Everything we know about Cornerstone on Demand and Storyline!

Sep 04, 2013

I thought I would start a thread about Cornerstone on Demand so there's a central place for people to read and add to. There seems to be a dearth of information about how CSOD and Storyline interact with each other as well as the unresolved issues surrounding it. I've spent many hours scouring the web and speaking with Cornerstone trying to find a solution. Hopefully this thread will serve as a resource for others going forward.

On a side note, I love Articulate Storyline. I started with Adobe Captivate with limited success. It was a very steep learning curve, but I was able to get some basic functionality out of it. I tested out Storyline with it's 30 day trial, and I will say that time-to-effectiveness was drastically reduced. It really IS like using powerpoint. Granted there is less complex functionality and interactions available than Captivate, but so far it's given me everything I've needed to use. The benefit is that the learning curve is much less steep too. Think of it as the difference between iMovie and Final Cut Pro. The latter can do some crazy effects, but the former gives you 90% of what you need and can get you comfortable in 1/4 of the time.

It's nice to have a properly-working content creation tool when you're in an LMS like Cornerstone. I have enough trouble in CSOD as it is.

So some of the nuggets of wisdom that I've found are :

  • Cornerstone does not track SCORM 1.2 content properly. You cannot pull a lot of the reports if they are not in SCORM 2004 format. You don't have the option to select that course in the reports.
  • If you export into SCORM 2004, there will be an extra section on the left with text links to the module. This takes up 30% of the screen, and on smaller laptop screens may crowd out the module window. Cornerstone says this is a Storyline exporting settings issue. I couldn't find any settings that shows/hides that section. The workaround is to resize the module to the screen, which doesn't get rid of the section, but at least fits the module.
  • When reporting, you can get the completion status for a course based on quiz result or last slide viewed. You can also get a final grade for course. Storyline passes the results information for each question (including short answer) but you cannot pull a list of the answers for an individual. Therefore, it may not be advisable to administer any testing where you'll need to review individual answers
  • You can get a list of aggregate answers for a module. e.g. I can see how 100 employees answered this multiple choice question. This is helpful to determine if learners are absorbing the course information correctly.
  • Web objects (such as websites, or links to sharepoint documents) work in modules if your IT has added csod.com to the trusted sites
  • Popup windows that open up the articulate module in CSOD will work if you add csod.com to the allowed list for popup blockers. Your IT dept can also add this to everyone's computer. Otherwise when learners click the "launch" button, the module does not show up.

I'll post more as I think or find them, but feel free to add to this list!

913 Replies
Matt Steffeck

Sounds like you are adding a slide and changing what is reported to the LMS. As a rule, we deem that significant enough to warrant a new version.

Here's the rub. While the new version will go out to anyone who is registered for the course after it is reversioned, the new version does not go out to users who already have the course on their transcripts by default unless you push the new version out to them. Also, reversion does require you to go back into the catalog and reset your populations/availability, etc. In order for users who are already registered in the course to get your new version, you will need to redo the proxy enrollment using the "Force" enrollment option. Some users may lose progress, so you may wish to evaluate specifically how many in progress users do you have and to whom do  you wish to push the new version.

Any time I can avoid a reversion, I do. We have successfully used slide count to log completions. The most common offender in the slide count is a lightbox or branching slide. That said if your course has a menu it should be pretty easy to determine if they missed a slide. We request a screen shot as proof for something like that.


Scott Lindsey

Hi, Will - 

We haven't had this particular web object issue, but we've had some inconsistencies with users on how the web object displays. The web object is pointing to a PDF and it blows up so large that it overwhelms the slide and users can't continue. Trouble is, some people have no problem and others do. For a quick fix, I'm abandoning the web object and just using a hyperlink trigger. 


Will Findlay

Thanks Matthew for the info about reversioning. It also seemed like when I reversioned that I had to back in and add the CSOD Evaluation to it again.

