Ben’s in the Fold

Posted by: Mike Rustici
Date: January 14, 2010
Categories: Culture, Hiring, Jobs, Our Customers, The Office

 

People often ask us to recommend an LMS for them. We shy away from doing so because we don’t want to pick favorites amongst our clients and potential clients. More significantly though, we really don’t know all that much about the functionality and utility of a particular LMS beyond its SCORM interface.

“Well then,” the inquisitor asks, “who has the best SCORM interface?”. Well duh, our SCORM Engine clients of course.

“Come on,” he presses, “who else is good at this stuff?”. One of the first names that comes to mind has always been SumTotal. That judgement is far from a scientific; we don’t go out and technically audit the details of every LMS’s SCORM implementation. Rather, it is an empirical judgement based on how many problems our content customers report with an LMS. More than that, though, it is the experience in working with the vendor if a problem is found. Are they receptive and supporting? Do they have a pragmatic attitude that leads to collaboratively fixing the problem rather that just passing blame?

Historically, we’ve rarely had to deal with SumTotal problems. That bodes really well for the quality of their implementation. On the few occasions where we have had occasion to iron out a problem, we’ve had the pleasure of working directly with their lead SCORM developer, Ben Clark.

SumTotal is closing its Bellevue development office and sending Ben’s job over to India. When we heard the news, we jumped at the chance to bring him onboard. He accepted and will be starting with us next week!

The guys here often joke that I am “one of the top ten SCORM professionals”, well in my mind, Ben is a fellow “top-tenner”. We’ve worked together on the ADL Technical Working Group for several years and Ben has always impressed me with his insight, knowledge and reason. He’s equally adept at seeing the big picture and navigating the technical weeds.

SCORM is at a crossroads now. It needs to evolve and needs to be improved. There will be a lot of work done at ADL, LETSI and others over the next couple years. We plan to be heavily involved, contributing our time, energy and vision to ensure SCORM’s successful evolution. Ben will be joining me in this effort and should enable us to provide a lot more bandwidth to standards development activities. We’re looking forward to great things to come.