Getting Started with Absorb Learn Mobile (Beta)

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Introduction

This article outlines what you need to get started with the beta release of the Absorb Learn mobile app, which is now available by invitation for iOS and Android devices.  Once you have configured your portal and applicable courses, the beta release of Absorb Learn will include:

  • Access from both iOS and Android devices, including phones and larger screen iPads and tablets.
  • Branding consistent with your web Learner Experience - When the learner enters their LMS portal URL, the department-specific branding, logo and a handful of highlight & status colors will appear in the app.
  • Single Sign On (SSO) support  - We have established support for learner's to sign in:
    • Through your Service Provider Initiated SAML SSO settings configured in the web LMS for a particular department route/URL, or
    • By entering LMS URL and typical username/password credentials.
  • A browsable catalog of courses and curricula that are mobile-friendly
  • Offline/Online Learning - After you have downloaded a course or curriculum, anything you will be able to do in offline mode, you will also be able to do with connectivity (which will immediately synchronize progress to the web LMS rather than being delayed in the case of offline).
  • Lesson content supported for the beta release:
    • File-based Object (e.g. PDF, DOCX, XLSX, etc.) lessons, regardless of whether housed in or outside the LMS
    • File-based Video (e.g. MP4) lessons, regardless of whether housed in or outside the LMS
    • SCORM 1.2 & 2004 lessons, and
    • TinCan/xAPI (Online only for beta) lessons

 

Portal & Course Configuration

Enable Mobile App

You will need to first enable access for the Absorb Learn mobile app to your LMS portal by following these steps:

  • As a System Admin, login to the web LMS and navigate to Portal Settings
  • Under the Info tab, scroll down and turn the Enable Mobile App toggle to ON

Create High Definition Logo

Then, you will need to follow these steps to create a mobile high-definition logo:

  • As a System Admin, login to the web LMS and navigate to Setup > Templates
  • Select a Department and click Edit
  • Navigate to the Settings tab and click Logo
  • In addition to the Header Logo, upload a higher-definition image (Suggested size 1240 x 624 px and 600 KB max size) for the Mobile App Logo.
  • Then click Save.      

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Enable Course Visibility and Ability to Download Course Content

You will then need to follow the steps below to enable the course visibility and ability to download the course content for each course. 

(Please note:  As outlined in the Introduction, only file-based Object, file-based Video, SCORM, and TinCan lesson objects are supported for the mobile app.)

  • As an Admin, login and navigate to Courses
  • Create/edit an online course or curriculum that is mobile-compatible
  • Under the More tab, toggle Enable for Mobile App to ON, which will make the course visible to learners in the Absorb Learn mobile app
  • Under the More tab, toggle Allow Course Content Download to ON to make the course or curriculum lesson downloadable to a learner’s mobile device for offline use.

(Note: The Mobile Companion Download toggle under the More tab is not required for the new mobile app.  This toggle is for the previous generation of the mobile app.)

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  • Then Click Save.

When clicking Save, errors may be displayed for any lesson content that is not supported in the mobile app such as below.               

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You can remove that lesson content, or you may choose to not make this course available for the mobile app by turning the Enable for Mobile app toggle OFF.  Click Save again.

Warnings may also be displayed for any course requirements that are not supported in the beta release of the mobile app due to their complex nature such as below.

mobile_app_4.png 

You can remove the prerequisite, ignore the warning and allow learners to complete prerequisites in the web LMS prior to taking the course in the mobile app, or you may choose to not make this course compatible with the mobile app by turning the Enable for Mobile app toggle OFF and click Save again.

Enable Optional SSO Settings

As outlined in the Introduction, we have established support for tapping into Service Provider Initiated SAML SSO settings configured in the web LMS for a particular department route/URL.  Therefore, if you want your learners to use SSO with the mobile app, the System Admin must:

  • Login and navigate to Portal Settings > Manage SSO Settings
  • Configure an SSO setting with Method of SAML, Mode of Service Provider Initiated, along with other required fields including:
    • Login URL, being the URL of your organization’s cloud-based Identity Provider
    • Assigned Routes, being an alternative route for your LMS that your learners will use to access the LMS via SSO
    • See Incoming SAML Single Sign-On for more details on configuring Server Provider Initiated SAML SSO.
  • Click Save.

