Absorb offers the ability to import third-party e-learning courses, authored in either the SCORM, Tin Can, or AICC formats. Importing a course package is a simple process that can be performed in one of two ways: to a new online course, or by adding new learning objects to an existing online course. This article 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.

Important FYI 

Absorb does not provide instruction on how to use individual course authoring programs, nor do we dive into all the variations presented when publishing content (i.e., JavaScript commands, slide variables, etc.).

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.  

We highly recommend that you test your third-party content before making it available to learners to ensure the project launches, behaves, and reports as intended.

Importing New Courses 

In Absorb, Admins may choose to import a course package into Absorb. The packages can be either a SCORM, Tin Can, or AICC file. You will then be prompted to import your package as a private or public file in the LMS. 

Importing New Courses

Follow these steps to import a new course:

1. Sign in to the Admin Interface. On the left navigation page, click on the Courses icon to open the Courses Report. Once you are on the Courses report, click on the Import Course button on the right side menu:


2. This will open the Import Course Package window. This is where you'll select the course format to be imported. Then, you'll want to select the .zip course package that has been provided to you by your course author.

Note: certain technologies such as the Articulate Mobile App that rely on outside access to play back your course files will require the files to be publicly hosted.


3. Clicking Import will verify and upload the course files to the LMS and create a new online course. The course created will utilize the metadata contained in your course files to derive a course title and description (this can be overridden if you choose to do so). At this point, if you have the View File role permission, you may select Preview to launch the lesson object in a pop up and confirm it operates as expected. When you are finished, be sure you save all your changes by clicking Save in the right-hand navigation menu.   

Adding New Packages To An Existing Course 

Alternative to the method described above, there are times when you may choose to add a new course package to an already existing online course. This may be the case when opting to import multiple course packages to their own individual lessons in the same course, or when lesson content needs to be updated to a new version.

Adding New Packages To An Existing Course

Follow these steps to add a new package to an existing course: 

1. Sign in to the Admin Interface. On the left navigation page, click on the Courses icon to open the Courses Report. From the Courses report, click the Edit button to open any course. Select the Syllabus tab and click Add Learning Object.


2. A new Add Learning Object window will be prompted. Select the format (SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, Tin Can, AICC) of your course package and click the Next button.


3. The Import Options window will be prompted. From here, select the New Learning Object update option to add a new package to an existing course. Choose File, and then click Continue. The page will refresh and include the updated (replacement) lesson. At this point, if you have the View File role permission, you may select Preview to launch the lesson object in a pop up and confirm it operates as expected. When you are finished, be sure you save all your changes by clicking Save in the right-hand navigation menu.   


Replacing Existing Packages 

In Absorb, Admins can easily replace SCORM, AICC or Tin Can lessons with updated versions of the same lessons. You can use this tool to update internally created content or content created by third-party vendors.

Important FYI 

1. Replacing a lesson will affect all enrollments as follows:
  • New/Not Started enrollments will be required to take the most up to date version of the content upon launching
  • Complete enrollments will not be required to retake content but should see the updated content upon launching.
  • In Progress, enrollments may require resetting 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 suspended data and new content.
    • This can lead to bookmarking incompatibility, which may impact users with a complete status and require a manual reset of the learning objects, which can be done at the transcript/edit enrollment page (See example image below).

2. Replacing third-party content is reflected in the Course History.

In Course History, you can view information on the replacements from content not created by a third-party vendor (or any other historical changes to the course).  To view the Course History, return to the course Edit page.  The option to view the Course History is available on the right side of the screen on the course Edit page.



3. If you are replacing a Learning Object lesson type (SCORM 1.2,  SCORM 2004, Tin Can or AICC), you must replace the lesson type with like-content. 

For example, Tin Can lesson objects can only be replaced with another Tin Can lesson object. 

4. Assessment Reporting Data is reflective of the current version. 

  • If you are replacing your course and it contains assessment questions and answers, please be aware that the Assessment reporting will be updated to reflect the current course version’s assessment Questions and Answers.
  • If your Questions and the incorrect and correct Answers have extensive changes, you may encounter inconsistencies comparing assessment data from historical attempts and active attempts among these different course versions.

