Case study

DDL SCORM-compliant eLearning Portal

Derivatives Documentation Limited ("DDL") was founded in 1996. As an industry leader, DDL delivers negotiation of securities legal training and documentation, serving banks, financial institutions and corporate clients in Europe and the Middle East.

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Back in 2008, 2015 and then 2021

2008 seems like such a long time ago now but it's when we started working with DDL and built their original web site  and eLearning portal. Within six months of launch, the original project paid for itself from online training course fees and the demand grew significantly for more online courses over the following years.

In 2015, we recommended developing the tools to integrate Adobe Captivate and the xAPI (formerly the Tin-Can API) to generate SCORM-compliant courses that could be added to our existing platform1, alongside more sophisticated reporting and security provision. This provided DDL with more scope for creativity, question-based sections with branching and learner-interactivity. However, SCORM is only a presentational mechanism and it's complex. So we needed to integrate this with multiple technologies and develop major extensions to the portal for user administration control and course reporting systems.

In summer 2021, we completed a project to migrate the entire system to a new hosting platform and modernised DDL's site design.

Later in 2020 this would supersede all the original Flash-based courses when Flash was retired by Adobe.

The objective

Extend the capability of our original learning platform to deliver new, content managed SCORM-compliant e-learning courses to all of the leading banks and trading organisations worldwide. Ensure that management of accounts, users, scoring, course publication, version control and the tools to market the course are as capable and intuitive to use as possible

Our approach

We used our proven approach - Leveraging the best technologies, innovating and making the technology components play nicely with each other. Then delivering the solution with exemplary training and support to ensure a smooth handover and ongoing resilience and extensibility. For a more detailed description of our approach, please see the section below

The outcome

Over the years DDL have added dozens of industry-leading courses to our portal and sold these courses to literally hundreds of organisations and thousands of users, including all of the world's leading banks. We are very proud to be the technological and support vehicle for this success

Planning and attention to detail

This technically complex project was delivered to a £35k budget on time and to specification. Since launch in 2015, this aspect of our work has required no changes whatsoever and courses are delivered worldwide on a daily basis!

It's all about getting the planning and software/visual design pre-work right!

Support tasks and documentation

Using very powerful tools like Adobe Captivate, xAPI and building a SCORM-compliant platform is highly complex - building compatibility between them was the largest task involved in the project.

But then, what about the client, who will have to use these tools and understand the many-faceted options and export modes for content and user-scoring, etc. Well, we made all of this as easy and seamless as possible, even providing small documents like the one shown to the right that explains, step-by-step, the course publication model process from Captivate to our AI platform.

Our documented approach in more detail

Here's an extract from our initial proposal to give an example of our approach...

The key elements of the project are as follows:

Identify that Adobe Captivate, via use of the SCORM or Tin-Can API, can export courses that will execute successfully within an extended version of your existing logged-in elearning framework:

  • Build a demo Captivate course with multiple tests/question sections
  • Export this to HTML5 alongside the relevant API and related options, including animations using Adobe Edge
  • Build a prototype of the new learning portal framework to manage the execution of this course (alongside being able to still run the old courses) and read/write data to the existing database for user’s progress and answers. Ensure course management and user data are read/written in the same formats as existing courses, this will minimise the costs and mitigate risk associated with changes being required elsewhere in the DDL portal, i.e. course allocation, expiration and reporting can remain unchanged
  • We will also extend the existing DDL Portal (the logged-in area for course access and reports) to be Responsively designed across all devices and browsers

Identify the most effective means to migrate the majority (if not all) of DDL’s existing AI v1.0-based training modules to Captivate, presently, investigation has shown that options exist for achieving this:

  • Write a dedicated program to read course and XML slide data from the existing AI database tables and export these data into a SCORM v1.2+ format or to the native Adobe Captivate XML format to populate the majority of the course content. This would still necessitate manual reviews of all course content for final verification
  • Our AI system allows for embedding of Flash, Edge and Audio files, Captivate versions of these may need to be created or manually imported. However, Flash will not work on Apple’s mobile/tablet devices, so the best approach here is to re-code these elements (as most are quite simple) using Javascript and the built-in animation tools within Captivate
  • Whichever method is used to populate the course content, some custom Javascript (controls) will need to be written and embedded to mimic behaviours of the existing courses, e.g. jump back to training slide on erroneous answer, etc
  • We will build a range of Captivate templates for the new content to be presented against; these templates will include elements for the range of content types in DDL’s existing courses

Another 'Goldilocks' Project

You may not need a SCORM-compliant elearning platform - we'd certainly never built one before!

We've learnt a lot from building this solution and many pedagogical solutions since, for OMRON, Barclaycard, The Money Advice Trust, Webtec among others.

But the point here is that it's another great example of an S-Digital solution to a complex problem - not too 'anything' - just the right feature set - just so easy to manage and use - right on the money in terms of costs and schedule.

Another sweetspot in our history and still delivering daily...

  •  A serious revenue engine for DDL
  •  A great solution to a complex problem
  •  A limitless system with minimal maintenance costs
  •  A new web site and email marketing solution
  •  A cost-effective tool for financial organisations to gain accreditations
  •  A flexible SCORM-compliant solution