendor who pays a nominal fee. (Please note that this is self-policing by the vendor)
The both logos are required to have the AGR's supported listed on the product packaging or in the product documentation.