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We recently started a large project to update the content and modernize the user experience across, and Yep, it’s a pretty big endeavor and you’ll hear more from us about it as we get closer to launching the new sites. So, don’t panic! You’ll still have access to all of this great content, hopefully in a much improved, easier to digest format.

During this process, we’ve discovered this: the definition of roles within the eLearning industry are not as clear cut as they once were. Traditionally in the world of eLearning you would likely fall into one of three categories: Content Creator, LMS Provider or Customer (of an LMS Provider or Content Creator). But things have changed. With greater demand for customized learning experiences, an increased interest in extended enterprise training and content specific platforms on the rise, the roles of Content, Platform and Customer have gotten pretty blurry.

Then vs. Now


Content creators might rely solely on their customer provided LMS as the delivery mechanism for connecting learners to courses. In most cases the content creator would hand off fully packaged courses (as a SCORM file) to a customer who would then run them through their LMS. Primary goal? CREATE content.

LMS providers focused on the user management side of the equation, ensuring assignment and reporting functionality. For the most part, they relied on content being provided by their customers. Primary goal? PLAY content.

Customers provided the content they wanted to deliver to their employees/learners. And the LMS would provide the system to manage those learners and track course usage. Primary goal? TRAIN employees.


Content creators are discovering that the best way to experience their courses might not always be easy to package up and send off to a third party system. Dynamically generated courses, database driven content and media rich assets make great content but it’s not that easy to package those things up. So rather than handing off courses to their learners, they are bringing learners to their courses, allowing them to fully control the learner experience. New goal? CREATE + PLAY + DISTRIBUTE content.

LMSs are bringing more to the table than just the platform. Rich course catalogs (whether created in house or acquired through partnerships) are the norm these days, leading to more specialized learning platforms targeting specific audiences and industries. New goal? PLAY + DISTRIBUTE content.

Customers are no longer just consumers of content; we see more companies getting into the extended enterprise space. Customers are increasing their focus on content, investing more time and money into delivering customer and/or partner training online. Suddenly customers are now content creators. New goal? TRAIN employees + CREATE content + DISTRIBUTE content.

While it’s exciting to see how the roles are getting redefined, it definitely adds some complexity to the site redesign. So, stay tuned! And along the way we’ll keep you in the loop on our progress. Better yet–let us know which circle you think you fall into.

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Most eLearning content providers send their courses off into the world with no ability to manage them once released. Content Controller lets you centrally host your content so you can automatically make updates, gain insight into usage and enforce licenses. And in Content Controller v2.0, we’ve updated the user interface so that managing your licenses, courses and accounts is even easier.

Latest features like tagging and search help you efficiently organize content and manage your growing course catalog. Our updates to licenses let you seamlessly assign license types, view history and renew licenses to reflect your growing client list.

So, without any further ado, here are the highlights.

New Features in Content Controller v2.0



Course Bundles

Combine courses into a bundle that is licensed as a single unit in order to save time setting up licenses. For example, create a “Gold” bundle that includes every course in your catalog. Or create a “Golf” bundle that includes golf-related courses. Then, associate bundles with licenses to quickly apply license terms and easily deliver the bundle to customers in a single file.

License Templates

Use license templates to create and save licenses you enforce across multiple accounts and content. If you consistently sell a “One Year or 10,000 Learners” license, you can create a license type that allows access for up to one year or 10,000 learners. Create the license type once and assign it to multiple accounts, saving you the trouble of having to create those same limits every time you set up an account. Any licenses you created in v1.0 will still apply.

License Renewals

Use renewals to ensure your client always maintains access and never experiences down time. Set accounts and content to automatically or manually renew into existing license terms or into new license terms. Easily view license history to see how a client’s usage has evolved over time.

License Extensions

Access license settings in order to edit individual license limits within an account or content. Support client extensions by simply increasing access granted within an existing license.

Alert Emails

Set up your internal team with alert emails that notify you of accounts that are approaching or have exceeded license limits. Use alerts to inspire client conversations supporting renewals or up-sells.

Tagging and Search

Manage your content library quickly and efficiently. Tag courses to reflect your internal organizational structure. Then, search content by user-applied tags or course name. Content search makes search simple by including auto-completions for tags and course names.

Bulk Operations

Select tens or hundreds of courses, equivalents and licensing bundles at once using Content Controller’s improved UI flow along with tagging and search. Then, assign selections to an account with just one click.


Support cmi5, using Content Controller’s latest cmi5 import feature. Then, make it available to LMSs that support SCORM or AICC.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about the benefits of Content Controller or upgrading your version to 2.0? Get in touch! We’d love to talk about how you can more effectively manage your content.

Want to learn more about how each feature works? Check out our Knowledge Base. While you’re there, you can also check out a full list of what is included in Content Controller v2.0.




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Rustici Software awarded CLO Award

We are thrilled to share that Chief Learning Officer (CLO) magazine announced the winners of the 2017 Learning in Practice Awards and Rustici Software won a Bronze Award for Excellence in Technology Innovation! Our submission recognized the work the SANS Institute has done using Content Controller to update their content distribution strategy. We are very thankful they allowed us to highlight their story and thrilled to consider these industry leaders our clients.

