This article is meant to provide helpful ways on how to troubleshoot Online Courses when a completion status is not sent to the LMS. Although Absorb is not able to provide specifics on Third-Party Authoring tools, below are some ways clients have rectified specific issues.
Another great reference will be the document attached, Absorb LMS Third-Party Course Authoring Guide 2020. This document provides general information about Absorb LMS and how it interprets data from third-party content, such as e-learning modules, and lists recommended publish settings. The vendor for your Authoring tool will be your best resource for troubleshooting issues within your eLearning courses.
Let's first review how Online Course completions normally work. This is a somewhat generic explanation so it may not be applicable to all Online Course configurations. Also note that we will actually be looking at lesson completion, as the Online Course completion is simply the sum of all of its lessons (i.e. if all lessons in an Online Course are marked complete, the Online Course will also be marked complete).
- A learner starts by selecting Enroll or Start to begin their Online Course. The User is required to complete all lessons included in the Online Course. Lessons can include a SCORM Course, Video, PDF, URL, Survey, Observation Checklist, or Assessment.
- Once the User has completed the Lesson, their overall grade or maybe a quick message indicating they've completed the lesson will display. In the background, lesson information has been saved to the learner's computer regarding their progress and score(if there is one).
- The learner is prompted to exit the lesson, either by closing the window or by selecting an exit button on the slide itself. All the information saved on the learner's computer is sent to our LMS. If this is a Video or SCORM course, this is the information that allows for completion, scoring, etc. so if for any reason this doesn't make it to our LMS we don't have any record for the learner's attempt.
Troubleshooting SCORM Courses
So now that we know how an Online Course completion is supposed to be recorded let's take a look at some of the scenarios that can stop that information from making it to our LMS when an eLearning Course is a Lesson. Some of the scenarios below are related to the course design while some are related to specific learner variables. When trying to troubleshoot your courses always confirm whether the issue is affecting everyone who takes the course of just a few. If it's the former, then the issue is likely related to course design. If it's the latter, you should investigate the specific learner's variables.
- Scenario: Premature closing of the background LMS window (if using SCORM Pop-up).
- Solution: Move away from using popup courses with one of our newer UIs. However, if you are planning to stick with Pop-up courses make sure your learners are aware that they should not close the background window.
- Scenario: The Course Version is not current.
- Solution: Authoring Tools are changing regularly to adapt to browser requirements and updates, so it is important to ensure your courses are published to the latest version. Your authoring tool will have a support page that advises what the latest update was and what changes were made within the update. Courses should reflect the current version.
- Note: Please keep the following in mind when you replace a lesson with existing enrollments:
Complete enrollments will not be required to retake content, but learners may need to be re-enrolled to review the updated content and retake the course.
In Progress, enrollments may require a reset of the learning object/content being taken as the previous suspend/resume data may not be compatible with the new content. Absorb cannot guarantee interactions between old suspend data and new content (i.e. IDs, such as a question ID, created within the course may be changed when republished).
This can lead to bookmarking issues and will require a reset of the learning object, which can be done on the transcript/edit enrollment page.
- Note: Please keep the following in mind when you replace a lesson with existing enrollments:
- Scenario: The learner loses their internet connection.
- Solution: Always confirm that the learner has a stable connection, especially if taking a longer course/exam. If learners are taking the courses in a controlled environment having a fallback internet connection or ensuring they are on a Wired connection is recommended for better stability. If the User loses their internet connection while the course is open, the best practice is to close the course and reopen it. The course should resume where the user left off due to caching techniques used within the process. If this is common throughout your organization, using the Mobile App will allow Users to download all content and take it offline. Once they are online again, the status of the course will sync to the LMS.
- Note: If loss of connectivity happens while in the quiz section of the course, it may cause a disruption in the scoring, which in turn may cause the Completion not to be sent to the LMS.
- Scenario: The learner remains logged into the LMS for an extended period of time.