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App Start-up & Learner Login

After launching the mobile app, the first step for a learner is to enter the URL of their learner portal.   As outlined in the Introduction, we have support for two workflows, SSO or entering username/password credentials. We have defined the steps for both login methods below.

SSO Login 

  • If your LMS portal has been configured with a Service Provider Initiated SAML SSO and route, the learner will enter that URL in the following screen.

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  • The learner will click Next and will be redirected to your organization’s cloud-based identity provider (idP), such as the OneLogin example below.

app_7.png

  • The learner will enter their credentials in your organization’s cloud idP and then will then be redirected back to the mobile app’s My Courses & Catalog.

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Username / Password Login 

  • If your LMS portal is configured to require a learner to enter a username & password, then the learner will enter that URL in the following screen.

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  • The learner will click Next and will be presented with the Login screen.

  app8.png

  • The learner will enter LMS username and password, click Login, and they will then be able to access My Courses & Catalog.

mobile_app_5.png 

Please see Troubleshooting for more details that a learner might experience during the app start-up & login workflow.

Troubleshooting

  • Symptom: When logging into the Absorb Learn mobile app, a learner has entered the correct username and password, and receives the following error message: “Access Denied.  Please contact your LMS administrator.”
    • Likely cause:  System Admin needs to turn ON the Enable Mobile App setting for the portal.
  • Symptom: [iOS only] When logging into the Absorb Learn mobile app, a learner has entered the correct username and password, and receives the following error message: “An unexpected error has occurred.  Please contact your LMS administrator.”
    • Likely cause: System Admin needs to add a default Language for this learner on the Edit User>Details tab.
  • Symptom: A learner is viewing the Catalog of the Absorb Learn mobile app yet there are no courses available.
    • Likely cause:  System Admin needs to turn on the Enable for Mobile App  setting for mobile-compatible courses or curriculum (in addition to setting the appropriate availability rules.)

Known Issues

Issues include:

  • [iOS only] Course Details are shifted to the right which truncates icons and progress percentage - We are aware that truncation is occurring on some iOS devices due to different screen sizes, and we are investigating solutions to these issues.

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  • [Android only] Playing private video lessons - If a course has a Video lesson that is stored in the LMS as a Private Course File, then it presently cannot be played from the Android app.  We will have a fix for this during beta.

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         At the present time, workarounds include:

    • Test with a video stored in Public Files, or
    • Download the course and play the video offline without connectivity.
  • Synchronizing course progress - Given a learner will be able to download a course to a mobile device and go offline to make progress on the course, there are conflicting use cases such as:
    • an administrator deleting a lesson or un-enrolling the learner, or 
    • a learner attempting to make progress on the same course within the web Learner Experience 

These will result in conflicts when the mobile learner restores connectivity and attempts to synchronize progress on the course.

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We are aware of these synchronization issues, and we are working on improvements to handle these use cases at least as gracefully as the web Learner Experience handles them.  At the present time, we recommend avoiding simultaneous changes to the same course from the mobile & web LMS.  Also, we would appreciate your feedback on the likelihood of these use cases.

Providing Beta Feedback

We welcome your feedback on the Absorb Learn mobile app in order to help us improve workflows and the overall learner experience.  Here are the mechanisms to provide feedback:

  • Android Learner - From the Google Play Store App Installation page, a learner can click the Developer Contact > Email link to send feedback and issues.

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  • iOS Learner - From the Apple Testflight App Installation page, a learner can click the Send Beta Feedback link to send feedback and issues.

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     When sending in issues, please provide the following information:

  • Device & OS information (e.g. iPhone 9, iOS 12.3.1 or Samsung Galaxy S9+, Android 9)
  • Symptom Details (e.g. Error message received or unexpected behavior)
  • Reproduction Steps (i.e. an outline of steps taken that resulted in unexpected behavior)

References

Incoming SAML Single Sign-On

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