May 2020 Release Notes


This release is planned for deployment on May 3 at 9am PST/12pm EST/4pm UTC to our North American and EU environments. Our AU and CN environments will be updated on May 4 at 4am AEDT/1am CST.
Please note: Features and functionality listed in these notes may change prior to release. Releases are deployed in sequence across environments with a deployment taking up to two hours. Users may see intermittent maintenance pages during this time.


Admin Experience

Admin Refresh - available to self-selecting clients!

  • For the most accessible Admin experience we recommend a combination of Chrome and NVDA.
  • The Admin Refresh only supports the use of our newest Learner Interface.
  • We have deprecated the Flash learning object as no browsers will allow it to run by the end of 2020.
  • To maintain the best experience for our Administrators, the Admin Refresh supports a minimum resolution of 1024x768.
  • Single page Course Creation UX, with:
    • Permission based course settings areas.
    • Improved error messaging.
    • Identical availability and administration rule logic.


  • Reduced Report UI 'clutter' by looking at how our clients use report pages:
    • Removed duplicated controls.
    • Increased data density by providing more visible records per screen.
    • Identical filter rule definition.
    • Transition Saved Layouts - including sharing and scheduling information - seamlessly, automatically from the previous Admin version.


  • Supports our latest Recurrence Model for easier-to-understand scheduling.
  • Improved multi-select in long lists, they no longer close after each selection.


  • Added time zone messaging to multiple locations:
    • Introduced the profile level time-zone selector. This lets an Admin change all the times in their forms and Reports to report in the time zone they select. If you want to know what an Access Date/Time means for someone else, just change to your time zone to match theirs!


    • Added admin time zone to the Report grid.


    • Added time zone information to all time fields.


  • More responsive report loading, delivering what you want when you want it.
  • Smarter navigation.
    • Cancelling actions returns you to screen of origin.
    • URL based navigation and filtering makes things more sharable.
  • Support for WCAG.
    • Added high contrast colors.
    • Maintain a Skip to Content link on every page.


    • Included an option for a high contrast cursor.


    • Added an accessible report grid.
    • Extensive use of ARIA to ensure support for screen readers on all forms.
  • Simplified File Upload capabilities with easy-to-select access control.


  • Added the Organization Default Layout for Reports to allow organizations to select which data is presented to Admins by default.  Org_default_layout.png
    • This allows a System Admin to select which columns will be displayed for all their other Administrators in the default Report Layout. There is no indication to the other Admins that this is happening, and all of the Report columns can still be added to Saved Layouts.
    • All Saved Layout functionality is still available.

Administrator Dashboards

When clients sign up for Admin Refresh they will be brought to a new dashboards page. There they will be able to add graphical widgets allowing them to visualize, course, department, and logins data for their users. With the new Dashboard functionality system administrators will be able to:

  • Create their own dashboard layouts.
  • Assign dashboards to other administrators.
  • Configure widgets that show targeted data relevant to them.
    • Logins over time (Admin/Learner/Both).
    • Awarded Competencies count.
    • Enrollment Status by Department or Course with additional filtering capabilities to make the data set more targeted.
  • Insert quick links, images, or announcements via our Rich Text widget give system administrators another way to communicate with other administrators via Dashboards.
  • Access their Generated Reports from their dashboards page.
  • Access Shared Reports and differentiate between reports they have shared versus reports that were shared with them.


Course Visibility by Group

Course visibility can now be configured based on Groups. This is useful if you manage users through Groups more so than Departments and is a more simple way to configure course visibility using a non-hierarchical structure like Departments.

  • The existing Course Visibility section under the Availability tab has been updated to provide a Group option (in addition to Departments).
  • Admins must have User Management set to "All" in order to access this functionality. Existing course permissions (view and modify) are required to configure this area.
  • If Course Visibility is enabled and no Group (or Department) rule is specified, all Admins with the appropriate permissions (view and modify) will still be able to see the courses. One or more Groups must be added for the visibility rules to take effect.
  • What an Admin will see:
    • Courses with Group visibility configured will be viewable in the Courses report by Admins in that Group. When viewing the Availability tab the Admin will be able to see the Group that he/she manages and cannot remove it to avoid removing their own permissions to the course.
    • When the Admin selects a course with Group visibility rules applied, the Admin can enroll users that belong to the Group he/she manages only.
  • Department and Group visibility is mutually exclusive; courses do not support a combination of both Departments and Groups.
  • Locked Department functionality will override the Group course visibility.

This feature is available in all four course types (Online, Instructor Led, Curricula and Bundles).


Learner Experience

Other Features and Bug Fixes

  • Fixed an issue related to learners who are also a Group Admin or Department Admin are correctly allocated leaderboard points.
  • Fixed an issue where duplicate enrollments were being created for learners within the on login course.
  • Some PowerPoint and Excel files were not being accepted as file uploads; the MIME type sniffing wasn't recognizing certain safe files correctly.

Reviewer Experience

A new role of 'Reviewer' has been added to the LMS. A reviewer could be a persons manager, a 3rd party hired to oversee training, a government auditor, or any other type of role that is in charge of ensuring 'compliance' with procedures and protocols adhered to by organisations. It is expected they are 'mobile' as opposed to sitting at a desk. To ensure a Reviewer has an easy to use, role focused application that meets their needs, a separate interface has been built to accommodate with a mobile responsive design and user interface.

