I can’t think of a single LMS that handles language support elegantly. Yes, many of them have a setting whereby a person who speaks another language can reconfigure the interface to reflect their preferred language. But very few LMSs allow a learner to switch the courses offered to them from a default language to their own. Some allow an administrator to make efforts to manage this, but it is incredibly difficult as reports don’t understand that “Basic HR Training (French)” earns the same credit as “Basic HR Training (English)”.
LMSs often assume that the content itself can handle this, and some pieces of content do. They embed multiple voiceover tracks, or language resources, and allow the learner to make a choice from within each course, switching to their preferred language. But this is hard to do in a single piece of content, and the reality is that almost no content vendors bother.
Truthfully, this is the kind of thing that content providers are better suited to than LMSs and their administrators. Content providers are invested in learners’ ability to grasp the material. Content providers have reason to make their content better than their competitors, whereas LMSs have less incentive to do so.
These are my beliefs:
- LMSs should not have to understand that different courses in different languages fulfill the same requirement.
- Learners should be allowed to take their training in the language with which they are most comfortable.
- Content providers care more about content and its applicability than LMS vendors.
- Content providers need to be able to use their preferred authoring environments and tools.
We built Content Controller to accommodate these beliefs. When a learner launches a course from their own LMS, Content Controller offers the learner the choice amongst the supported languages for that course. Their LMS knows nothing about the fact that there are multiple supported languages, just that it needs to launch the course.This means that the content provider can create the course using whatever tools they wish. Then, they create an equivalent in Content Controller that relates all the language variations of a course with the respective languages. The learner makes a choice during their initial launch, which can be persisted in the application, and that choice determines which variation of the course is delivered to them. The magic here is the LMS never knows any of this is happening, just that the learner has fulfilled the requirement. Meanwhile, the content provider can guarantee for their customers that their learners are taking courses in the language they understand best.
This capability in Content Controller has shifted the responsibility for learner-course/language association from the LMS, which never does it well, to the content provider, who has the ability to offer multiple languages of the same course and manage it effectively. Better for the learner, better for the LMS administrator, and better for the content provider.
We see two distinct ways to innovate learning standards. One is to push the community forward by developing and evangelizing emerging standards. We do this all the time. The other is to create and deploy new approaches around existing standards.
Our SCORM Engine powers content launch for the vast majority of LMSs in the world. Our SCORM Driver is used by all but one of the largest rapid authoring tools and countless content creators.
Today we’re announcing Content Controller. We believe that content providers have been underserved. Limitations imposed by SCORM have discouraged innovation that can help them realize the value of their compelling content.
Many industries have transitioned to “as a Service” models. Software as a Service is quite familiar, and Infrastructure as a Service and Platforms as a Service are well on their way too. In each case, customers are able to leave more of the problems to their providers, and providers are able to iterate much more quickly and proficiently than their customers. Providers are also able to generate long term recurring revenue by this model.
In the elearning world, content has long been deployed physically, as digital assets, from content provider to customer. While this has long been required by SCORM’s architecture, it also created real issues.
LMSs are prone to have duplicate and out of date content.
Customers are liable to use content well beyond its licensed period and/or licensed number of learners.
Content providers are blind not only to the utilization of their content, but to the value of it.
Content Controller addresses all of these issues by allowing the content provider to host their content centrally while deploying it for use by their customers. Built on top of our existing SCORM Dispatch product (meaning this is well vetted), Content Controller circumvents SCORM’s limitations to allow both provider and customer to have what they need. This allows Content Controller customers to offer Content as a Service (CaaS).
Content Controller provides version management, license management, content analytics, and sophisticated equivalencies that allow content owners and their customers to do things they haven’t previously.
I’m really excited about this product personally because I think some of the best creative work in our industry is being done by content providers. This will allow those companies to take proper advantage of their unique abilities. We’ve developed this initial version of Content Controller in conjunction with four customers, and the first of the deployments are live and have already delivered tens of thousands of launches. This is just the beginning.
Well, not really, but it’s the closest thing that the e-learning industry has to offer in the area of “prestigious awards for doing awesome things”.
The 2014.1 SCORM Engine release will be out in the next couple of weeks. And it‘s going to blow your mind.
We’ve been working on some major (awesome) overhauls. With over 28 improvements and enhancements, you might want to schedule your upgrade ASAP.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
All work and no play, well, that’s just not how we do things.
The first thing people usually learn about our company is that we work with e-learning standards like SCORM and the Tin Can API. The second thing that people tend to learn about us is that we have fun.
Part of the fun we have at the office revolves around ping pong — singles matches, doubles matches, inventing new variations of pong (we have one called “grand canyon pong”), and keeping track of our office rankings on the “Pong Ladder”.
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