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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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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)”.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.50.30 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2016-08-09 at 11.50.55 AM

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.

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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.

ContentController

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.

Tim

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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”.

Brandon Hall Group Awards Tin Can API Watershed LRS SCORM Engine

more…

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