Observation Checklists

With the launch of Observation Checklists administrators can set up 'on-the-job training' for learners where they can be reviewed by a peer, supervisor, manager, or independent 3rd party. With the assignment of the 'Reviewer' role type to users within the LMS that user will have access to:

  • A mobile interface tailored to meet their needs when reviewing learners participating in 'on-the-job training'.
  • A simple workflow to enable them to find the learner they are going to review and grade them according to predefined checklist options.
  • The ability to pause review and resume at a later date. The review does not always have to happen in real time.
  • The ability to add attachments to checklists in case content needs to be scanned in, captured by photo, or video recorded.
  • The ability to Pass or Fail a user for a given checklists and add comments to explain the result.

In the Administrator Experience an administrator will be able to:

  • Create Observation Checklists as lesson objects within an Online Course (allows for section and step creation with 3 different step grading types; observational text entry, 1-5 rating, Yes/No selection.
  • Choose to award a competency to a learner upon successful completion of an OJT Review (independent of the course)
  • View checklist results through a simple report showing pass/fail counts.
  • Implement branding for the Reviewer Interface based on Learner Interface branding selections.

In the Learner Experience learners will be in charge of marking 'when they are ready' for review so when a learner indicates that they are ready then they will appear in the reviewer experience.





Published on
Have more questions? Submit a request


  • 0
    Olli-Pekka Haataja


    are most of these releases for the Mercury module?
    Since I can't notice too many changes in our platform relating to these.


  • 0
    Matthew Roy

    Hi Olli-Pekka!

    Much of the update this month is focused on the Admin Experience. This Admin refresh works to make the Admin side of the LMS a more accessible and modern experience, and is separate from the Mercury Module (Now known as Absorb Engage). If you are interested in enabling the Admin Experience on your portal we would recommend reaching out to your Absorb contact to discuss this further.

    For more information on the Admin Experience, please see the following section of our Knowledge Base:

    Thank you!

    The Absorb Team

    Edited by Matthew Roy
  • 0
    Jacqueline Denomey

    Hello, were all of these updates deployed on May 3rd/4th? I am also not seeing all of these changes reflected in the Admin portal?


  • 0
    Matthew Roy

    Hi Jacqueline!

    You are correct, these updates were deployed on May 3rd/4th. Many of the changes listed above are focused on the Admin Experience. The Admin Experience does need to be enabled on your portal by an Absorb contact for these changes to be visible. If you are interested in enabling the Admin Experience on your portal we would recommend reaching out to your Absorb contact to discuss this further.

    For more information on the Admin Experience, please see the following section of our Knowledge Base:

    Thank you!

    The Absorb Team

  • 1
    Lucy Cornwall


    Please can you provide a list of the features/ functions removed and the reasoning as part of this refresh.

    So far we have noticed the loss of:

    1. Course duplication
    2. Session duplication
    3. File manager access for admin
    4. View course history

    Is there a more comprehensive guide to the feature changes than the above that I have missed?

    Thanks in advance.



  • 0
    Paul Gheran

    Hi Lucy!

    The Help Desk includes an article here with additional details: 

    Things you've noticed are not removed, just have yet to be put in place.

    Please stay tuned to future releases for updated Admin Refresh functionality and feature additions!

  • 2
    Kourtney Dunlap

    Hi Paul,

    When trying to click the link you shared with Lucy, it says "Oops You don't have access to see this page". The features Lucy mentioned are critical to what I do so I was looking for guidance. 

  • 2
    Greg Mendez

    I'm with Lucy. There's potential here, but I wouldn't recommend an admin refresh if some basic features are missing or not available on day 1:

    1. Course duplication: Show stoppers
    2. Session duplication: Show stoppers
    3. File manager access for admin: Really?
    4. View course history: That's big!

    Let us know when these are fixed and we can talk. Is there a date when client platforms will be forced to the new admin refreshed UI? If so, will the above features be in place by then? 

  • 1
    Lucy Cornwall

    Hi Paul,


    Thank you for your reply, however as Kourtney says above- we do not have access to the page you shared.


    Another feature I don't seem to be able to find is the 'certificate type' for users upload. Can we no longer allow users to upload certificates to a course upload?

    We rely heavily on this with our field, network and delivery teams as they require multiple certifications to be allowed to work.


    The features we are really missing since the release are:

    1. Course duplication
    2. Session duplication
    3. File manager access for admin
    4. View course history
    5. User upload certificate as evidence

    Some other changes to mention that make the admin experience clunkier than before include

    • Unable able to create venues from within an ILC
    • Unable able to create tags from within a course
    • The course recommendation field isn't populated automatically populated with the added tags when switched to 'on'
    • It is now required for some reports, not all to navigate to the 'generated reports' section under setup to download a report
    • Course activity reports export to Excel with the course ID rather than the course name in the filters blurb

    Can you advise on any plans to reinstate any of these features?


    Also is there an answer to Greg's above query on forcing the new interface to all platforms?

    We will consider reverting back to the original interface to reinstate the features above if there is not a plan to bring these back.



  • 0
    Paul Gheran

    Hi Lucy!

    All of the features you list are being addressed, it's only that they are statistically less used across all Clients that led to them being prioritized behind what you see in the Admin Refresh already.

    We don't have a date set for transitioning everyone to the Admin Refresh, but we are sure that after we've added support for the outstanding features that everyone will be able to take advantage of the improved LMS.

Article is closed for comments.