Recommendation: If you are changing your course content more extensively than grammatical errors, you may want to consider creating a new Online Course to achieve accurate reporting across multiple course versions.


Replacing Existing Packages

Follow these steps to replace a SCORM, AICC, or Tin Can course:

  1. Sign in to the Admin Interface. On the left navigation page, click on the Courses icon to open the Courses Report.


2. Select the course you want to edit and then choose Edit from the list of Actions on the right side menu.  


3. Once the course was opened, navigate to the Syllabus tab. From there, locate the title of lesson you want to update and below the lesson title, select Add Learning Object. A new window will display.


4. In the new window, select the learning object type that you will use to replace your current lesson.  (In this example, we are replacing an AICC course with another AICC course, but you could do this with SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, or Tin Can.) . Then click Next.


5.  After clicking Next, you can choose whether this lesson should be uploaded to a private or public folder. By choosing a private folder, only Users with credentials to your portal are permitted access to the content.  If you choose the public folder - then the file is available to anyone who has the address even if they are not signed in to Absorb.

6. Then, in Update Options, choose to Replace an existing lesson.  From here, you may select the syllabus item you wish to replace from a drop-down list.  Then choose the course package you want to upload, and click Continue.


7.  Once the progress completes, select Continue again and your lesson will be uploaded. The page will refresh and include the updated (replacement) lesson. At this step, if you have the View File role permission, you may select Preview to launch the lesson object in a pop up and confirm it operates as expected. When you are finished, be sure you save all your changes by clicking Save in the right-hand navigation menu.  

Manually Building Learning Objects 

There are times when Admins will want to manually build their own SCORM, Tin Can, or AICC learning objects, referencing course launch files (uploaded within a .ZIP package) directly. This can be useful for tasks such as referencing the same, previously uploaded package in multiple courses. This is also essential when working with URLs offered by cross-domain AICC providers.

Note: We recommend this for advanced admins / course authors only, as this requires a base-level of understanding of the components within a standard SCORM / Tin Can / AICC package.

Manually Building Learning Objects

Follow these steps to build a learning object: 

Note: The option to Skip is not available from the IMPORT COURSE panel accessed from the Courses report directly; you'll need to add a new course > Syllabus > ADD LEARNING OBJECT in the case of a brand new course. 

1. When adding a learning object from within an existing course, in the bottom left corner you'll notice the option to Skip the import page altogether. Click Skip


2.  You will then be brought to the standard Edit Learning Object page where you'll have the option to Choose File and browse for your source. This will bring up an instance of the file manager where you can browse for course packages / folders that have already been uploaded previously. The Source field can also be used to paste in any URL links to cross-domain AICC content.


You are also presented with various configuration options for the lesson, including whether learners launch it as a modal or a popup/new tab which you can configure independently for learners on desktop PCs and learners using mobile devices:

  • Launch in a modal will open the lesson within the learner's interface as an iFrame on the page, which is unaffected by pop-up blockers and is effectively a new element on the existing web page.
  • Launch in a popup / new tab will open the lesson as a new page in learner's browser, allowing for it to act as an independent window / tab on the learner's device.

3. Once you have uploaded your file or URL and configured all options, click Submit


Mixed Content Error 

If you have received a mixed content error when attempting to use third-party content, this refers to an error handled by the browser. This error occurs when third-party content attempts to load content from secure (URLs starting with HTTPS), and non-secure (URLs starting with HTTP) content within a secure Absorb portal utilizing SSL.

To avoid this error message, third-party content will need to be re-authored and published after changing the links to use only HTTPS.

SCORM Dispatch Package Files 

A SCORM Dispatch Package is a SCORM formatted course shell that points to content that is hosted in another location. For example, e-learning content sellers use this method to deliver the same course to multiple customers across various platforms. SCORM Dispatch files are packaged as SCORM 1.2 or LTI. The dispatch packages will share high-level results with the LMS and retain detailed results in SCORM Cloud (or alternate hosting servers).  

SCORM Dispatch Package Files 

When investigating Dispatch Package Files and how they would work with Absorb LMS, it was discovered that our current security measures would have to be reduced to allow the behavior of these packages and files to work.

