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Today on the xAPI working group call, ADL shared some news about their funding over the next 12 months. We’ve discussed this in more detail at experienceapi.com (because it has more impact there), but wanted to share a SCORM specific perspective here.

ADL continues to house information about SCORM on their websites, and it’s still the best place to go to understand the state of SCORM adoption and certification. It will continue to be the best place for that.

SCORM isn’t evolving much these days. It’s a solution to a narrow problem that works pretty well for most of its users. If I had to guess, I would bet that about 1% of ADL’s attention goes to SCORM. Whether that attention goes to zero or not, SCORM will continue to be a massively adopted solution to a problem millions of people have… delivering content and reporting results in an LMS.

If you have questions about SCORM, or want to adopt it, Rustici Software is still the best place to get started. Let us know if we can help you.

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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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cdn-content-distribution-network

Occasionally, our customers have run into problems that need to be solved by placing their learning content… somewhere far away from their LMS. Folks in the eLearning industry know that this has historically been a sore spot for SCORM. Over the years, we’ve helped our customers solve these problems with SDXD or Central / Remote when possible. However, over the last few years we’ve seen an ever growing need to make our SCORM solutions work for customers who need to use a Content Distribution Network (CDN) to deliver learning content.

Why, and when, do LMSs need to use a CDN? The short version: using a CDN allows LMSs to put high bandwidth web assets closer to the learner in order to reduce the time it takes for learners to download and view courses. If you host your LMS in the U.S. but serve a global population, this is a capability you’ll want to investigate further. Using a CDN can help because it allows your customers in remote locations to load your eLearning content from a location in their own geographic region.

Our old solutions were great for solving a variety of problems but weren’t very helpful for customers who wanted to make use of modern, commercialized CDN solutions. To address this need, we spent the last six months developing two different ways in which customers can use our SCORM Engine solution in a CDN. SCORM Engine 2017.1 includes integrated support for Amazon’s S3 content storage and Amazon CloudFront. This support is built right in and can be easily configured during installation or upgrade for customers using AWS as their hosting provider.

To help customers who use other CDN solutions, like Microsoft Azure, Akamai, Rackspace or something else entirely, we’ve re-architected the way our client-side SCORM implementation works. These changes enable customers to host our JavaScript files on the same CDN they use for hosting their content files. The client side files will then be delivered by that same CDN. Enabling you to move your courseware closer to your learners.

You can check out the technical documentation for SCORM Engine 2017.1 here.

Reach out to us if you want to learn more or would like to schedule an upgrade: support@scorm.com.

 

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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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