Bookmarking - strange behavior

We are publishing large courses where bookmarking is extremely important.  I see that in our LMS and on SCORM cloud we are exceeding the "suspend_data" is being exceeded after the user reaches a certain point in the course and then the bookmarking never advances.

I have tried publishing to SCORM 2004 (3rd and 4th editions) to test that the limit does not get exceeded.  I see no errors or warnings, but after completing a course all bookmarking and progress is lost and the user has to complete the entire course from the beginning again.

Finally, I tried unchecking the "When running in LMS, ignore flash cookie" option and republished.  That works until the final exam.  Then, it resumes at some random question with previous questions locked down.

Any ideas how to safely get bookmarking to work for large courses (~100 slides)  in SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004 with any successive attempts at the final exam starting at question 1?

Please help.  Thanks!

13 Replies
Gerry Wasiluk

Not sure.  One possibility could be how the LMS is storing the suspend data and then sending it back to the course at re-launch.

In our old Saba system we had issues like this with Presenter courses.  Any time the suspend data was split into two or more data records in Saba, we always had problems with bookmarking working right.  Get the suspend down to one data record being stored and the courses were fine.  Never was sure where the problem was--did the LMS not store properly or did the course not like how the data was returned or what . .  .

I'm not a big fan of large courses.  I prefer to split them into separate courses or mutli-module courses.  Multi-module courses can have their own issues but I'd prefer them over super big courses.

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Jason, 

The suspend data isn't human readable, so you won't be able to see where it goes off course, but you mentioned resuming the course to the start of the quiz on successive attempts, although the default resume behavior will bring the user back to whatever slide they left off on.   So that brings me to your statement that the final exam is resuming at a "random" question and the user can't access previous questions. By default quiz questions don't have the next/prev buttons enabled, only the submit button. If you're unable to navigate back to other questions using the menu you may want to check the navigation behavior you enabled for the menu.  

You may want to also test this at SCORM Cloud to see if the same behavior occurs there. If not, you'll want to share those results with your LMS team. If you're able to replicate some of the odd resume behavior we're happy to take a look. 

Jason Montour

Ashley and Gerry, thank you for your feedback.  Your attention is greatly appreciated!

In all cases, the navigation/menu is "Restricted".  I have been testing on SCORM Cloud and our LMS (using SCORM engine) in parallel.  Since this course is one of a group of 12 courses and our content is for regulatory compliance, smaller or multi-module courses are not an option.  I am simply stuck with 12 courses of between 90 and 110 slides with layers and branching etc.  I understand that the size is playing a huge role in this.  The strange thing is that we've been housing courses of this size in our LMS for years and have never encountered this problem before.  This is unique to our new storyline courses.

Here is the break down of my testing:

I have published the course as SCORM 1.2 and the suspend data is too large (read debug logs on SCORM Cloud to confirm). That essentially means I can only bookmark so far into my course.

Then, I published as SCORM 2004 (3rd & 4th editions) since the suspend data limit is substantially larger.  The bookmarking worked until I complete the course.  Then all bookmarking and progress is wiped out.  We've seen this with other course vendors and the customer feedback is poor.  This is not a desirable behavior.

Finally, I went back to SCORM 1.2 with the "When running in LMS, ignore flash cookie" option unchecked.  This helped a bit as the flash cookie is getting the user right where they need to be and is essentially circumventing the LMS suspend data limitation.  The issue now is that, for example, if I make it through the course entirely and re-launch I resume at question 7 every time.  I can use the menu to go to the start of that exam, but questions 1 - 6 are locked for editing.

Ideally, the user should be able to bookmark freely.  When the user enters the course after completing the exam, the prompt to resume should come up (which it does).  If the user says no to resume - the course should be unlocked and freely navigable.  If they choose yes to resume - they should be taken to the beginning of the final quiz/exam with no question data stored or locked.

I am not sure how to achieve these results.  The behavior is identical on SCORM Cloud and our LMS.  I did submit the course for your team to take a look at.

Thank you again for your quick response!

Phil Mayor

If you use restricted Navigation and the user chooses not to resume then the course will load as a brand new course with restricted navigation this is by design.

If they choose to resume at the end of the course the resume data should be there unless the LMS is loading it as a new attempt instead of in review mode.

I you choose to resume and have attempted part of the quiz then this should be completed as far as you got unless you set the slides to reset to initial state.

The resume is either on or off you cannot choose which bits you don't want to resume (unfortunately).

I think you are seeing a combination of overloading the resume data and the expected behaviour of Storyline on resume

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Jason,

Thanks for sharing the detailed steps you've taken, and I looked in on your case to see that Miker is doing some additional testing. I suspect as Phil said it's a combination of suspend data and the expected resume behavior, but I'll follow along to see if Miker is able to find anything else within your file set up. 

Gerry Wasiluk

You could also use something like HTTP Watch to try and monitor posts between the content and LMS.  You'd want to compare the lesson location data sent on exit with what is returned at course re-launch.  Might possibly give you some hints of the issue if they are not equal.

As Ashley indicated, the suspend data isn't readable  but you try could compare the encoded data and see if they are "equal."

Admittedly this is all very technical and not for the faint of heart, especially since the posts would have to also be run through a decoder (example of one decoder).  You'd probably need the help of an IT "techie."

Another thing to try if someone has access to the LMS database (and can figure out the data model) is to query the LMS and see how the resume data was saved and compared that with what was sent.

Again, not for most folks but an option for the more technically inclined.

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Jason,

I was just following up on your case today and see that Miker shared:

 I can successfully resume the course and be brought to the last slide I'm viewing. I've done this multiple times and in each time, I was bought to the correct slide. The last attempt I've made was to resume on final quiz slide number 21, and it still worked. I've tested this in both Google Chrome and Internet Explorer. 

Can you verify if you'll be able to reproduce the issue when viewing my published version? 

I'll continue to follow along so that I can update the thread. 

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Jason,

I'm just following up on your case, and see that you shared the following with Miker:

What we didn’t realize is 
that in SCORM 1.2 you can adjust the suspend_data to whatever you want on 
a per-course basis. This resolved our primary issue. I greatly 
appreciate your help and support! 

It looks like you've got everything settled and working as you'd like now, but if you need anything else please let Miker or I know. 

Buddy Keane

Thanks Ashley! I will reach out to Jason! In the mean time, my book marking issue only seems to be an issue after taking a diagnostic pre-test. When we choose not to take the test and preceded directly to the training content we don't have an issue and the bookmarking works perfectly!

Any idea why we lose bookmarking after a quiz and not other times?

Ashley Terwilliger

Hi Buddy,

Are you exiting the course after viewing that pre-test? Is it a test built within Storyline? It may be that the quiz is exceeding the SCORM data limit if you're using Scorm 1.2 - and therefore will only return the user back to that point instead of where they left off in the main content. If they skip the quiz entirely, it means there was less data passed to the LMS and therefore they are able to head further into the course.