- Solution: Each learner is granted a 4-hour session from when they initially log in to the LMS. After 4 hours have elapsed their connection to the LMS is terminated and any course progress that has not yet been saved is lost. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that learners are aware of this time limit and to plan accordingly or adjust the Learner Idle Timeout Settings within Portal Settings.
- Scenario: The course does not send the required completion information, or it sends the wrong information.
- Solution: Ensure that your course implements an appropriate reporting method (e.g. results slide, slide view %, etc.) and that it adheres to our course authoring guidelines for your UI.
- Note: SCORM 2004 and Tin Can have the ability to design your course so that it sends a Success Completion status. This status is not supported by Absorb. A Complete status is the only status that will mark the user as Complete in the LMS.
- Scenario: The learner does not meet the completion requirements for the lesson.
- Solution: When authoring a course with a completion requirement such as "90% of slides must be viewed" you must ensure that your course design supports that. That means making sure the ability for learners to skip through slides/videos is disabled.
- Scenario: The learner uses an unsupported browser to access the LMS.
- Solution: Have the learner upgrade to a modern browser. We personally recommend using Google Chrome however later versions of IE (11) are still a significant improvement.
- Scenario: The learner completes all of the lessons in a course, but does not complete a mandatory course evaluation.
- Solution: If you are using mandatory course evaluations the first thing you should check when a learner reports an incomplete course is the status of the evaluation.
- Scenario: The User's score is incorrect.
- Solution: The LMS does not calculate scores. The score would need to be determined when the Course sends data to the LMS.
- Scenario: Security
- Scenario: The Close button on the Course is not working.
- Solution: The scripts within third-party courses cannot close windows that were not opened by the script. Courses are launched in a modal window which is, "owned", by Absorb by default. Because of this, browsers prevent the course from having control of doing whatever it wants, including closing the window. This is a security measure of the browser to prevent malicious scripts from closing your browser window or doing anything else that could harm your computer. In order to circumvent this, you will want to set up your lesson to open as a Popup in Absorb.
- Note: You can identify this configuration by the developer tools available in Chrome when selecting Control F12. The error message displayed in the Network tab is, Scripts may close only the windows that were opened by it.
*SCORM Course Completion Issues using Chromium-based browsers*
- Scenario: The learner completes the course and upon exiting after receiving a grade, the learner does not initially see their progress/score updated on the Learner's interface. If the learner leaves the page and returns or refreshes the page, the correct progress/score will be displayed. This occurs on Chromium-based browsers as a result of a security change implemented by the browser manufacturer in early 2020
- Have the learner refresh the page (Control F5) to display their current progress as it is captured within the LMS.
- Introduce a close button at the end of the course file, and advise the learners to use the close button at the end of the course when completed.
- for more info check: Blocked SCORM Exit Postbacks
Third-Party Course Authoring Tool Support
Prior to loading your SCORM course into the LMS, we recommend creating an account within the SCORM Cloud and testing the content for free. This will provide warnings and any errors regarding interactions and completion statuses being sent from the course to the LMS.
If you require assistance with the building, testing, or maintenance of your training content, please contact the respective course authoring support team.
- Absorb Create Support Team
- Articulate Product Support
- Adobe Captivate Learn & Support
- TechSmith Camtasia Product Support
Important Note: The configurations required for SCORM Dispatch Package Files to fully operate do not meet our security standards. Absorb LMS does not support the usage of dispatch files for third-party e-learning content.
Amazon S3 Storage
In Absorb LMS, Amazon S3 is utilized for file storage of content added to portals via the File Manager or otherwise. When files with the same name are overwritten, the previous version can be cached for up to 24 hours. This can translate to replacement files not appearing for learners immediately after upload. Depending on your organization's needs, it may be preferable to replace the content with files that have a suffix added to the original file name.
For example, if you have a file called request-form.pdf, you may want to upload the same file with a variation on the file name like request-form_v2.pdf. This will avoid the previous file being cached, and allow users to see the new file immediately. It is also recommended that the previous file is deleted to avoid any confusion, aid in troubleshooting, as well as reduce space used.