AICC Press Release #37

Sugar City, Idaho USA

AICC Approves PENS Specification
to Streamline Publishing of Elearning


Package Exchange Notification Services (PENS) Simplifies Authoring and Deployment

Sugar City, Idaho USA – - The announces a new interoperability specification that makes it easier for content systems and learning management system (LMS) products to cooperate on the staging, transfer and submission of "LMS-ready" packages. The specification simplifies deployment of content for key elearning standards, supporting content packages in both AICC and SCORM content package formats.

The Package Exchange Notification Services (PENS) specification is the result of efforts by a supplier workgroup initiated by Macromedia, Pathlore, Plateau, Questionmark, EMC Documentum, and Recombo. Working together through the AICC CMI Subcommittee, the group aimed to simplify deployment for authors by using well established, familiar technology while at the same time preparing the way for the future evolution of elearning.

“Moving content from one system to another has been an ongoing challenge for learning organizations,” said Anne Montgomery, AICC Technical Coordinator. “The workgroup moved amazingly quickly to develop a specification that many vendors can easily implement to improve the authoring and deployment experience for the elearning community. As a vibrant organization supporting the global training community, the AICC is pleased to support and foster innovations like this.”

Using PENS, a content system notifies the server that a package is available for collection. The content system can be an authoring tool or a content management system. A PENS compatible server then collects and processes the package, which can use existing content packaging formats, such as AICC course interchange files, SCORM 1.2 and SCORM. The PENS server could be a learning management (LMS) or content management server (CMS) system. Finally, as the content is processed, the server can automatically inform the developer or other systems of workflow progress or report any problems via messages which can be sent by HTTP or email.

“The specification provides an important bridge between the authoring process and systems for managing and deployment of content,” said Tom King, workgroup leader and manager of e-learning integration at Macromedia. “PENS is a tremendous enabler for rapid e-learning, offering users true ‘one-click publishing’ of rapid e-learning and simulations to a variety of enterprise systems from different vendors.”

“PENS provides a frictionless way for users to deploy assessments with management systems,” commented Questionmark Chairman John Kleeman. “Learning organizations delivering surveys, quizzes and tests will find PENS useful because it offers real potential for innovative, best-of-breed assessment and learning applications to work together seamlessly.”

Through the workgroup’s rapid prototyping process, several vendors were able to create implementations that are both available now and reflect the requirements of the approved specification. Several PENS systems have already been deployed in production environments.

“PENS will absolutely make life easier for those who create eLearning content,” said Leonard Greenberg, Chief Technology Officer for Pathlore Software Corp.  “Pathlore has released a PENS implementation as open source code to customers and partners that use our XLMS™ Web Services developer’s kit. In fact, Pathlore’s alliance with EMC Corporation makes use of the newly created PENS specification to integrate EMC Documentum’s Enterprise Content Management platform with Pathlore’s learning management suite.”

About PENS:

AICC publishes AGR-011 which recommends support of the PENS specification in authoring, content and learning management systems. The full PENS specification is available in AICC Document “CMI-010 Guidelines for Package Exchange Notification Services.” Both the AGR-011 and the CMI-010 documents are available free of charge from at the AICC website in the publications area.

About the AICC:

The AICC exists to provide and promote information, guidelines, and standards that result in the cost-effective implementation of CBT for the commercial aviation industry. the AICC is made up of a wide variety of industry representatives from airframe and engine manufacturers, CBT tool developers, CBT content producers, and airlines. Current members include: Airbus Industrie; Alteon Training; Boeing Integrated Defense Systems; Bombardier; EEDO Knowledgeware; Federal Aviation Administration; FlightSafety Boeing; Hitachi; Honeywell; Jeppesen Sanderson; Macromedia; Matsushita; NWA; One-Touch Systems; Pathlore; Plateau; Pratt and Whitney; Rockwell-Collins; RMS Systems; Sony Transcom; Transport Canada; United Airlines; Vital Learning; and many others. New members are always welcome. Meetings are held three times a year.

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