Adding a "back door" or shortcut menu

Have you ever added a "back door" or hidden shortcut menu that only you, as the developer, know - in order to jump around quickly in a course?

Lately, I've had to go back and do some testing on some older courses, that are overly long (1-1.5 hrs). These are linear courses with a locked down menu. If the "bug" I want to try to recreate is at the 58 minute mark, I'm stuck having to sit through 57 minutes of training to get there.

I had the thought of adding a hidden menu slide in future courses to be able to skip around in the course.

Has anyone else done this? How did you do it? How did it work?

18 Replies
Gerry Wasiluk
Matthew Bibby

Yep, I nearly always do this.

Add a layer to the slide master that is only shown when a particular keyboard combo is pressed. On that layer I have debug info (e.g. variable references) and a menu that lets me jump anywhere in the course.

This is a really great idea. 

I'm thinking of using this technique now for a certain client who always seems to have a very small number of learners who have strange issues (that I can't replicate) with interactive slides--ones where the learner can't move forward until they complete the interaction.

These very sporadic, rare issues include button sets that don't work, data entry inputs that don't let them enter text, drag and drops that don't work, etc.  So far, we can't figure out what's going wrong--the vast majority of learners have no issues.

So I'm mulling over including a backdoor for all interactive slides for this client's future courses.  If a learner gets stuck, tech support can tell them the secret keyboard combo that'll take them to a layer on the same slide with the interaction's answer(s) and a next slide button.  I'll probably do a different keyboard combo for each interactive slide in the courses.

Matthew Bibby

That's an interesting approach, Gerry. Rather than give them the answers, I try and get more info so I can solve any weird bugs (or at least confirm that it's a PEBKAC error).

I give them a keyboard shortcut that triggers an email. That email contains info about the browser they are using, their IP address, if flash is enabled, course progress etc. etc. etc. 

Gerry Wasiluk

Yeah, that works but, from personal experience, sometimes learners get very frustrated when this happens (and sometimes even very angry when they've spent a lot of time trying to advance and have gotten nowhere before eventually contacting support). 

Asking them for more info or to do any kind of testing or alternative (try a different browser or PC/laptop/tablet) sometimes is . . . rather dicey.  So sometimes it's best to just get them going again in the course ASAP. 

And most of the companies that I work always seem to provide a dearth of debugging info.  Usually, it's just something like the course on this slide doesn't work for the learner.

When that happens, I compare my position to that of a fire investigator who is given one photo of the remains of a fire and then asked to tell what happened.  Not going to happen.

OWEN HOLT

There are certain "allowed keys" that are recognized by most programs as "combination keys". The 3 I know of are:
Ctrl
Shift
Alt

You can hold down any combination of these keys plus one additional key in the Storyline trigger for "when user presses key". 

For example:
Ctrl + Backspace
Alt + Caps Lock
Ctrl + Shift + Alt + 7
etc.