Also, when I created the course I had checkmarked the option to pre-register people into the course in the curriculum it was in (to save them the extra click.) I don't think I'll do that again, as it took a long time to figure out how to get people the new version. Fortunately I came across this gem in the help docs:

Reversioning a Course that Is Part of a Curriculum


If it is necessary for all impacted users to receive the new version of the course, then you can run a Transcript Status report in Standard Reports that provides all users that currently have the course in an In Progress or Completed status. You can then proxy enroll those users into the new version of the course.


If I am remembering correctly, I ran the report for those people in Registered or In Progress Status (since I didn't want to bother those who Completed it), created a CSV file with their IDs, and then Proxy Enrolled them into the course again which bumped them up to the new version.


Will Findlay

That's interesting Scott that you ran into  blown-up formatting issues with Web Objects as well. I wonder what is causing this. One theory I had is that people might have changed their browser zoom setting before loading the course, (or maybe even their system font size? that's a stretch I know - it is no small feat to do this now in Windows).

I noticed that if I right click on part of the Flash interface around the web object and choose Zoom Out, and then right click on the Flash content again and choose Zoom In that it fixes the web object sizing, and it fits within the "stage" where it is supposed to go. I ended up just setting the course to complete on viewing one slide (since it really only has one slide of content with a result slide.) 

Matt Steffeck

You are correct in all of that Will. When you reversion, you have to go back through and reset all of your catalog settings (i.e. the new version does not inherit the old version's settings). After that we ran that same report and had to proxy enroll those "In Progress" and "Registered" as you said. For "In Progress" progress is lost.

How you go about that last part really comes down to why the reversion was done. If the new version doesn't need to go to existing users, all the messing around with proxy enrollments, etc is unnecessary. Any users registered after the new version is activated will receive the new version, (provided the availability was properly set in the catalog).

However, if the reversion was to correct a major defect or content error, and everyone needs that version then running through the proxy enrollment process becomes necessary.

All of that rigmarole, is why if I can just do a file update instead of a full on reversion, I do.  File update pushes out to all users of your existing version immediately. The hazard being file update can totally corrupt a course, if the changes are more than a minor adjustment to course content.

Kimberlee Herr


I'm experiencing an issue similar to one that was posted in this thread a few days ago.

We have a course that I've set to complete at slide 159 out of 162 -- as the last 3 slides are recap.  The problem we're experiencing is that the course is registering as complete on CSOD for some users, and not for others -- even though they say they have gotten through all the slides and clicked the embedded "Exit Course" button on the last slide.  It is particularly odd, because I can have users in the same location/office experience two different outcomes -- one reporting as complete and one reporting as incomplete.  

The course was built in Storyline 2, published using SCORM 1.2 and reporting to LMS set as Passed/Incomplete.  The course contains narration and numerous branching scenarios.  

Could this be a CSOD issue or an issue with how the course was published?   Any help would be greatly appreciated!  Thank you!

Matt Steffeck

I would be willing to bet in some of these cases you have an end user issue. You have a pretty long course. Long courses lend themselves to multitasking. The user forgets they are in the course, it times out or they open a second session of the course.

Whether it times out or the user has two sessions of the same course running concurrently the LMS does not properly track progress or completions. When the user goes back in they find that the majority of the course is not complete (even to the point of starting back at the very first slide). We actually put a warning on our launch page to notify users to be careful not to open two instances of a course at the same time. Other possibilities are missing one of your branches, or closing a lightbox before the content has completed.

If you get a screen shot from the user of their SL course menu you should be able to figure out where they missed. If they claim to have done it all and the course (when resumed) starts at a slide that is way before the exit slide, they likely timed out, or opened the course twice.


Kimberlee Herr

Thanks, Matthew! 

My initial hypothesis was that it is at the end user level, and since most of the users are taking this course in a busy environment  it could lend to multi-tasking and/or to stopping and starting of the course.  

We tested a variety of scenarios, including stopping and resuming the course a few hours/days later.  Everything worked fine when we were testing -- but, as we all know, just because it works in testing doesn't mean that works in production! LOL! 

Nonetheless, I did some digging on the CSOD Success Center and tried publishing the course as Complete/Incomplete and pushed the course completion setting to 150 out of 162.  We'll see what happens next!  