  • Dispatch Package Files behave similarly to a malware process known as “Clickjacking”.
    • Clickjacking is when an end-user is tricked into clicking a hyperlink on a page that redirects them to a different destination than anticipated.
  • Our implementation of the X-FRAME-OPTIONS header is necessary for the protection and security of both our platform and clients. We mitigate clickjacking attacks by ensuring that the LMS cannot be embedded into other sites (which could be malicious by nature).
  • Our implementation of the X-FRAME-OPTIONS header aligns with other SaaS and web-based applications like Google Apps, Office 365, Zendesk, etc.

What if a SCORM Dispatch Package File is loaded into Absorb LMS?

Since Dispatch Package Files are a type of SCORM, they can be imported to Absorb LMS without issue.

The Dispatch Package Files includes an imsmanifest.xml. This is the file read by Absorb LMS to generate the third-party SCORM lesson.

Note: these modules may not properly launch or record user consumption (scores, completion status, etc.).

How do you Identify a SCORM Dispatch Package File?

You can quickly identify Dispatch Files by looking at the package Source File. When the Dispatch File is from SCORM Cloud, the launch file is named "dispatch.html."


Converting PowerPoint Presentations to a SCORM Video

Absorb LMS does not natively support Microsoft PowerPoint presentations as a lesson type for courses, however this section recommends tools that can convert PowerPoint presentations into a usable format for lessons.

Converting PowerPoint Presentations to a SCORM Video

The two free tools available are Microsoft Office Mix and iSpring which are available for download from their respective websites. 

iSpring allows you to convert PowerPoint presentations into a variety of formats including SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, AICC, TinCan, and MP4 to name a few. While Microsoft Office Mix doesn't offer as many formats, it does convert presentations to Video. Depending on your needs, you can download and install the software that will work best for your particular needs.  

Once you have downloaded the software of your choosing, you can follow one of the below quick start guides to get a presentation converted into a format supported by Absorb. These guides will be focused mostly on the publishing settings and are not designed to teach the use of the programs themselves. If you need assistance with the programs please go to their respective help pages at officemix.uservoice.com and ispringsolutions.com/support/contact

Note: pricing and availability of both products are at the discretion of Microsoft and iSpring.

iSpring Suite 

The following steps show how to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a video using iSpring: 

1. After opening your presentation, navigate to the iSpring Suite tab, and then click on Publish


2. You will be presented with a number of options at this point through which you'll need to navigate to complete the process of publishing your lesson. To publish your presentation as a SCORM course, you will want to choose the LMS tab from the left side navigation. Under the Learning Course tab, you can choose SCORM 1.2 from the Type drop down menu. 


It is recommended that you check the settings found under each of the other tabs to ensure that they are set up appropriately for your particular needs. 

3. Select the ZIP Output option to automatically create a ZIP file that can be imported into Absorb found under the General tab. Once you're finally comfortable that you're ready to have your file saved, you can click on Publish.


Note: You can choose whichever lesson format that suits your needs best (ie. SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, AICC, Tin Can or Video). As mentioned previously, we recommend checking all of your settings to ensure the final published settings are set appropriately. 

Microsoft Office Mix 

The following steps show how to convert a PowerPoint presentation into a video using Microsoft Office Mix: 

1. After opening your presentation, navigate to the Mix tab, and then click on Export to Video.


2. In the Export to Video side pane, choose a video resolution from the Choose video size list:

  • For high-definition video suitable for viewing on a computer monitor, TV screen, or other HD display, select Full HD (1080p).
  • For high-definition video suitable for HD computer screens, select Computer & HD Displays (720p).
  • For web viewing suitable and standard DVD resolution, select Internet & DVD (480p).
  • For viewing on small portable devices like mobile phones, phablets, and tablets, select Portable Devices (240p).

3. In Seconds spent on each slide, type the number of seconds to wait before the mix advances to the next slide. This setting applies only to slides that contain a video or interactive content. Click Next.
4. In the Save As Dialog, choose a filename and location for your video and click Save.

Note: Office Mix lets you save your presentation as a video that contains the audio, and video but will not work with any interactive content like apps, quizzes, simulations, etc. 

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