PDF downloads in RISE hosted on Learning Management Systems

Jul 29, 2020

This is just by way of a warning for those that are using an LMS with exported RISE output.

When we use a downloadable PDF file as a multi-media block in a RISE production hosted on our learning platform, and our learner selects the PDF download we find that if they are using EDGE or Chrome (maybe others too) that the PDF opens in the learning unit window that the learning programme is displaying in. 

This means that the learner on closing the window finds themselves out of the learning unit and when they resume that sometimes they are thrown back in the system either to the beginning of the course or at least the beginning of the current lesson.

So, we've created a plain text block that precedes the first PDF download, which says the following:

"Very Important Note: we strongly suggest that for each downloadable PDF item in our courses you select the downloadable item and then using a right mouse button (or equivalent), choose one of these options that will appear in a drop down menu: 

1: Open link in new tab.

2: Open link in new window.

3: Save link as...

Making one of these choices will avoid your system taking you back to the beginning of the learning unit when the download completes, and you shut the browser window.

The reasoning behind this is that some browsers such as Edge or Chrome have a built in PDF reading application and this causes the browser to display the document in the same window that is hosting your learning unit. By choosing to open the link in a new tab or window or saving the link you will keep the window intact and not lose your place in the course when you shut the window or tab, or save the file."

We can't see a setting option in the media block that allows us to launch the PDF in a new window, so this is by way of a work-around.

So, to the RISE development team, can we have a setting option to launch multimedia in a new window and in the case of audio or video to auto-run when launched?


10 Replies
Alyssa Gomez

Hi Stan! 

I created a sample for you to test in Chrome and Edge. Please click here to open the sample course. 

In my own testing in Chrome, the file downloaded automatically. 

How does that attachment block behave from your side? Does the PDF open in the same window, or does the file automatically download? 

Tanya Corlett

Hi Alyssa,

Thanks for this. We tested your trial content in Edge and Chrome and at the PDF document step the PDF downloaded rather than opening in the same browser window.

We then uploaded the training course that had the behaviour I described to SCORM cloud, and the result was the same as your trial course. That is to say, the PDF immediately downloaded as opposed to opening in the same window.

So, I'm guessing that our experience must be related to the LMS (SAP/LITMOS) implementation.

I've rechecked our learning hosted on the platform and its behaviour is as I described. I've double-checked the parameters controlling the launch of the learning and i have control over whether the learning unit launches in a new window or not, I don't have any other options (e.g. to force downloads).

This behaviour only applies to PDF files, any other file type (.docx, .xlsx ...) download as did your pdf example under SCORM cloud.

I will raise a ticket with SAP/LITMOS. In the meantime, we have placed a note and instruction within the learning just before the download, so that they are not thrown out of the sequence.

Thank you for your support. 

Karl Muller

What happens to a PDF is determined by the browser settings that could be different from device to device.

See screenshots below for Chrome, Edge and FF.




Allison Campbell

Hi Karl,

Thanks for your reply, I was wondering if it was something along these lines... however it still doesn't behave as expected even when I change my browser settings.

When I changed the browser settings to 'Download PDFs' rather than 'Open in Chrome' it presents this screen below, still taking users away from the Rise SCORM and they get stuck on this screen. They are unable to continue in Rise unless they hit the back button on their browser (not overly obvious but people have stumbled across this workaround), or they can select 'Exit' on the LItmos bar. This is not ideal as it returns them to the main Litmos course page, rather than the SCORM module. In either browser settings for PDF downloads there is the same issue from the user end where they are 'stuck' within the Litmos LMS, they lose their Rise module and can only return to the main course landing page in Litmos.

SAP/Litmos has come back with that this is a Rise configuration, however I've never had issues like this when using Rise with other LMS's such as Totara. I have also tested my scorm in SCORMCloud and it operates in the method of downloading and opening in a new tab without losing the Rise module.