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LMS Integration With Content Vendors

Apr 1, 2019 10:30:00 AM

smeWhen it comes to creating impactful training courses nothing beats a subject matter expert (SME) together with her requisite knowledge, resources, connections teamed with a top-notch learning management system. The resulting courses are most often engaging, focused, and relevant. The courses reflect his understanding of the needs of your organization, the details the impact the information and tasks included in the materials.

But what if you need to provide training on more generic tasks like Introduction to Microsoft Excel or HIIPA? Or, what if you need to provide training on a particular subject, but lack a SME to create and manage the course content? An easy solution is to team up with a third party, off-the-shelf provider of training material, like Skillsoft.

These third-party content providers usually provide a catalog of course offerings for you to choose from. The content is bundled into AICC or SCORM format.

What do those acronyms mean, you ask? I’ve been using those terms for 20 years but just looked them up again only to be reminded of their inanity. To demonstrate, pop quiz time! Does SCORM stand for? a) Shareable Content Object Reference Model or b) Should Chris Order Remy Martin? or c) Standardized Courses Official Remunerative Method.
How about AICC? Is it a) Aviation Industry CBT Committee or b) Armagnac Is Chris’ Choice or c) Accelerated Integration of Computer-based Courses. Worry not, answers at the end.

Well I do digress. AICC and SCORM courses allow the content to be shared across many platforms or learning management systems, more specifically. Similar to how a PDF can be read on an Apple device, PC or Android seamlessly.

Regardless of the format, each course will correspond to one zip file. So, if you order 10 courses, you’ll have 10 zip files which can be manually loaded into the LMS in minutes. If you order hundreds of courses, most vendors have a process to automatically load the courses into your training environment.

When you purchase a course your zip file will either contain all materials intact (old school – like when you watch a movie using via a DVD) or your zip file will contain just the stub of a course (yes, stubs can be hip – like streaming a movie from Netflix or Amazon). The latter approach is preferred, as unbeknownst to the trainee, the stub attaches to the third-party provider to stream the content directly.

Why should you care which method is used? Because when the content is streamed from the third party server, the content can be maintained, updated, or refreshed whenever necessary – WITH NO ACTION REQUIRED ON YOUR PART. Using the old school approach, when the content is updated, you need to replace the old course with the new. Not a massive deal but who needs the hassle?

And last, but not least, answers to the pop-quiz: response B to both questions of our quiz, while tempting, are incorrect. A is the pedantic response to both.

Thanks for reading and A Votre Sante!

C Prah
Written by C Prah

Programmer, elearning expert, client services director.

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