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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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At Rustici Software, we’re lucky to have a slew of great clients doing interesting things with the products we provide. Yes, we solve very specific problems, but, regardless, it’s rare that any two use cases are alike which keeps me constantly engaged (with no shortage of iced coffee, of course) and certainly keeps the sales team and developers on their toes. On even more rare occasions, we have clients like hyperCision who come to us looking for creative ways to provide solutions to the customers they serve. We love a challenge, and we love the audible sigh of relief we hear when we get to say, “Hey, we can fix that for you.”

In the case of hyperCision, a trend was spotted amongst folks struggling to solidify a consistent, responsive eLearning player within SAP’s Learning Solution (LSO). hyperCision, via their HCLabs division, took that challenge head on. How nice of them! Lucky for the both of us, it just so happens we had a solution ready to go in SCORM Engine’s best-in-breed content player. And, thus, Twine was born.

Because everyone knows “if you build it, they will come,” or, more often than not in the world of software, if they come and the timing is right, you will build it, companies like Lockheed Martin found their way to hyperCision and Twine was just the solution they needed [insert aforementioned, audible sigh of relief]. The beauty of Twine is that it’s seamlessly pre-integrated into SAP’s Learning Solution with no up front work required. Thus allowing Lockheed Martin to get back to what’s important, delivering trustworthy learning experiences.

In the case study we bring you this week, you’ll learn that important hurdles for Lockheed Martin to jump were the ability for their learners to play content in a mobile environment and to play xAPI content in a responsive eLearning environment. We don’t want to spoil too much, but Twine was able to save the day yet again. We love the opportunity to share our stories, and hope you’ll enjoy learning more about Lockheed Martin’s use of hyperCision’s Twine as much as we loved telling it.

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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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