Saba LMS and Articulate

Hi eLearning community,

I was wondering if I could pick the brains of someone from this network to find out how Articulate (in particulate Articulate Storyline) works with Saba and if anyone has some interesting tips for me to take note on.

There is a client that I'm working with that will be switching their LMS to Saba and it would be good to have as much information as possible to understand some of Saba's key features and to also understand the relationship between Articulate and Saba.

As much feedback and information provided would be highly appreciated. 

Thanks,

Harry

3 Replies
Gerry Wasiluk

Hi!  Years ago I managed an internal Saba LMS for a major U.S. corporation and was also the product manager for Articulate software at the same company, having helped bring that software in to be an "endorsed" e-learning authoring tool.

So the following may be dated since I haven't worked directly with Saba for 6-7 years and it was an earlier version (5.4 SP1?) which was installed inside the company as opposed to a Cloud solution.

For the most part, things worked okay for courses published to AICC and SCORM1.2 (though we didn't support the SCORM standard right away).   To get AICC to work the best in our environment, Articulate had this relay file developed for us:  https://articulate.com/support/article/aicc-content-wont-track-or-resume-in-a-cross-domain-environment-463

We were mainly using AICC because our IT support (which, to be honest, was a bit lacking in spots but "aces" in others) didn't want to help us get SCORM working at first.  They felt AICC was enough.  We were also using separate load-balanced content servers from the LMS and for SCORM to work (was that called "Distributed SCORM"?) with those required some special server software and set up.

The relay file was developed by Rustici and Associates, "owners" of the SCORM Cloud, shepherds for the Tin Can standard, and developers of the SCORM/AICC code that Articulate used in their software.  I'm not sure but I think Articulate may still work with them for that and Tin Can support.

Once we got our SCORM servers up and running, I wanted to implement use of SCORM 2004, 3rd or 4th Edition, mainly because of the greater support for resume (bookmarking) data.  We were starting to run into a few issues with longer courses and the amount of bookmarking data generated.  (See this for more:  https://articulate.com/support/article/exceeding-scorm-suspend-data-limits - note:  AICC is the same as SCORM 1.2 for character limits).

(We had a couple of issues where it looked like how Saba stored that resume data was sometimes "off" and would cause later bookmarking resume problems for learners relaunching courses.  But we were never able to prove that.  And, hopefully, if it was a Saba issue, it has been fixed since then.)

The way Saba had implemented SCORM 2004 back then was, in my opinion, a bit brain dead.  Learners could launch an e-course and, at exit, were presented with a Saba generated pop-up asking them if they completed the course.  What the #@#@!#!!!!   Essentially, a learner could launch a course, immediately exit it, and then say they completed it and the LMS would accept that.  We wanted only a learner's interaction with an e-learning course itself to always determine completion.

Eventually, I was able to get a Saba tech person, someone from Rustici and Associates, and an Articulate rep together virtually to discuss the issue.  Long story short, Saba's interpretation of the SCORM 2004 standard was so strict that it required Rustici's SCORM 2004 code for Articulate to support fairly complex if-then logic, which it could not do.  So we had to give up on getting SCORM 2004 to work.  We didn't have the funding to pursue Saba doing customization of their SCORM 2004 coding to make things more to our liking (and our Saba LMS was eventually going to be replaced by the SAP LMS as part of SAP sweeping through the company).

After our investigation, the Saba tech person wanted me to give him the contact info for the Rustici tech person to he could discuss with him how Saba supported SCORM 2004.  The Saba tech person admitted that maybe their interpretation was too strict and they might need to look at changing things.

Never found out if that led to anything or not.  I surely hope so.

But the lesson back then was Saba would strictly interpret standards like AICC or SCORM.  To be honest, their attitude sometimes was a bit offputting.  Kind of like "Well, we're interpreting things right and you other companies better do the same."  The proverbial "Our way or the highway."

I only hope they have changed.  For the most part, we liked their LMS software but their attitude sometimes would rub us the wrong way.  I know Saba has gone through a lot of changes in the last eight years, and with increased competition, maybe things are better and more customer-focused.

As a result, the one thing I'd strongly suggest to your client is with e-learning to see exactly how Storyline SCORM 2004 3rd or 4th Edition courses work in Saba and if that is to their liking.  Don't just depend on SCORM 1.2 or AICC, both workable but older standards.  Things have to work for their business model or, if not 100%, be acceptable to them with a little compromising here or there.

Usually, when looking at LMS's, this never makes the client's list of requirements.  But how one's chosen e-learning authoring tools work with a possible new LMS and the resulting learner experience is a critical thing to look at, IMVHO.

Sorry for the long saga.  Hope it helps somehow. :)