What is PENS?

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PENSCreating eLearning content can take a long time. You need to carefully research and set learning objectives, collaborate with subject matter experts, gather together your assets, and actually bring everything together into an engaging package.

All of that is a great use of time, since you end up with a quality piece of training content which is sure to drive behavioural change. What isn’t a great use of time however is the act of getting your fantastic piece of eLearning onto your learning management system…

Unfortunately, the act of putting content onto a LMS can often be a cumbersome one. You typically need to download your unit from the external authoring tool you built it in, then navigate to the right area of your LMS and upload it there.

For a single unit this isn’t too much trouble, but if you’re dealing with lots of content then you’re going to spend far too much of your working day going through this process. This is especially true for massive units with lots of videos, which could take an eternity to upload!

Surely there has to be a better way than this?

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PENS

PENSThe answer lies in PENS. You’ll have heard that they’re mightier than the sword but they’re also pretty handy when it comes to shifting eLearning around!

PENS stands for Package Exchange Notification Service. It works in conjunction with eLearning specifications, such as SCORM and AICC, to allow one-click publishing of content to an LMS. For it to work, both the LMS and the authoring tool need to be compatible with PENS.

Without getting too technical, it all starts within your authoring tool. As soon as you hit ‘publish’, the authoring tool sends out a message to your LMS to let it know that it has a special delivery waiting for it. The LMS will then automatically download the package, and let the authoring tool know that it’s received it safe and sound.

It’s easy to see how this hassle-free approach to content publishing can save an enormous amount of time in the long run!

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Authors and LMS Admins

PENSAnother advantage, highlighted by Paul Schneider during his interview with Craig Weiss, comes down to how authors and LMS admins interact.

Without PENS, authors need a certain amount of access to the LMS to upload content, or LMS admins need a certain amount of access to the authoring tool to download it. The alternative solution is for authors to dump content onto Dropbox, for LMS admins to pick up in espionage fashion.

With PENS however, once the author clicks ‘publish’ they can forget about it and get on with their day. The LMS admin will find the content sitting right there on their platform, ready to be pushed out to the learners. It’s simple really!

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Keep an eye out for plenty more entries into our Online Learning Glossary over the coming weeks!

And if you’re looking to put together a massively successful online training programme, then you’ve come to the right place! Download your free Engagement Engine Workbook to map out a strategy which uses gamification, social and personalised learning:

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