SCORM Cloud Beta :: What is a "dispatch"?

import dialogue
Ye Olde Switcharoo, from HogueLikeWoah

Do you remember the old phone switchboards? They connected a caller to a receiver, and it required some handholding on the part of the operator, right?

As much as we’d like for SCORM to work perfectly every time, and without intervention, that just isn’t reality. Some LMSs are great, but others aren’t. Some LMSs support SCORM 2004, but many don’t.

One constant is that connections made by our products have always been strong. And so we’re now offering the ability to create a “Dispatch”, or a connection, between a piece of content and any LMS that goes through SCORM Cloud.

If you have ever found that your content worked in Test Track, but not in your LMS, now is your chance to fix that problem. Upload the course into SCORM Cloud, download a Dispatch, and put that in your LMS. We’re betting that your problems will be solved.

Follow along below for step-by-step instructions, we’ll save the technical details for another day.

Creating a Dispatch in SCORM Cloud
Step 1: Import a SCORM course

First of all, you have to have a package that works in SCORM Cloud. Theoretically, this includes any SCORM or AICC course, but it’s definitely worth importing it and testing it via the Launch button in the SCORM Test Track Sandbox.

Once you’ve done that, though, you can move on to creating your Dispatch package.

Step 2: Push the “Dispatch” button
dispatch__button
The button
Step 3: Choose or create a Destination

We’d like to help keep you organized. Some people will be using Dispatch to protect and track their content by creating Dispatches for their customers (that’s another blog post).

If you’re just creating a Dispatch to get around some limitation of your LMS, then you can simply create a single Destination and select it each time. (If you don’t already have a Destination created, you’ll need to bounce over and create it.)

The tags and notes sections of this page are completely optional. Skip them your first time through, if you like.

dispatch__selectDestination-1

When you’re content with your Dispatch, hit create.

Step 4: Find your Dispatch

OK, we know this step is kind of lame. Rather than taking you to your newly created Dispatch, we’re taking you back to a list of them. (Trust me, we’ll fix this before our final release.)

For now, though, pick your recently created Dispatch and click on it.

dispatch__betaclick
Step 5: Export your Dispatch

Now that you’re back on your precious Dispatch screen, you can click the Export button. This is the payoff for all of your work. When you push Export, you’ll be given… wait for it… a SCORM zip file!

dispatch__exportbutton

That’s right… you put your SCORM zip file into the Dispatch box, and out the other end comes… a SCORM zip file! I know, it seems like we aren’t doing much, but there’s a little magic going on behind the scenes. Your new zip file will be smaller, and oh so much better.

dispatch__packagezipped
Step 6: Deliver your well-dressed SCORM package to your LMS

The rest of this process will depend largely on your LMS. Take the new package and import it into your LMS just like any other piece of content. Your LMS won’t even know the difference.

dispatch__testtrack import
Here, I’m importing my Dispatch into the old version of Test Track
dispatch__ttlikeanyothercourse
Just like any other course

From this point, the experience will vary based on the LMS into which the course is imported. But that’s the beauty of it… it should work in any LMS. (Now, as this is a beta at this point, we’d love to hear your feedback on how well it works. Going out into the wild, as we all know, is a different thing than testing yourself.)

Step 7: Report on the course’s usage

The real power of Dispatches, other than the fact that they just work, is that you can then report on the usage of your content anywhere. Each LMS will point back to SCORM Cloud to deliver the training, and that means that you can see details about who is using your content and when.

dispatched

Further, you have the ability to disable Dispatches. This means that if someone doesn’t pay, or is mean to your mom, or whatever, you can prevent them from launching that content again. This is a massive change for the SCORM world in which most content is delivered complete with all its assets to the LMS server… This gives you something we all like… control.

Enough.

I know this article is long. Seriously, I do. So I’m going to stop here. There’s a lot of technical detail behind Dispatch. If you care, let me know that in the comments and we can dig into that detail. For now, though, experiment. Give it a shot.


