Variety; the spice of SCORM, Tools, and LMS products

An interesting issue came up recently where we were delivering a custom eLearning piece to a ‘customer of a customer’. In other words, one of our long-time customers has been licensing a piece of video-heavy courseware which we developed for them in 2009. One of their customers requested some modifications for their particular LMS.

Aside from a few more cosmetic things, the target LMS used a progress-bar image to represent the state of the course. Thus, the courseware would have needed a ‘progress_measure’ (among other related elements) modification for the lesson to accurately update the LMS with its progress.

However, the customer’s only real concern was that the progress bar show 100% when the lesson was actually completed. Per their request, the courseware was setup for SCORM 1.2 and set to pass a cmi.core.lesson_status value of ‘completed’ or ‘incomplete’ based on the user’s progress and score. Unfortunately, the LMS progress bar did not seem to respond to that setting; a user could complete the lesson but the LMS would not reflect that status, despite the lesson sending ‘completed’ to the cmi.core.lesson_status element.

The customer provided the values they set in some Lectora-based lessons they had created, including where AICC_Lesson_Status was set to ‘passed’…which, on one hand, was understandable as we’ve encountered that setting before with customers who use Lectora.

However, despite the term being somewhat misleading when applied to SCORM, we believed that the AICC_Lesson_Status setting is equivalent of cmi.core.lesson_status when the lesson is set to SCORM 1.2.

If a lesson is set to SCORM 2004, then AICC_Lesson_Status setting is equivalent of cmi.success_status and the alternative (more aptly named) CMI_Completion_Status is equivalent to cmi.completion_status.

So what’s the point…?

First, to demonstrate that even with popular tools like Lectora (and, say, Captivate, which is a bit more clear with its ‘Report Status’ options, but even then doesn’t distinguish the 1.2 options from 2004), it’s not always clear what options to set.

But perhaps more significant, this may illustrate the variability that exists in SCORM and its implementations. While setting cmi.core.lesson_status to ‘completed’ would have logically set the lesson status to ‘completed’ in the target LMS, the LMS did not respond to that…apparently only accepting a ‘passed’ value to set the lesson status to ‘complete’. Further experimentation may have found that in order for the LMS to respond to a ‘completed’ status, the cmi.progress_measure element would need to be set…but since that’s a SCORM 2004 value, perhaps not!

Good luck with your SCORM, content, and LMS integration!