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I/ITSEC is going to be here before we know it! Rustici Software will be exhibiting again this year–booth 413–and are looking forward to heading to Orlando in November.

If you’re not familiar with I/ITSEC, it’s an incredible conference that showcases the latest training tools and technologies used by various government and military agencies around the world.

Along with seeing all of the amazing innovations within the training and simulation space, we are also excited to participate at I/ITSEC this year given that the DoDI 1322.6 was recently re-issued. We were involved in researching and creating the latest DoDI and are excited about the inclusion of the Experience API within the instruction to further enhance interoperability across learning systems. With the inclusion of xAPI (along with SCORM), we expect many people to have questions on how to best utilize and implement these standards. That’s what we’re here for! If you have questions about the new DoDI and how to implement xAPI (or SCORM), please come by booth 413 and see us.

As exhibitors , we’re also happy to share passes to I/ITSEC. Our pass entitles you to visit the exhibit hall all four days of I/ITSEC. The show takes place in Orlando, FL from November 27 – December 1. If you want a pass, just reach out. We’ll be happy to share!

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Acronym Alert! There will be many referred to in this post.

See glossary below for easy reference.

Two years ago we answered a BAA from ADL to conduct research for updating the DoDI 1322.26- “Development, Management, and Delivery of Distributed Learning.”

Spoiler Alert– ADL accepted our proposal and we were awarded a contract to dig further into what an updated Instruction might look like and how it might be implemented.

Double Spoiler Alert– The updated Instruction, DoDI 1322.26- DISTRIBUTED LEARNING (DL) just received final approval from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

A little more context

Given that the original Instruction was 10 years old and the world of DL had changed dramatically in that time, ADL recognized the need to both modernize the DoDI and understand the impact an updated DoDI would have across both the DoD and the eLearning industry as a whole. The objective of this project was to provide recommendations and edits to the draft, assess implications of the new Instruction and advise on implementation guidelines to help support the roll out of the new Instruction.

Rustici Software came into this from the unique perspective of understanding how our various government and military customers utilize SCORM today and the considerations and impact that adding xAPI to the Instruction would have to these organizations going forward.

We spent a good portion of 2016 working through the updated Instruction, interviewing key stakeholders within the DADLAC, considering policy implications with PIPS and providing guidance on how to manage xAPI conformance testing. The end result was an updated draft of the new DoDI 1322.26 which allows for procurement of various tools and technologies, including xAPI and provides for additional framework around the xAPI specification to ensure conformance and consistency across implementations of the spec.

TL;DR

The old DoDI was specific in directing entities to procure SCORM based eLearning solutions.

The updated DoDI continues to allow for SCORM and encourages “the (implementation of) the Experience Application Programming Interface (xAPI) and associated Learning Record Store capabilities, as practical, to enhance learning data security and interoperability.”

The wrap up

Many folks at Rustici across multiple teams were involved in this BAA- from our lead developers and SCORM technical experts to project managers and account managers.

So, when we heard the great news that the new Instruction had received final approval, we were thrilled. It means a lot to us that the work we did with ADL, PIPS, the DADLAC and others within the community has come to fruition. Even more exciting is that this new Instruction empowers those within the DoD to source the eLearning technologies that meet their needs.

Glossary

ADL: Advanced Distributed Learning
BAA: Broad Agency Announcement
DADLAC: Defense Advanced Distributed Learning Advisory Committee
DL: Distributed Learning
DoD: Department of Defense
DoDI: Department of Defense Instruction
PIPS: Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
SCORM: Sharable Content Object Reference Model
TL;DR: Too long; Didn’t read
xAPI: Experience application programming interface

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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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