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cmi5-exanded-pens-support
One thing we love about supporting eLearning standards is that by helping others comply with the specifications that best suit their needs, we get to watch them be more impactful in the space. To that end, we’re happy to include cmi5 and expanded PENS support in our SCORM Engine 2017.1 release and seeing what folks do with it.

PENS

The Package Exchange Notification System (PENS) is a great example of a feature that’s inspired by our customers. PENS is a specification that allows one-click publishing from an authoring tool to an LMS (you can learn more about how PENS works here). In this release we’re moving forward with a plan to expand PENS support in SCORM Engine. While we’re confident the PENS specification will catch up to new and emerging learning standards such as xAPI and cmi5, we don’t want to stand in the way of our customers using PENS for these new standards. To that end, we have included support for content types in PENS of “cmi5”, “xapi”, and “tcapi”. Any of these will now be recognized in the PENS request and processed.

cmi5

Earlier this year, you may have read that cmi5 support was made available in SCORM Cloud as well as SCORM Engine and SCORM Driver. Tim’s blog post did a great job of discussing why cmi5 was so important but in short, cmi5 is like “xAPI on rails.” In addition to allowing you to track anything (particularly actions that occur outside a LMS) it also provides specificity around content launch. Content launch has traditionally been the biggest challenge of xAPI, and we believe cmi5 will be intrinsic to the transition from SCORM to xAPI.

If you have questions about PENS or cmi5 in general, or you want to learn how to make use of this expanded support please let us know.

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We are excited to announce that the latest version of SCORM Engine–SCORM Engine 2017.1–is now available!

The release includes a bunch of new, awesome updates, which we highlight below. Plus, we launched Managed Hosted Services this year. So if you’re looking to take some hosting burden off your shoulders, that’s something we can help with now.

New releases are always included in your licenses, so there aren’t any additional fees. If you’re interested in scheduling your upgrade, the best thing to do is contact your Account Manager or email us at support.

Now, without further ado, the latest features…

New Features in SCORM Engine 2017.1

Integrated Support For Amazon’s S3 Storage & Cloudfront CDN

Engine now provides built-in support for the Amazon AWS environment, which allows you to securely store your courses in Amazon’s S3 data store. Using Amazon Cloudfront, you can make courses available to users more quickly. Learn more about distributing eLearning via CDN.

Remote Content Hosting and Launching

We’ve done a bunch of work to better support customers who need to host their content in a remote location (non-Amazon content store, a CDN solution, etc.). If you think this is a feature you’d benefit from, reach out to us, we’d love to talk through your use case with you.

Improved, Responsive Player UI

We’ve continued to enhance the design and layout of the new SCORM Engine Player UI, which we released in Engine 2016.1. Now, Engine’s player is fully responsive and very mobile-friendly. See the difference in Engine player’s functionality on Zendesk.

xAPI Conformance

ADL officially released the xAPI Conformance Test Suite and (Good news!) Engine is xAPI conformant. Using Engine as your LRS will help your product pass the xAPI Conformance Test Suite and enable you to be on ADL’s list of Conformant LRSs.

Accessibility Improvements to Support Customers Pursuing 508 Compliance

For those pursuing 508 compliance, our latest improvements help ensure our application provides the accessibility features you need. In particular, we have made significant changes to the Engine player UI to more easily cooperate with screen readers.

Expanded PENS Support

We added expanded Package Exchange Notification System (PENS) support to account for updates made to emerging standards like the Experience API and cmi5. Now, Engine supports content types in PENS of “cmi5,” “xapi” and “tcapi.”

If you’re looking for more technical insight into the release, check out our SCORM Engine 2017.1 technical documentation.

Reach out to support@scorm.com if you’d like to schedule your upgrade or if you have any questions! New releases are always included in your licenses, so there aren’t any additional fees. If you’re interested in scheduling your upgrade, the best thing to do is contact your Account Manager or email us at support.

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elearning-content-license

If creating and selling eLearning content is your core business, you likely carry around a lot of frustration around lack of license control. You know the pain associated with a loss of revenue because you can’t turn off a client’s access to your training. You spend hours wishing you could uncover just how many learners are using your content so you can properly bill your client.

We have seen this first-hand. Our customer the SANS Institute found that licensed content revenues could increase annually by an estimated 20% if clients were charged accurately for the number of learners who used materials.

Since most of your courses must be SCORM compliant, you likely see no option but to directly provide your clients with proprietary training files. We would guess that your current distribution model looks something like this:

  1. You create eLearning training, likely in a few different standards to account for your different customers’ needs.
  2. You establish licensing terms with your customers, which account for details like how many users can access the content or how long your customer can use your course.
  3. You distribute your training courses to your customer, which they play and track in their own learning platform or LMS.
  4. You contact your client to manage your license; you manually ask if their user count has increased, request they stop using content after a license expired or chase them for payment because they are continuing to use content past their license.