Thanks again for your help! :) 

Will Findlay

This begs the question - would changing the Cornerstone's Compatibility Mode option to IE8 instead of IE9 fix this? (One of the solutions to the IE9 tracking problem is to turn on compatibility mode see https://www.articulate.com/support/presenter-09/lms-tracking-issues-with-internet-explorer-9 )

Will Findlay

I think that one way to avoid corrupting a Storyline course when updating the files may be to delete all of the files from the CSOD publication first, and then upload the new .zip file, rather than letting Cornerstone's file manager try and reconcile the differences. So on the update publication page instead of just uploading a new zip file the procedure would be:

  1. Click Get Directory List.
  2. Click the topmost checkbox to select all files in the existing directory.
  3. Click Delete (to delete ALL files in the publication).
  4. Close the pop-up window.
  5. Click Choose file and pick the replacement zip.
  6. Click Upload.
  7. etc.... (same procedure from here on out)

In my experience when I re-publish a Storyline module, it seems like the component's filenames are not identical to what they were the last time I published it. So a file that was named zxczxsedf.swf may now be named qwerqwer.swf, and so on. So if you let Cornerstone try and replace the files by comparing the new and old files, my theory is that it will leave several old files in its directory, and there may be some caching going on and other mayhem that confuses Cornerstone's file manager. It seems to me just better to take the extra step of deleting all of the existing files first. This is what I would do when I had to manage files myself in an LMS where I had to FTP everything myself.

James Jenneman

I've tried this solution a few times. It works more often than not, but occasionally I'll just have to create a whole new publication.

Will, out of curiosity, do you have FTP access to your content in CSOD? I only get my reports, but it'd sure be nice to be able to access everything.
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Matt Steffeck

I would echo James's sentiment that I have deleted existing course files before uploading the new ones and found that to be successful most of the time. I have also gone through and located old files that did not overwrite by upload date and deleted them if a course went wonky. Also just as James noted, I too have fully blown up a course by deleting the files and replacing (that one had an odd folder structure from our old LMS so that may have been just an oddity.

I have also noticed that while CSOD indicates the course has been updated, it is rarely, if ever immediately available to the end user. Typically, following multiple browser restarts and cache clears I will see the noted changes. (for this reason I typically put a version/update number at the beginning of slide 1 so I know when updates have made it to end user).

Long story short, I haven't typically needed to clear the existing files pre update. Usually I have just had to wait for the entire update to reach end users. (sometimes 30 minutes to several hours)

To your other point. I believe it is possible to download the course files from CSOD. There is a download setting available to the superadmins I believe that allows for downloading of these files, but full on FTP function I don't believe is available.

Scott Lindsey

Has anyone had an issue with CSOD where you update a publication (not reversion; just replace the publication files because you made a text change) and then the course can't be launched? I did that with one of our courses today. I deleted the existing files and reloaded the .zip file into the publication. Now when I test it, I get a file 404 error.

Any thoughts?

Matt Steffeck

The first thing I would check is my publication settings. If you published SCORM 2004 v3 the first time did you do the same this time?

I feel like that is the most likely offender unless you have changed your course structure or the file structure that contains the course assets.

In our case, it was a file structure issue. When we migrated over from our old LMS some of the old courses had an extra layer of folders/directories. Another possibility is that something changed in the manifest file (usually that is a slide number or navigation change).

If your test environment reflects your old file structure, you could check for a discrepancy and try and duplicate the file structure in that other environment (i.e. unzip, recreate the file structure, rezip, upload. I had that work once). On another occasion, I ended up having to reversion to eliminate the 404 error.

Scott Lindsey

Hi, Will! It's good to see you on here too.

If memory serves, this was a course that hadn't been assigned to everyone yet. I was able to delete the course from CSOD and reload it with a slightly different name without causing any headaches. That fixed it in this instance.

However, I've also heard that you can re-enroll someone and that can clear it up too. There's an option on proxy enrollment where you can force the initial status and change them back to a 'registered' state.

We're finding out that what works in one instance doesn't always work in all instances. CSOD is keeping us busy, that's for sure.

Take care,