Progress tracking in LMS & Storyline settings

As I already explained it, e-learning design is only a part of my current job. My main duty is to be a LMS admin, to manage training records, register trainees, create accounts for new comers, ensure they follow to e-learnings included in their training path, assist users, generate reports to get training data and send it to HR Managers. Obviously, publishing e-learning modules on the LMS is an important part of my job, and it’s very important to me to ensure the e-learnings are working well on the LMS. A lot of issues can happen if the e-learning has not been set properly in Storyline, or in the LMS itself :

  • Window size issue,
  • Compatibility and SCORM settings,
  • Sound issue,
  • Progress tracking – that’s the topic I will present today
  • Etc.

One of the most important topic is progress tracking: how to ensure the progress in the module is properly tracked and recorded by the LMS platform. If the trainees finish the module, but their progress is still 50% in the LMS, there is a problem. This problem can come from the LMS settings, or from a wrong design or wrong settings in Storyline. Today, I will focus on the issues coming from the Storyline settings, and explain how I proceed to ensure the progress is recorded and saved properly in the LMS.


First, it’s important to know you have two ways to track the progress in Storyline:

  • Completion: percentage of viewed slides
  • Success: success to a quiz included in the module

I don’t use the success setting a lot, but it can be interesting if your module ends by an assessment quiz. In case the progress is linked to the success or failure to a quiz:

  • Do not set the success score on 100%, but choose 75% or 80%. If you really want the trainee to reach 100% to pass the quiz, ensure the questions are not too tricky, so it’s not frustrating for the trainee. If the questions are very clear, not too hard, he/she should reach 100% without any problem if the topics were explained properly during the module. It can be interesting for basic topics such as e-learning modules for new comers (Code of conduct of the company for example), but avoid it for technical and advanced trainings.
  • In any case, allow the trainee to retry the quiz until he/she reaches the passing score. You can invite the trainee to retake a chapter if he/she failed the quiz, but always let him/her retry the quiz. You can set a “pool” of questions if you want the trainee to have new questions when he/she retries.
  • VERY IMPORTANT: if your module contains some questions that are NOT part of the final assessment quiz (example: questions that are more like an activity to help the trainee learn something), please ensure you do not include them in the “Result slide properties”. I say that because I have already seen it, and obviously the success to the final quiz was not properly tracked, because also impacted by questions that were not supposed to be counted in the final score. I’m talking from experience.

2.JPG

Click the “Edit result slide” button on the Result slide of your quiz.

1.JPG

Ensure you select the correct question slides and exclude the wrong ones in the “Include” column.

Most of the time, I use the completion setting. But there are also some mistakes to avoid:

  • Do not set the “minimum number of slides viewed to complete” to 100% of the slides. Prefer a lower number, for those reasons:
    • First, in your module you can have slides that are not always viewed by trainees. In the modules I design, there are always two slides that can be skipped by trainees: a first “help” slide presenting the navigation controls at the beginning of the module, and another “help” slide available at any time similar to the first one. So, the trainees are not compelled to view those slides to continue.
    • Second, because you never know if the trainee will always view all the slides. For example, you can have “lightbox slide” settings, but you have not added triggers that block the progress unless the trainee has reviewed everything. In this case, it is possible the trainee reaches the last slide but has missed one or two slides, and it can be frustrating for the trainee to not understand why the course is not considered as completed whereas he/she reached the last slide. Of course, maybe your course is not designed well enough if the trainee is able to reach the last slide without reviewing all the mandatory content, but sometimes, too many “mandatory” content with navigation restrictions can be frustrating too. One of my former colleague recommended 80% of the slides to validate progress. I think it’s a bit low, but it’s only my opinion, and it can depends on the kind of module you design.

3

Here, for example, I chose 33 slides instead of 35 because 2 slides can be skipped by the trainees. They can’t skip the other slides, so they should have viewed 33 slides when they reach the last slide.

  • If there are mandatory slides the trainee must see and that are included in the minimum number of slides viewed to complete, ensure your module is designed properly so the trainee can’t skip/miss them.

Final tip: if you want to ensure the progress is always recorded at 100% of progress when the trainee reaches the final slide of your module, use this trigger with javascript:

4

Add this trigger to your final slide, and in the “Script” (click the button surrounded in orange) enter this: SetStatus(“completed”)

5

You can also read this article by Scott Wiley about the same topic: Storyline – Set LMS Status with JavaScript

Navigation and Next button in Storyline 2

Several questions today about the navigation settings in Storyline:

  • Should we “block” the Next button in the slides, to ensure the trainees review all the content before continuing?
  • If yes, what are the main options in Storyline to do it?
  • What is the best option?

Let’s review those different questions.


Should we “block” the Next button in the slides, to ensure the trainees review all the content before continuing?

Short answer: no.
Longer answer: no, except in some cases.

