Update: Also check out Troubleshooting LMS Issues.
Among many other reasons — easy to use, highly customizable, quick delivery to your users — our customers love our elearning tools because it’s so easy to create a course that can be uploaded to your Learning Management System (LMS) and deployed to your users, giving you full tracking, reporting, and status details.
In most cases, this is a simple process that works smoothly just by publishing your file to LMS and uploading the output:
However, given the wide array of LMSes on the market and the varying degrees of adhering to or implementing the elearning communication standards that allow your content to talk to your LMS, there are any number of things that can lead to unexpected issues with getting your Articulate-powered content to launch and track as expected in your LMS.
The good news is that with some basic troubleshooting steps, you can usually get to the bottom of the issue. In this post we’ll review 9 things you’ll want to look for to get your course or quiz tracking with the best of ‘em.
1. Go Back to the Basics
Articulate desktop products (Articulate Presenter 5 and Articulate Quizmaker 2) support the following e-learning industry standards:
- SCORM 2004
- SCORM 1.2
You can learn more about SCORM in this blog entry. You can also download sample certification logs for Presenter and Quizmaker below:
If your LMS also supports one of the above standards, then you should have no difficulty using Articulate content with your LMS. If you’re running into any issues with getting your content to launch or track properly via your LMS, start by reviewing the below presentation, which outlines how to correctly pubilsh to LMS:
At the end of the presentation, you’ll see a link to the relevant LMS help documentation.
By default, publishing to LMS will create a zip file for you to upload to your LMS. The LMS should process the zip package and create a new course for you.
You’ll want to ensure you’re doing the following when creating a course to upload to your LMS:
- Select Articulate -> Publish (in Quizmaker, click Publish).
- Select LMS.
- Select the Output Optioncorresponding to that supported by your LMS:
- SCORM 1.2
- SCORM 2004
- Set desired Reporting and Tracking options (more on this below).
- Upload the course to your LMS:
- SCORM: Upload the generated zip file to your LMS.
- AICC: Upload the published course & specify the correct launch URL in the course.au file (point to index_lms.html).
- Ensure your LMS is pointing to index_lms.html to launch the course (not to player.html or any other HTML file).
If you are following this process correctly, then any error you’re seeing is likely due to an issue with your LMS or the method within the LMS you’re using to upload the zip package.
It’s also a good idea to check with your LMS provider to see what they have to say about any issues or error messages you may be encountering.
2. Check LMS Reporting Status
When you publish your course or quiz from Articulate Presenter or Quizmaker, you’ll see 4 different value pairs under the Reporting and Tracking button in the LMS publish dialog:
The reason for this is twofold:
- We support all 4 value pairs, but not all LMSes do.
- If your LMS does support all 4, you can choose what pass/fail values you want to display to your users.
If you’re finding that your course or quiz status is not being properly recorded in your LMS, please test the other LMS Reporting options in Articulate -> Publish -> LMS -> Reporting and Tracking. The available options are the following:
- Passed/Incomplete (Default)
3. Confirm in SCORM Cloud
If you’re having difficulty with your content in your LMS, it’s usually a good idea to test it out using one of the below tools. If the content checks out OK in one of these tools, odds are there’s something amiss about how you’re uploading to your LMS or how the LMS is handling the Articulate-created content
First, test your content via the SCORM Cloud, which is a really simple way to upload and launch your content, then review the debug logs and be informed of any issues with the content.
4. Generate a Debug Log
A debug log is useful for determining what’s happening in the communication between your Articulate-powered course and your LMS.
Generating a debug log either for us or for your LMS provider to review can often help isolate the cause of any issues you may be experiencing (and sometimes you can even review on your own and figure out what’s happening).
Studio ’09: Learn how to generate a debug log in Studio ’09 here.
Or, if you’re using Presenter 5 or Quizmaker 2, you can generate a debug log if you’re using SCORM by doing the following:
- Launch your Articulate course from your LMS.
- In Presenter, pause the first slide (the debug will only work on the first slide). If it is a standalone Quizmaker quiz, click on the quiz to make sure it’s the active window, and type the following: debuglms!!!
- You’ll see a debug window pop up (ensure pop-up blockers are disabled, if necessary).
- With the debug window open, view and exit the course as it was intended to be viewed. If it is a quiz, take the quiz and exit the quiz as you would normally do.
- Copy and paste the information in the debug log into a text file.
- Sometimes you can identify issues in the debug log yourself. If not, email it to us and/or to your LMS provider to review.
Once we review your debug log, we’ll have a better idea of where the communication failure is occurring.
You can generate a debug log if you’re using AICC by doing the following:
- Add ShowDebug=true to your launch URL.
- Your launch URL should look something like this:
- Alternatively, there’s a 1-pixel frame along the bottom of the course window. If you expand that and press ? 5 times, the debug log should pop up.
- Refer to steps 4-6 above.
5. View Your Course Before You Upload It
This one is more about checking out your content locally and not so much about LMS troubleshooting, but thought I’d throw it in here anyway since it’s a common question: If you have published your course for LMS and wish to view it before uploading to your LMS, you should uncheck the Output Option to zip the presentation. This will allow you to launch your presentation locally via player.html.
When you’re ready to prepare your course for upload to your LMS, you can either zip the contents of the output directory yourself, or republish from Articulate Presenter with the zip Output Option selected.
index_lms.html will not launch a presentation on your local drive, but is the launch file you should use once you’ve uploaded your course to your LMS.
6. Check the “Prompt to Resume” Feature
Review this setting to determine resume behavior. The options vary depending on which version of Presenter you’re using.
Presenter ’09: You can disable the prompt to resume altogether in Presenter ’09.
In Player Templates -> Player Controls, refer to the Prompt to resume on presentation restart and When running in LMS, ignore Flash cookie. If you enable the former and the latter, your course will always resume using the LMS’ resume feature. If you enable the former and disable the latter setting, your content will resume using the LMS’ resume data, but will use the Flash cookie if the LMS does not support resume.
Presenter 5: Your course will always resume in an LMS using the LMS’ resume data (if your LMS supports resume).
If you are publishing your presentation for LMS, we recommend that you turn off the option Prompt to resume on presentation restart in Articulate -> Player Template Builder -> Navigation (learn more in the help documentation).
This will allow the presentation to only use the LMS bookmarking to restart a presentation from where an end-user left off. You can learn more about this topic in this blog entry.
7. Unhide Hidden Slides
This issue applies to Articulate Presenter 5. See what’s new in Presenter ’09!
If you’re finding that your Articulate Presenter course is not tracking slides or status as expected in your LMS, you’ll want to double-check, as noted in this previous blog entry of LMS pointers, that you don’t have any hidden slides in your PowerPoint file.
If you do, unhide the slides or delete them, then re-publish and re-upload your course to your LMS to see if that resolved the tracking issue.
8. Analyze HTTP Traffic
If you still can’t determine what’s wrong with the communication between your Articulate content and your LMS, it’s often very helpful to install an HTTP traffic analyzer, which shows you what’s going on behind the scenes as you launch and click through a course.
Two such products include the following:
Many of our customers use one of these products to observe all browser activity, which helps narrow down if the issue you’re experiencing is related to the content or to the LMS. We use HTTP Analyzer here at Articulate to help troubleshoot and test issues, too.
9. Get More Help
Your LMS provider should also be able to assist you in troubleshooting any issues you may run into. Though we can assist troubleshooting LMS issues to some extent, if your content checks out in the SCORM Cloud, then odds are the issue resides with the LMS.