Course length best practices + issues with our LMS. Pleas help!

Oct 01, 2013

Hello everyone. I really hope someone has some insight for me here...

After lots of tries and fails with various LMS', we began using Inquisiq R3, at the recommendation of an elearning hero. We were with them for quite some time before our product launch in the system as we were finishing developing our courses in Storyline and loading all of our courses (which come up to 200-300) into the LMS. During this whole time testing our courses and having some test users as well, we never ran into any problems and everything was perfect.

Now that we have launched our product nation-wide, we are experiencing some pretty serious issues and the folks at the LMS are basically telling us that it is our fault and due to our course design. The main issue is with learners' connections somehow being interrupted. The LMS launches the SCORM files in a new browser window. FYI, they do not have an embedded option. If a connection is lost, there is a pop-up, but it is on top of the LMS browser (that says courseware is running) but BENEATH the course. So it is pointless as the learner never sees it. If they continue on in the course, no data is saved beyond the point that the connection was lost. We are having a couple other issues here and there with completed courses not showing as complete and kicking back to the beginning, or not even showing as being launched. I suspect that may have something to do with flash or their browser.

My issue is that we are being told that the problem lies with the size of our courses. Our courses are for the continuing education requirements of insurance adjusters. The courses generally range anywhere from 1-3 credit hours. These courses are built as one .story file. Each chapter is a different scene. They aren't really that long, in my opinion. Our longer licensing courses (40 hours worth of material) are being broken down into multiple .story and SCORM files. But the courses in question with these issues are the short 1 to 3 hour courses. We are being told that these are "monster" courses and that they "break all the adult learning theory rules and even some SCORM rules."

I've never seen anything to this effect. Are we really breaking all the rules? If so, what are the best practices as far as how long a course should be in order to properly function? Some blame is also being placed on our courses possibly not sending commit data often enough. I thought this was an inherent function within Storyline and that it sent commit data quite often and regularly.

I am pleading for any and all insight or advice anyone may have. We're becomming very frustrated and honestly very worried about where this is headed. If we need to change things on our end, we need to know what to do so we can get on it immediately since, as I said, we have 200-300 courses up there and are still working on more.

Thank you, in advance, for any advice/help/insight! 

11 Replies
Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi April,

Sorry to hear about the trouble you're experiencing, but I wanted to point you to a few things that may help you out (these aren't in any particular order):

Have you tested the courses within SCORM Cloud to see if they're able to successfully run there? If so, you could share that with your LMS team.

Have you seen this article on using Storyline to let a user know their data is not being sent? 

A good discussion about overall size and it's value/lack thereof

I suspect the community will also chime in with some of their practical experience. 

April Hilbert

Thank you for the references, Ashley

The courses run fine 90% of the time. Runs fine for me and for most of our users but when the issues pop up they are a pretty big deal.

I will try the solution for using Storyline to let the user know there's something wrong. I'll probably publish and upload a test and then disconnect my own connection and see what happens.

Jill Blaser

Tim Hillier said:


thank you for the resources on data failure.  After reading the support article I am left wondering why this is a change that has to be made at this level vs a standard?  Is there a reason we would not want our students to know if there was a failure in capturing their data to the LMS?



That's exactly what I was thinking! Why isn't that a standard? 

April Hilbert

Dangit, it seems I stopped getting email notifications of responses! I didn't realize there had been other replies.

In the last couple of days I have tried both adding an LMSCommit() at various points as a backup and also making the edit to show users the error message if communication is lost. I launched the lesson and severed my connection. I moved forward with no connection beyond several spots that I put the command to force the commit. Nothing happened. I don't know if I did it wrong (though I followed the instructions fully) or what. I'm not even sure the manual commits worked.

I've narrowed down one or two other random issues to browser problems. Another major thing is learners leaving the course open for long period of time unattended. I had a guy call this morning who was upset that he had finished his course but everything had frozen up on the LMS side... got down to the bottom of it and it turned out he did 95% of the course last night, began the final exam, then left it up ALL NIGHT and came back to finish the exam in the morning (the exam is only like 20 questions... why the heck he would do such a thing, I have no idea!). So this is definitely user error that they are leaving it up all night (or all weekend in another lady's case) but the issue is that they are allowed to continue without any notification by either the course or the LMS. The LMS claims that they give a notification but I've only been able to recreate it once and it comes up UNDER the player. So that does a hill of beans of good.

Is there somewhere or someway I can load up my files somewhere so someone can tell me if I put in the javascript and the string within the story.html file correctly? I assume just loading it into cloud wouldn't let you see behind the scenes.

Letting users know a connection has been lost should definitely be a primary feature. I'll be sure to send a feature request.

Thanks for your responses, guys! I really appreciate it!

Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi April,

After you reply to a forum thread, you'll need to subscribe yourself to any future replies by clicking on "Subscribe to replies" at the very top of the forum thread. 

You are welcome to share your .story file here so that the community can take a look at your Javascript set up. Just use the paper clip icon to add it here to the forum thread. Testing it within SCORM Cloud is an industry standard method to determine if everything is relaying correctly to your LMS from your file. 

Sarah Beauchamp

Hi All,

I am having the same issue. I opened the Story.html file and changed the value of var g_bWarnOnCommitFail = false; to equal "true". I launched the course then unplugged my network cable and turned off my WiFi. I was able to continue to progress through the course and then when I reached the end and closed the course I received no error and my progress was not saved.

We have a very short time-out policy on our LCMS that we are unable to change so we are really struggling with not being able to provide some sort of message to the learner that they no longer have a connection with the system.


Ashley Terwilliger-Pollard

Hi Caroline,

I'm sorry to hear that - and I'm curious if you were able to test out the other items I mentioned earlier above:

Have you tested the courses within SCORM Cloud to see if they're able to successfully run there? If so, you could share that with your LMS team.

Have you seen this article on using Storyline to let a user know their data is not being sent? 

I haven't seen other solutions, but hopefully if others in the community have they'll be able to chime in here and offer some ideas! 

This discussion is closed. You can start a new discussion or contact Articulate Support.