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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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cmi5

Today we’re excited to announce support for a new specification in SCORM Cloud- cmi5, which is something that doesn’t happen all that often in its history. Along with making cmi5 support readily available in SCORM Cloud, we’ve also added support for cmi5 to some of our other products including SCORM Engine and SCORM Driver.

Obviously, supporting a variety of specifications is a huge part of what we do well at Rustici Software. More than anything, though, I think it’s important for us to be conscious of, and to explain well to all of you, when and why we add support for a particular specification.

So, what is cmi5?

cmi5 is technically a profile of xAPI which means it piggy backs on top of things already well defined in xAPI, but adds specificity in others. For cmi5, this means that certain xAPI statements are required, and launch is handled in a very specific way.

For me, it’s the launch piece that’s so important. From xAPI’s advent years ago, there have been issues with launching content. In the earliest days, we at Rustici Software defined a very simple launch specification that several content vendors picked up on. It was good enough for the time being, but it wasn’t really good enough in practice.

So, over the last couple of years, many people including Bill McDonald (as Chair of the working group) and Art Werkenthin and others at RISC have put a lot of energy into considering how their AICC work could be applied to launch in the xAPI world. The result is that we have a good solution for launching content via xAPI.

Why it matters

Years ago, as we at Rustici Software and others around us started evangelizing xAPI, we made some mistakes. We talked about all of the things that could be enabled by xAPI, the things for which it was necessary but not sufficient. Over the last year or two, we’ve really started to fill in the gaps to make it sufficient as well. And while launch isn’t the dreamiest of capabilities for which xAPI is a solution, it is absolutely fundamental.

If content launch is ultimately going to transition from SCORM to xAPI, cmi5’s support for launch will be a requirement. And further, so many other activities actually benefit from having a well defined, implemented, and adopted specification for launch. So for now, we’re excited to share that Cloud now offers vendors and others a great place to test cmi5 based launchable activities. We hope this helps spur the development of many xAPI/cmi5 adopters.

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