  • Joe Blow SCORM Guy

    Good post. I’d like to have seen the example screenshots to have included the “launch” of the dispatch. Does it just open a new window to the cloud? Does it pass cloud-based runtime results to the LMS hosting the dispatch? Are these the technical details for another day?

    And I think a screenshot of that “Sequencing Demo” course would be neat. It sounds very intriguing. Sequencing is hard, right? I bet whoever wrote it is really smart, and probably a bit on the handsome side too.

  • First of all, this comment must be spam. Such self adoration… wow.

    Second, you can see a screen shot of that “Sequencing Demo” running here. The area in red is from Test Track, the area in green is from the Dispatch. Now, it actually shows a bug, too. The Cloud skin should be showing at the bottom, rather than the Test Track skin. That’ll be fixed soon.

    Package properties selected in Cloud will apply here, so it could be set up to pop in its own window.

    And yes, Cloud based runtime is pushed back to the host LMS in aggregate. To the Host LMS, this appears to be a single SCO course.

    More questions… please.

  • Tom

    Really, really excited by the possibilities this throws up. I’d be interested to see a follow up post on the techincal side of things – and any possible limitations of this approach.

    Will an API for dispatch creation would be made available?

    For example, if I wanted customers to be able to register on my site, select the courses they want to purchase and then be presented with a dispatch for them to download for their LMS would that be possible?

  • Tom… I have some short answers for you now (since the tech blog post is somewhere back in the queue.)

    Will there be an API? We’ve built it so that we can expose an API relatively soon. Interest like yours affects just how soon. If you would commit to a certain level of usage/$$$, we could probably accelerate that timing.

    And yes, if you wanted to build an application that uploaded your content to SCORM Cloud and then made use of the API to download Dispatches, you could definitely do what you have in mind. (I’m trusting that you understand there’s an associated cost for the SCORM Cloud piece.)

    Limitations: This solution definitely requires a connection… it won’t work with an offline player (because the content is served directly from cloud.scorm.com). That’s the biggest in my mind. Others would include that only a subset of the data model is shared with the host LMS due to technical limitations.

    If you have further questions, keep asking.

  • john

    Dispatch may be a solution for me. I mean, I like the LMS I am using, but it aint ADL compliant. Can I have SC in background for reporting but offer my courses on the original LMS? That would mean all learners login to original LMS, etc. Is this what Dispatch is meant to do? You guys are cool. Comments on this?

  • Thanks for checking it out. I’ll reach out to you via phone to handle your particular details. The short answer, though, is that Dispatch is probably a good fit for you. The only way to know for sure, though, is to try it…

  • I am from the Moodle world where things usually just work but as of recent I have been hired to work for a company that uses Learn.com. I tested the SCORM Cloud out with Learn.com with 100% failure. Import produces warnings, and the course fails to launch. This does not surprise me because I have yet to see anything work in this LMS. Just thought I would let you know.

  • Chad.

    There are plenty of LMSs out there with problems, no doubt. One upside to SCORM Cloud, though, is that we can often help you work through them. If you’d like to create a ticket at support.scorm.com, we can take a look at how your course works in SCORM Cloud and then how a dispatch to Learn.com functions as well. Is that something you’d like to explore with us?

    Tim

  • Ankur Jain

    Is there a way to get the Dispatch for AICC compliant LMS ?. LMS that we use, only supports AICC based courses and the content that we want to setup is SCORM based. If we upload our SCORM courses to SCORM CLOUD and get the dispatch as AICC course. Is that possible ?

  • Tammy Rutherford

    Hi Ankur,

    SCORM Cloud Dispatches are either SCORM 1.2 files or can be sent to a platform via LTI. So the LMS needs to support one of those standards.

    We do have an option that can help you create AICC content- Driver. There is a free trial version you can use to try it out.

    https://scorm.com/scorm-solved/scorm-driver/scorm-driver-free-for-non-commercial-use-download/

    Let us know if that might work for you.

    Thanks!
    Tammy

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