Audio track not playing on some Learner computers

Aug 17, 2016

Calling all sleuths!

A number of users are not able to hear the audio for lesson objects where the audio (narration) file is imported into the SL2 slide. These same users are however able to hear audio when it's embedded in an mp4 video file.

All users experiencing the problem work for the same client company, and the problem occurs on company provided laptops irrespective of whether the course is accessed while on the company of premises or some other location. However, many of these users' colleagues at the same company do not experience the audio problem. No users from other client companies have reported lack of audio.

The client company has no policy regarding which browser to use, so IE, Chrome, Firefox are all in use, and in some cases, users have multiple browsers installed.  But, we have found no correlation between those experiencing the problem and choice of browser, or single/multiple browser.  All laptops investigated have recent versions of Flash installed.

Just to rule out the possibilities, we've tested a version published without HTML5 checked, with other audio formats as inputs (mp3, m4a), with the audio track shifted so as not to start at zero, and with a trigger to start the audio media when the timeline starts.  None of these permutations uncovered the culprit.

The client is our largest and most important, so we are keen to resolve this! For now, the workaround is to run the audio files through a video editor and create mp4 files with no visual component. Not so elegant, but at least we're not stuck.

What are we missing?  Any ideas and tips are warmly welcomed!

Cheers! Daniel


17 Replies
Daniel Mensch

Thanks, Leslie.   Yes, we've checked these details for a handful of users experiencing the audio problem. For example, one user has Flash22.0.0.210 and both IE11 and the latest version of Chrome. Each browser was used in separate tests and in neither case did the audio play.

Just to add info to the picture, the course is delivered via Docebo LMS (saas). 

A thought: we haven't explored whether the users in question may have a certain software on their laptops that others do not.  Is it within the realm of possibility that other software on the laptops could be creating some kind of unintended conflict that would prevent the mp3 from playing?


Daniel Mensch

Many thanks for the suggestion!  It turns out that the users do not experience audio problems when accessing the objects outside the LMS.

So at least we've eliminated any connection to the published Storyline output, and can narrow our investigation!  It's now in the hands of the LMS Help Desk .....

Cheers, Daniel

Daniel Mensch

Well, we certainly got closer, and have made a fix.  

We eventlually determined that the client computers in question, while apparently blocking audio files from playing, could in fact play video files.  Not sure why this is happening, but the client's IT department is (slowly) investigating. Meanwhile, we have simply converted each audio file into an mp4 format (by simply importing into a video editing tool and exporting.) When importing the mp4 into a SL slide, the blank video - in our case a black rectangle, then is moved off to the slide of the slide. And that's essentially it.

It's not so elegant, and a bit of a pain to have to do this for all audio files. We're hoping the client figures out what's going on with their own platforms so we don't have to keep this as a permanent routine. But, as long as they're sending learners by the thousands, we're 'happy' to oblige.

One caveat is however that in a few lessons containing slides with many audio files (we had some developers earlier who were quite fond of sound effects), we encountered memory issues and even - gasp - the grey circle of death.  Presumably the mp4 format is more demanding (?), even if the file sizes for our mp4 audio files were not much larger the original wav files.  So to avoid this, we combined the several audio sequences previously as separate tracks in the SL slides into a single mp4 file and set the timing in the video editor.  And that seems to have solved the memory issues.

Of course, the ease of adjusting the timing when updating such slides in the future will be more cumbersome.

Hope this helps!

Jeremy Usher

Hi Daniel

Many thanks for the quick response.

This will solve the problem for me. Video files play with no problem - as you said a bit of a pain but a practical solution.

We are investigating a piece of software called Globalprotect, a remote server application. Some of the users who have the problem have this installed and yesterday a new install caused the problem on a PC!

Once again thanks for your help


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Dario,

This discussion is a bit older, so I'd like to start from scratch with you! 

  • What version of Storyline are you using? 
  • Are the MP3s not playing inside Storyline, publish or preview?
  • If it's only in the publish, where are you hosting and testing the courses?
  • Can you share an example file with us here - with a mp4 and mp3 that you're seeing the odd playback with? 



Content Developer

Hi Ashley, thank you very much, here are my replies:

1) 360

2) They are playing fine with Publish and Preview for me and many other people :) Only 2 of the client's computers are experiencing this behaviour - they have updated flash and using all the available browsers.

3) This is something I do not really know, because they are in a department of a big company - no easy access on their PC. I can only trust them on the fact that their pcs are not having problems reproducing other mp3s.

4) Unfortunately no - can you please give me the link to share the file in private?

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Dario,

Thanks for all that information - you can share a copy if you upload it to me here.

My suspicion if it's only impacting two users is they have something on those computers blocking access to it, but I'm happy to try it and I can send you a link to share with them to have them try another version as well.  

Warrin Richins

I am having a similar issue and it is driving me nuts! Last week, my course was working fine. Now the first slide of my course does not play audio. This ONLY happens when accessed on a laptop (which unfortunately is what is used by 100% of my consumers) It works fine on an iPad or on a desktop.

If you restart the activity, it will also work fine. 

Wondering if this issue has been debugged, or if I am the only one with this issue?


I am using SL 3. 

Crystal Horn

Hi there, Warrin. Let me grab some details to help better:

  • What browsers on the laptops are showing this issue?
  • When was the content originally published? Updating Storyline 3 and republishing with the latest version may help.

If you can share a link to the output for testing or your .story file, I'm happy to have a closer look! With your permission, I'll take a look at your .story file to investigate what's happening. You can share it publicly here, or send it to me privately by uploading it here. I'll delete it when I'm done troubleshooting.

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