Thankfully, there is a way to manage content licenses. eLearning content distribution solutions allow you to centrally host your content so it can be more easily released, managed and understood. A new formula for success could look like this:

  1. You create training in the eLearning specification that best suits your content and establish licensing terms with customers who use your training.
  2. You upload content into one central location, which automatically serves that content to your customer’s learning platform.
  3. You establish your customer’s license type from various options that allow you to specify terms, users and time.
  4. You restrict access automatically when license terms are met, such as learner count or expiration date, or manually cut off access for non-payment.
  5. You build and protect a recurring revenue stream and waste less time managing contracts. You increase revenue by spending more time identifying sales opportunities and tracking when customers are nearing usage limits so they are encouraged to increase their content licenses.

The SANS Institute has seen a significant increase in revenues by ensuring customers are paying for the right number of learners. They have used eLearning content distribution solution Content Controller, which allows them to centrally host content and deliver it to customers, licensed on their terms.

There are plenty of ways you can use eLearning content distribution solutions to better manage your licenses. We’d be happy to help you figure out the best technical set up for your needs.

 

 

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How can I automatically update my eLearning training content in my customer’s LMS or learning platform?

We hear this question a lot. Whether your training is your primary business offering (say you create and sell web based training courses) or you provide training as part of a larger product offering, you likely spend a good deal of time and energy distributing your training content and making sure each customer has the most up to date version.

We hate to say it, but we’re not surprised. SCORM compliancy is nearly always required for you to share content with any third party system. And while the standard helps ensure compatibility and increase your market, it also makes it incredibly hard to ensure content quality and release updates. Distributing online training content looks like this:

  1. You create training, likely in a few different standards to account for your different customers’ needs.
  2. You hand over your course to your customer, which they play and track in their own learning platform (whether a Learning Management System or Learning Experience Solution).
  3. You make an update to your course and have to ask your customer to update their version.
  4. Your customer manually updates their version and distributes it to their learners.

Well, we like to be the bearer of good news!

Using an eLearning content distribution solution–which allows you to centrally host your content so it can be more easily released, managed and understood–your process could look like this:

  1. You create your training in the eLearning specification that best suits your content.
  2. You release updated versions of your content to one central location, which automatically serves that content to other learning platforms of various customers or brands.
  3. Your customer does not upload any new files into their learning platform/LMS.
  4. Your customers and learners can immediately play the latest version of your training.

The SANS Institute has found success implementing a content distribution solution. Keeping training content up to date was of great importance but very time-consuming. Using Content Controller, they’ve ensured the most current version of content is always served to learners.

The good news is that there are a few ways you can implement eLearning content distribution solutions to best suit your needs. We’re happy to help you figure out how.

 

 

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At ATD 2017 this year, our CEO Tim Martin had a chance to talk about Content as a Service (CaaS). This conference was my first in eLearning, so I was excited to hear how companies are thinking about CaaS (or if they even know what it is). Out of the 125 attendees in Tim’s session 90% were from organizations, 5% were vendors and 5% fit into a category that was neither (or both!). On the organization side, the majority of attendees had more than one LMS and one poor soul had 10 LMSs to contend with in her company.

Tim discussed what Content as a Service is and how it solves the challenges of distributing courses across multiple systems by centralizing content in order to control and better understand the learning experience. (Sidenote: if you’re looking for further resources on CaaS, check out these blog posts). He also had a chance to answer some pretty common questions, such as…

How can an organization better distribute one piece of content to multiple LMSs?

For organizations who distribute content to multiple systems via individual files, content is not traditionally housed and managed in a central location. CaaS allows you to host a course in a single location and create proxy files to share with multiple LMSs that point back to that original course. When you update or edit your course, you edit a single file that is automatically available from each LMS.

What level of reporting is possible with CaaS?

CaaS enables you to see the usage of your content across all of your LMSs. Previously, any usage data or reporting was trapped in each LMS. With CaaS, the content and its corresponding data are centrally housed, allowing you to track both general utilization and deeper reporting like question-level analytics. Remember, reporting is always dictated by the eLearning specification you use.

How can vendors benefit from CaaS?

One of the coolest things about leveraging CaaS to distribute your content is that it empowers you to create unique, relevant experiences suited to specific learners. This is especially powerful for vendors who offer dynamically generated content within their system, which is hard to package and ship to an LMS.

Content as a Service also allows vendors to ensure the highest level of quality by consistently providing access to the latest version of a course. Financially, vendors are able to enforce the content licenses and subscriptions.

How can Content as a Service apply to a instructional designer?

Meet an instructional designer and you’ll quickly understand how passionate they are about creating eLearning content rooted in both design and science. With CaaS, an instructional designer can make sure the user always has the latest, best version of a course. And, they can finally understand how learners are interacting with a course (see reporting details above) so that they can adjust their content accordingly.

How are other businesses using CaaS?

If you’re looking for inspiration, look no further than the SANS Institute, who uses CaaS to help them efficiently manage and understand their eLearning content. If you want to know how Content as a Service can benefit you specifically or if you have a question about how it works, reach out to us.

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