Ensuring SCORM compatibility with Articulate StoryLine 2
Over the years in my various roles as a instructional designer, course developer and LMS administration I’ve seen a steady progression away from the use of traditional, generic software development tools to create eLearning to the use of specialty tools dedicated to the purpose. Gone are the day of Flash programmers laboriously coding every frame or computer scientists debating the exact makeup of a SCORM package based on somewhat general specifications. Instead instructional designers and developers with very little technical background are using tools like Storyline 2 to create eLearning which gives them much of the flexibility of traditional software tools without the tedious technical details. This has led to an explosion of very creative eLearning content which has been great for the industry but has also created a different set of challenges for LMS administrators trying to implement the output from these tools.
Traditionally LMS administrators in the past would send back very technical details concerning any errors encountered with the SCORM communications between the eLearning Module and the LMS while testing a new package. Traditional developers would then use those details to sift through mountains of source code to find the error and fix it. However, today when LMS administrators send back those same details they mean little to nothing to the course designer or developer who is using a modern eLearning development tool. He or she probably has very little technical background and is simply wondering which radio button or check box they need to click in their eLearning tool to make the content work on the LMS. The concept of what happens inside the SCORM protocol or even how SCORM works in many cases is completely beyond them. That’s why when I was and Admin I kept a set of PDFs available that I could send to instructional designers showing them how to best configure their eLearning development tools in order for them to function correctly on SuccessFactors. In this blog I will explain how to correctly setup and publish content from StoryLine 2 (as it seems to be the most popular tool these days) so that it works correctly on SuccessFactors.
In Storyline 2 begin by clicking the Publish icon in the menu bar at the top of the screen. The following screen will appear when you select the LMS tab.
The title and description found on this screen will be the default title and description for the course once imported into SuccessFactors however this can be overridden by the administrator in the Item screen if need be.
The section of the screen under Publishing for HTML5 and mobile devices is important for administrators to understand. The first check box Include HTML 5 output determines if HTML 5 code will be used in devices that do not support Flash. I typically recommend that this be left on for compatibility reasons both now and in the future as Flash it slowly being faded out. The second two options should only be used if your client is currently using the Articulate Mobile Player app specifically. If you are using the SuccessFactors mobile app or any other mobile app do not use this option.
The Properties section of this screen is not relevant to SuccessFactors compatibility but may be relevant to performance. If you have an eLearning that is loading slowly the Quality section of this screen is what you would point instructional designers too. Although network speeds, hosting configurations etc… determine delivery time I have found that the following configuration seems to work well everywhere I have tried it without sacrificing significantly the multimedia quality.
Finally under Output Options section of publish screen select SCORM 1.2 and click the REPORTING AND TRACKING… button. A new screen will appear. On the left be sure the Reporting tab is selected and you should be able to see the following screen.
On this screen be sure that under LMS: SCORM 1.2 is selected. The LMS Course and Lesson SCORM Information fields are not mandatory but will determine the value of these fields once the course is loaded into SuccessFactors. However, all of theses fields can later be overridden by the administrator if need be. These fields typically do not cause technical issues and will not be discussed further here..
Under the LMS Reporting section, set the Report Status to LMS as selection to Completed/ Incompleted.
Now to set the eLearning’s tracking options by selecting the Tracking tab. The screen should now look as follows: In this screen the Instructional Designer simply needs to select how the learner will complete the course. They have two choices. Either by completing a certain number of pages in the course or successfully completing an assessment embedded in the course. Either selection will work correctly on SuccessFactors but should the course not be registering completion status as expected this is usually where the problem can be found. Instructional designer may have programmed the assessment incorrectly or miscalculated the number of pages needed for completion. Point them to this section of the tool and ask them to review it and if need be click on the LEARN MORE ABOUT REPORTING AND TRACKING link to diagnose the problem within their program.
Finally click the OK button and then Publish. Once the eLearning has been published the following screen will appear.
Select the ZIP button to create the final SCORM package suitable for loading directly into the LMS. Be sure that the Instructional designer has used this method to create the ZIP file and has not created it so manually. Often when the files have been manually zipped they are not packaged correctly for the LMS.
I hope this helps you with you next eLearning compatibility issue or helps you to create a “How to” PDF for your company. While the steps here are specific to StoryLine 2 they can be interpreted for any of the major eLearning generation tools as well. However I hope to follow up this post with recommendations for how best to configure Captivate next. As always I look forward to your valuable feedback and insight.