Availability Rules

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Applies to: Starter, Pro, Plus, & Enterprise Plans

Availability rules play a huge role in many different areas of functionality in Absorb LMS: everything from automatic enrollment in a course, to admin user management, to determining whether or not to display a billboard to a learner is based around the same rule-based system. Availability rules can be as simple or complex as you need them to be, and a deeper understanding of how they can be combined will unlock a lot of power in how you make your LMS available to your learners.


Adding Availabilty Rules

By default, when enabling any functionality that uses availability rules, you will not start with any. This is considered the equivalent of all users, and is a perfectly viable rule in itself. However, under many circumstances you may want to add a rule that will target a particular group of users instead. You can do so by clicking ADD RULE:

Each rule is divided up into 3 primary components:

  1. The learner field to be evaluated (also includes custom fields)
  2. The search operator (i.e. how you want to search the field)

  3. The actual value that will pass the rule

In this example we have the following criteria:

Email Address - Ends With - .com

This would include all users with an email address ending with .com. You can see above that this rule matches 60 users in this portal. This rule may be sufficient, but it is also possible to further refine this rule or add additional rules.


AND Rules vs. OR Rules

First and foremost, let's talk a bit about logic. Absorb's availability rules are all built around two main concepts: AND vs. OR. This type of Boolean logic is not limited just to Absorb LMS; it is one of the core building blocks of any software system. Simply put, an AND rule is subtractive: it filters down a large number of results to a smaller amount by adding more and more criteria that all must be met to return a result. On the other hand, an OR rule is additive: it adds more results by extending the criteria to include other groups of results.

These two concepts are implemented in Absorb's availability rules via the REFINE RULE (AND) as well as ADD RULE (OR). If we were to hit REFINE RULE and add a second rule to the one above, we could set something like this up:

In this example we have the following criteria:

Email Address - Ends With - .com
And
Department - And Sub-Departments Of - RBU Online / Management / Desk Staff

This rule further refines our previous rule to only return users that meet both rules. You can see there are 4 users in this portal that both have .com at the end of their email address and are in the Desk Staff department. 

Next, we could hit ADD RULE to add a second rule:

In this example we have the following criteria:

Email Address - Ends With - .com
AND
Department - And Sub-Departments Of - RBU Online / Management / Desk Staff
OR
Department - And Sub-Departments Of - RBU Online / Trainers

The addition of this second rule has now extended the number of matching users. You can see that there are 5 users in this portal that either have .com and are a part of the Desk Staff department or are a part of the Trainers department. The logic is to include users that either meet the first rule and it's 1 additional refinement or the single criteria in the second rule. 

As you can see, these two relatively simple functions can quickly build up a lot of complexity to your rule-based system. A firm grasp of the logic behind them will go a long way in understanding how availability rules can work for you to add much greater versatility in presenting your content to different groups of learners!

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