In our webinar last week, Joe Donnelly and George Vilches taught you a few new tricks on how to identify problems in your SCORM course. If you missed the discussion or want to rewatch or share with your colleagues, here’s a link to the recording and presentation slides. While their presentation only scratched the surface of the most common issues we’ve seen, we wanted to dig into all the great questions asked during the lively Q&A.

Bookmarking and suspend data

Should a course always have a cmi.core.lesson_location or cmi.location value for someone who has started a course?

Courses don’t have to set a bookmark value, but they should. As your learner progresses through your content, it’s good practice to set a bookmark periodically. Then, when the learner returns, this gives them the opportunity to return to where they left off. While cmi.location is the designated space for bookmarking, your course authoring tool may use the suspend data bucket for this instead, which is also a valid spot.

Course exit behaviors and avoiding loss completion data

For ensuring a smooth exit, would you set a course as completed when a learner reaches 9 out of 10 slides?

Sure thing, this feels like a good suggestion as we definitely like to see a course set completed as early as it makes sense for the course logic. This can help to avoid a learner from closing the course too early and missing out on the completion that has yet to be set and make tracking completion a bit more consistent.

Do you have best practices for pass/fail vs. incomplete in a course?

We’re a big fan of sticking with the default of passed/incomplete. Chances are that if your authoring tools set passed, it will also be set as completed. We’ve even seen some LMS platforms make an assumption that if a learner is passed then they have also completed.

Difficulties when working with multiple vendors

Getting an LMS and content authoring tool to work together to solve a problem isn’t easy. Each one usually just blames the other. Do you have any tips on how to handle this?

This is truly one of the hardest things as we get on the phone with LMS vendors or content creators to support these issues and find ourselves in the middle. Honestly, it comes down to communication in how the situation is handled and everyone understanding that we’re all here to solve a similar problem. It’s important to have the right people in the conversation and know that a SCORM issue is never personal.

Whenever my course doesn’t work in my LMS as expected, I usually just upload to SCORM Cloud to determine whether or not the problem is with the course. Is that a common scenario for you too?

Absolutely and this is when SCORM Cloud’s debugging tools come in handy. Anyone can sign up for a free trial and test content that’s up to a 100MB file size. At the very bottom of the debug log there’s a callout for “Want to share this with someone else? Just send them the URL below.” You can even share this with your LMS or authoring tool vendor to help you diagnose the issues.

Accelerating cmi5 adoption

Do you need pop up windows with cmi5?

SCORM is a javascript specific standard whereas cmi5 uses a different communication strategy. As long as a cmi5 course is launched with a specific URL construction, it automatically corresponds with the LMS for authorization credentials allowing it to play in the context of that same window. This essentially allows an LMS to redirect into a cmi5 course. After the training is complete, the cmi5 course has rules that redirect back into the LMS. cmi5 is designed for the modern browser as it gets rid of all the extra framesets and windows that SCORM relies on.

Not many LMSs support cmi5 today. How do we get them to adopt this new standard?

Good news is that a cmi5 conformance test suite is currently in development and coming out this Fall. The outcome of Project CATAPULT will include a set of course templates similar to our golf SCORM course samples (different topic!) to help you migrate legacy SCORM courses to cmi5. There will also be a content conformance test suite to make sure your cmi5 content works correctly. Additionally, LMS vendors can use cmi5 player test suite to validate that a launching application conforms to the cmi5 specification. While these tools should help vendors add cmi5 support, the best way to help accelerate this adoption is to ask your vendors to add cmi5 support.

We spend a lot of time helping people with the eLearning standards that aren’t customers and likely never will be. We provide free resources on SCORM.com and we’re happy to answer questions when people contact us directly. If you have any questions about the specific complexities in your SCORM content, feel free to submit a support ticket or email us at support@rusticisoftware.com. Or if you have questions about other standards like cmi5 and xAPI, you can always ask us anything.

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