Text boxes cleared on 'Resume'?

Oct 15, 2015

I've come across a bit of an odd problem and I hope someone might be able to advise me.

I created a series of e-learning packages in Storyline 1. They have text areas in which learners use to reflect on what they've learned. These packages have been uploaded to a SCORM engine, so in theory all work should be saved to the learner's individual ID, so that when they return to the package, they can resume it and the work they've completed should still be there.

I have one student where this is not the case. The poor guy spent time writing his reflection, left the package, and returned to it this afternoon to find that his work was gone. 

I've checked the original file and I've set up the resume and revisit options correctly. It's only happened to one student, but obviously I want to prevent it from happening again. Has anyone ever encountered this problem, or have any suggestions for stopping this happening?

Thanks in advance,



12 Replies
Gemma Nunn

Thanks for replying, Christie and Matthew.

The module is relatively short (about 19 slides) and learners are asked to enter 300-500 words for some of the activities. I'm wondering if it is something to do with suspend data limits, as Matthew suggested.

Our LMS uses SCORM 1.2 that, according to the documentation, has a limit of 4,096 characters. This could turn into a big issue as there are several packages on our system that may have this problem. 

Gemma Nunn

Hi Matthew,

I tried what you suggested and, sure enough, when I went to resume the text I'd entered had gone. 

I republished the file as SCORM 2004 3rd edition, uploaded it to our SCORM engine, then inserted it into one of our test pages to test it. I entered a similar amount of text to the previous test with the SCORM 1.2 version (about 744 words). I exited the module, then went back it. It asked to resume, but when it did the text was gone.

I tried entering a shorted piece of text (about 480 words in each box) and had the same result, When I tried it with a single word across a couple of the boxes, it worked fine.

There are two activities on which this is happening. One has 6 text boxes and the other has 7. The learners are instructed to write 300-500 words across the boxes, not in each box. I wonder if they're trying to write the word count in each box and that's causing the issue. The word count at the bottom of the screen is supposed to assist them in this. Maybe I need to update the package to make this instruction clearer?

Gemma Nunn

Well, that was interesting. I tested the SCORM 2004 version in SCORM Cloud. I used a limit of 97 words in each text box. I then quit out of the package. When I went back in, the text I'd entered was gone.

I tried the same test again, except this time I left the package open for a couple of minutes after finishing the text entry, with the same result.

Why would it (sort of) work on our system, but not on SCORM Cloud?

I'll have a look through the other threads that you suggested, Matthew. 


Gemma Nunn

Another interesting development - I enabled the LMS debug mode and had it on screen whilst I tested the SCORM 2004 version of the package. It has brought to light something I had not considered.

One of the features within the package is the option for the learners to print or save their work as a PDF. I created a JavaScript that pastes the entered text into a HTML document. This opens in another window and allows learners to either print or save as a PDF. However, when this button is clicked, it essentially duplicates the input information, which be a contributing factor to the data limit is exceeding.

The package is short, but has a few interactions with several slide layers. If my understanding of the articles is correct, this generates data that counts towards the character limit. Combined with the text entry and print/save feature, this might explain why was failing to save the input text.

Gemma Nunn

I did as you suggested, Matthew. Had absolutely no issues with resuming.

I'm beginning to think that the problem lies with the character data being generated by the storyline file normally, plus the input from the learners  causing it to exceed the character limit, even if published with SCORM 2004 3rd edition.

The template that we use for our courses include a settings screen that allows learners to change the background colour (accessibility setting that we cant take out). This particular package has several interactive slides, slides with slide layers, JavaScript that exports to an HTML document and another JavaScript that performs a word count. The evidence suggests that there's enough data being generated to exceed even before the learner has a chance to input text. 

I'm going to go back and have a look over the file and the debug log again, and look for ways in which I can reduce the data load. The features I've mentioned have been requested for inclusion, so I can't get rid of them.

Gemma Nunn

By completing the following actions, I managed to reduce the data in my file. 

  • Set as many slides as you can to "reset to initial state" if you can. Obviously, don’t do this on slides where there are text boxes or quiz results that you’d like to keep.
  • Reduce the number of master pages. Sometimes master page sets are duplicated when a screen is copied from one package file into another. Set the pages to use the same master page set and delete the rest.
  • Delete an unused variables from the variables panel.
  • Reduce the number of slide layers on a screen
  • Remove any freeform interactions
  • Use freeform questions instead of text-based questions 

I'm not suggesting that these will work for everyone, but they might help. 

Lessons learned from this experience:

  • SCORM 1.2. is kinda limited when it comes to data. Take this into consideration in future projects where a lot of text entry is required.
  • Sometimes you can't be economical with slide layers, but you can perform little pieces of housekeeping to reduce data.
  • Debug mode is big and clever. I'll be using it in future projects.



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