The SANS story

SANS’s use of Content Controller is an interesting story in and of its own, which we have explored in the SANS Content Controller case study. But to submit the award we also dug into the overall landscape. The difference between what SANS is doing to distribute content and what the industry has historically done is pretty staggering.

The Learning Management System (LMS) marketplace is expected to be valued at $7B/year by 2018 and is primarily split into two deployment models: on-premise and SaaS. LMSs have been supporting off-the-shelf eLearning content via third-party content providers since 1997. The model may appear simple: content providers license (for a certain number of users usually) courses to client who then access content via their own LMS. But this twenty-year old model has inherent flaws: content creators have found a lack of license control, a risk of inaccurate content, multi-language pain and a lack of data regarding course engagement.

The SANS Institute has solved these traditional challenges by shifting their distribution model. Using Content Controller, SANS centrally hosts their content to easily deliver the latest, most accurate content to learners and streamline their license admin. They’ve seen a 90% reduction in time spent updating existing content, saving $100K in employee costs per year. If you want to learn more about their story, check out the SANS case study.

Celebrating other clients who won CLO awards

In addition to our win, we were pleased to see that a number of other Rustici clients were also CLO award winners. The Learning in Practice Awards celebrate those who have crafted new and innovative education initiatives. Booz Allen Hamilton won A Silver Business Partnership Award and their Director, David Sylvester, won a Gold Trailblazer Award. Our client Grovo won a Bronze Excellence in eLearning award. Hats off to them!

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If creating and selling eLearning content is your core business, you likely carry around a lot of frustration around lack of license control. You know the pain associated with a loss of revenue because you can’t turn off a client’s access to your training. You spend hours wishing you could uncover just how many learners are using your content so you can properly bill your client.

We have seen this first-hand. Our customer the SANS Institute found that licensed content revenues could increase annually by an estimated 20% if clients were charged accurately for the number of learners who used materials.

Since most of your courses must be SCORM compliant, you likely see no option but to directly provide your clients with proprietary training files. We would guess that your current distribution model looks something like this:

  1. You create eLearning training, likely in a few different standards to account for your different customers’ needs.
  2. You establish licensing terms with your customers, which account for details like how many users can access the content or how long your customer can use your course.
  3. You distribute your training courses to your customer, which they play and track in their own learning platform or LMS.
  4. You contact your client to manage your license; you manually ask if their user count has increased, request they stop using content after a license expired or chase them for payment because they are continuing to use content past their license.

Thankfully, there is a way to manage content licenses. eLearning content distribution solutions allow you to centrally host your content so it can be more easily released, managed and understood. A new formula for success could look like this:

  1. You create training in the eLearning specification that best suits your content and establish licensing terms with customers who use your training.
  2. You upload content into one central location, which automatically serves that content to your customer’s learning platform.
  3. You establish your customer’s license type from various options that allow you to specify terms, users and time.
  4. You restrict access automatically when license terms are met, such as learner count or expiration date, or manually cut off access for non-payment.
  5. You build and protect a recurring revenue stream and waste less time managing contracts. You increase revenue by spending more time identifying sales opportunities and tracking when customers are nearing usage limits so they are encouraged to increase their content licenses.

The SANS Institute has seen a significant increase in revenues by ensuring customers are paying for the right number of learners. They have used eLearning content distribution solution Content Controller, which allows them to centrally host content and deliver it to customers, licensed on their terms.

There are plenty of ways you can use eLearning content distribution solutions to better manage your licenses. We’d be happy to help you figure out the best technical set up for your needs.



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You may have noticed some new terms we’ve been using around here to describe some of the problems our software helps to solve when it comes to distributing eLearning content. Over the years, we have described our solutions as Cross Domain, Dispatch and more recently, Content Controller. While these are specific products that help solve the problem, we want to better describe the problem at hand, and a solution to help you get there.

In a not-so-small nutshell, we’re talking about the ability to host content and share access to courses with your customers (internal or external) rather than more traditional distribution models which require content providers to deliver the entire course package to customers. There are some nuances here which are important to point out.

  • Share access- allowing customers to take your courses on terms you control because the content remains in your possession
  • Deliver the entire course package– giving the content (in its entirety) to customers, ultimately giving up the ability to manage that content after the hand off

Some background
For content providers to distribute their courses with clients and other 3rd parties, a standard like SCORM usually comes into play. Sparing you the technical details, this typically entails delivering the entire course package to a customer who then must host and manage that content.Whether it’s keeping up with updates to the course or keeping track of license compliance, the customer has a lot of work ahead of them managing those courses. And the content provider has little control of that course once it’s handed off.

How we talk about it
We started down the path of Content as a Service and Training as a Service, but quickly realized that these imply other types of solutions that CMSs (think WordPress) tend to provide and it became confusing for what we’re really talking about. A few more iterations have led us to a term we think better represents what we’re tackling for the eLearning industry. Wait for it….

eLearning Content Distribution Solutions. While it’s not the catchiest title ever, it’s more accurate than any -aaS or other phraseology.

So when you hear and see us talking about eLearning Content Distribution, it’s really just a shorthand way for us to refer to all of the above- sharing access to your content across a wide variety of platforms, while retaining ownership of both the user experience and your best asset- your learning content.

Questions or thoughts on the way we talk about it? Let us know. Most importantly, we want to hear about the challenges you have when it comes to distributing your eLearning content and find the best way to tackle that problem.

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