Extending Your Training Enterprise
If you follow this column, you will know that the Accord LMS is ideally suited to serve extended enterprise environments. The Accord LMS was specifically designed to support disparate learner cohorts. Our hierarchical Teams model supports multiple cohorts, each having unique admins, content and Learning Roles. When using Teams, it is a simple matter to have distinct Teams dedicated towards different customers, distributors, dealerships, franchisees and so on. This solution is very effective for many B2B relationships. Users logging into the Accord LMS will have customized learner experiences and tailored administrative permissions. What if the customer already uses their own Learning Management System and prefers having your valuable content hosted in their system?
Sending SCORM Files to Customers
One easy method to address this situation is to send a SCORM package, in the form of a compressed .ZIP file, to your customers. This will allow the customer to load this content into their own SCORM compliant LMS. One shortcoming when using this approach is that the SCORM publisher loses the ability to manage their content product.
Risks of Distributing SCORM Files
- Once a SCORM file is out 'in the wild', there is nothing to prevent this file from being shared beyond the intended customer.
- It is difficult or impossible to update content to correct errors and update information.
- It is difficult or impossible to retire offerings when the material becomes obsolete.
- It is difficult or impossible to manage licensing details, such as how long the course is available or numbers of authorized learners.
WHAT IS SCORM?
SCORM is an acronym for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. SCORM defines a specific way of constructing Learning Management Systems (LMS's) and training content so that they work well with other SCORM conformant systems. SCORM is a really powerful tool for anyone involved in online, computer based training, distance learning or eLearning. Content can be created once and then used in many different systems and situations without modification. This plug-and-play functionality can be powerful enough within a given organization, but even more-so when applied across numerous organizations. Content can be sold and delivered to the user more quickly, more effectively and at a lower price.
What is a SCO?
A Sharable Content Object (SCO) is the most granular piece of training in the SCORM world. Some might call this a module or a course. SCOs are usually packaged as a compressed .Zip file which can be loaded into any SCORM compliant LMS.
Remote SCO: A Better Solution
Remote SCO enables the Accord LMS to offer a better solution by allowing your customers to assign, manage and report on your course without their learners or administrators needing to leave their own SCORM Compliant LMS.
As a broad overview, we can consider the Remote SCO solution as having three steps.
Step 1: An Accord LMS SCO Learning Element is created and designated as a Remote SCO Host. This Learning Element is associated with selected customers and Remote SCO files are exported. Each Remote SCO file can only be used in the LMS that was designated for this unique customer. It cannot be shared with any other LMS.
Step 2: The customer loads this .zip file into their LMS just as any other SCORM module. From their perspective, this is exactly what it is.
Step 3: When a learner using an external LMS launches this content, a session is established with the Accord LMS in the background. Though the learner is unaware of this connection, it will supply your learning content to them as a learner using your Accord LMS.
One Remote SCO Host Learning Element can support many of your customers. Each customer will have their own Remote SCO file which works only in their LMS. Furthermore, each customer will have their own utilization limits. The Accord LMS Host system will be able to set and update a user limit count, as well as a time frame in which the content is available. Updates made to the Host will be automatically available to the customer. Any modifications to utilization limits can automatically extend or curtail access, as determined by Accord LMS Admins.
Configuring Remote SCO
Before configuring Remote SCO, Accord clients will need to have the SSO module installed. Please contact our sales department for further details on this step.
Once Remote SCO is configured on the system, there are a few steps when setting up customers.
- Create a Team for each customer utilizing your LMS
- Create a SCORM Learning Element for your content
- Configure license details for your Learning Element
- Export the Remote SCO file and deliver it to your customer
- Manage License from the Accord Configuration Page
The following example will walk through the process of distributing a Remote SCO file to a customer.
Create a Team for a Customer
Create a Team for each customer. You might want to create a Master Customer Team and then create each unique customer as a Child Team under this Team hierarchy. For more information on Creating Teams, please see Accord online help documentation related to Teams.
When Remote SCO is activated in your Accord LMS, the Team Details panel has a section called Remote SCO. Select 'Enable Remote SCO' in any client Team receiving Remote SCO Files.
After enabling the Remote SCO, provide the Remote LMS URL.
IMPORTANT: This will be the URL that the customer’s LMS will use to access content. In some Learning Management Systems the content is on a separate URL from the main LMS application.
Configure a SCORM LE
Create and test the SCORM LE in your Accord LMS Catalog. Once you have confirmed that the Learning Element is working to your satisfaction, open LE Details to create a Remote SCO file for your client.
- Select a Team from the list of available Remote SCO enabled teams. You can repeat this process to create Remote SCO files for multiple teams.
- Populate the Maximum Completions and Expiration Date. These values can be modified later as needed.
- Click the Create Button.
- After creation, the Create Button becomes a Download Button. Click Download to export a .zip file which can be sent to your customer.
Important note: After creating a Remote SCO entry for a specific Learning Element, you will no longer be able to modify the settings from the catalog’s Learner Details. That can be accomplished from the Management User Interface as described below.
Import and Test
Your client can upload the Remote SCO file that was created using their LMS's normal procedure. From their perspective this should not appear any different than any other SCORM object imported to their LMS.
When Remote SCO is enabled in an Accord LMS, a new Remote SCO option appears in the Configuration Menu. This will list all Remote SCO enabled teams along with total current Wrappers (Remote SCO Files), Max Completions, Current Completions and In Progress Learners.
Clicking on a listed team will drill-in to a list of all current Learning Elements licensed to that client and provides the option to edit the current expiration date and number of allowed completions.
Sharing your valuable training content can be risky. It is very easy to lose control of monetization, updates and sunsetting old content. Accord LMS provides the necessary tools to get your content into the hands of your customers without removing it from your LMS. For more information on this functionality, please view our Remote SCO webinar or contact your sales team.