Why is it a bad idea to disable the Next button, and in general, to have strict navigation settings in an e-learning module? Actually, e-learnings are supposed to be courses trainees take when they want, in the way they want. This learning method is supposed to be flexible, and trainees should be able to navigate within the module as they wish. Obviously, a lot of e-learning modules follow a specific path with several chapters, and often you can’t understand properly chapter 2 if you’ve not reviewed chapter 1. But I think we should trust our trainees and let them review the module freely. If they don’t understand a chapter, they will go back to the previous chapter. If we explain properly the module organization at the beginning, they will follow the order of chapters. Trainees need to be free to not review entirely the content of a slide, if they want to review it later and focus on another part of the e-learning.

Moreover, having too many restrictions in the navigation increases the risks of making a mistake in the designing of the course, and to have people stuck on a slide, because a trigger is not working properly, or because they don’t understand what they are supposed to do before being able to continue to the next slide.

Nevertheless, sometimes it can be interesting to disable the navigation to the next slide when you want the trainees to perform a specific action on the slide, such as an activity, clicking several buttons to reveal more text, or view a picture… If used sparingly, it can be useful and not frustrating for trainees.


What are the main options in Storyline to do it? What is the best option?

There are different ways to prevent someone from continuing to the next slide unless they perform a specific action on the slide. Let’s review the main 2 different options, and the pros and cons for each of them:

  • You can disable or hide the Next button when the timeline starts (it’s a new feature of Storyline 2), then re-enable it when a specific action is performed (timeline ends, user click a button, all the states of buttons/shapes X, Y and Z are Visited, etc.)

1

2

The pros and cons are a little bit different depending on if you choose to disable or hide the button, but the two options are pretty much similar:

Pros: in both cases, the trainee won’t try to click the Next button, and he/she will easily view when the button is re-enabled.

Cons: if you hide the button, the trainee may think there is a bug in the navigation, whereas if you disable the button, the trainee will probably understands better that he/she has to perform an action to re-enable the button.

But in both case, there is an issue caused by Storyline itself with this kind of settings: if you do not choose to reset the slide to initial state when revisiting the slide, and prefer to resume saved state, the trainee may be stuck when he/she revisits the slide. Indeed, resuming saved state on this kind of slide with disable/hide the Next button… with sometimes no possibility to re-perform the action to unlock the Next button. That’s typically the case when the trigger that re-enable the Next button is “when timeline reaches X seconds”.

The solution is simple: choose to reset the slide to initial state in case the trainee revisits it; but it means the trainee will have to re-perform the action or wait for the timeline to reach the end, so it can be boring.

3

In my opinion, that’s not the best option.

  • My favorite option is to not disable or hide the Next button, but to add a layer in the slide (it appears when the trainee clicks the Next button) inviting the trainee to perform the action I wish him/her to do before continuing. If the trainee has not performed the action, he/she will see this layer. When he/she has done the action, clicking on the Next button will take him/her to the Next slide. It is very easy to set in Storyline, and I like this option because in the layer, we clearly explain to the trainee what he/she is supposed to do before being able to continue, and the Next button is always available, so the trainee can’t think there is a bug.

4

I recommend a gray, transparent background in the later, and a shape indicating what to do (here, the orange shape indicates where are the two cards). Clicking OK hides the layer.

5.jpg

6.jpg

Pros: you can include a message and some help in the layer, to help your trainees perform the action and know what to do, and it avoids disabling/hiding the Next button, so you have no problem when revisiting the slide with saved state settings.

Cons: for now I have not seen any inconvenient with this option!

This is my favorite way to “force” trainees to perform an action before being able to continue. It is not frustrating, you know what to do, and I have not noticed any issue when revisiting the slide with the saved state setting. Obviously, I recommend to not use this kind of setting to much in a course. I think once per chapter is a maximum.


I hope this short article was helpful! If you use another way to “block” the Next button and/or the navigation in general in Storyline, or if you prefer to avoid blocking navigation, don’t hesitate to let me know how you proceed.

Creating items with Storyline or PowerPoint

I know it’s been a long time since I posted on my blog, but I’ve been very busy with some e-learning projects for the company I’m working for. Today, I will post a few items created with Storyline or PowerPoint shapes. I just want to show you how easy it is: you don’t need to be a graphic designer to create simple and nice items for your modules!


Cars

Capture

This car is made of 3 shapes in Storyline: a freeform for the main part of the car, and two circles for the wheels. Creating the freeform is not very hard, because the form is mainly made of straight lines. For the wheels, the shapes outline is white and thick.

Capture1

Here are more complex cars, created in PowerPoint:

Capture2

Those cars require more shapes, and to be very careful with the front/back order of each shape. Here are the different shapes used to create each car:

Capture3 Capture4

In the second car, the two white shapes for the windows are freeform too.

Then, I grouped all the shapes, and added a ‘glow’ effect.


Forklift

This one is very simple!

Capture5

Capture6


Screens (tablet, laptop…)

Creating a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone is very simple with Storyline or PowerPoint. I think I don’t need to show you the different shapes I used for the following items. There are very easy to do.

Capture7


Buildings

Capture8

I created those building in Storyline. It was not complicated but required a lot of shapes (for the windows). Also, the outlines and the front/back settings between shapes are important.

Capture9

Capture10


Various items

Capture11

A plant

Capture12

A truck

Capture13

A folder