As more agencies adopt Outstart Trainer and the Articulate Rapid e-Learning Suite to develop custom-made content for their Learning Management System (LMS), the frequency with which users encounter challenges accessing this content will increase. This is due to the complexity of the LMS’ task- processing SCORM code, managing interactions, and tracking learner progress through a variety of operating systems, software versions, pop-up windows, browser configurations, firewalls and security settings.
Despite the complexity of the challenge, however, there are some best practices that are highly recommended to increase the quality and consistency of user access to LMS-loaded content. These recommendations are the following:
Ensure that end-user workstations meet the minimum requirements for operating the LMS – The best way to ensure that learners’ workstations are configured so as to avoid problems with pop-up blockers, tracking cookies, managing Java applets, and accessing ActiveX commands is to require users to complete a minimum requirements test. LINGOs provides access to a “Plug-In Test” that checks user workstation configurations to ensure that they are compatible with the IntraLearn LMS and its courses. All LMS users should check their workstation configurations by accessing the Plug-In Test at the following URL: http://lingoscatalog.org/vhelpdesk/index.cfm .
Ensure that end-users understand how to install the Java plug-in and accept session cookies – While a user might have no problem accessing a course outside the LMS, once a course is embedded inside a sub-portal, the LMS needs to track the user’s progress in the course. In order for this functionality to work correctly, users need to ensure that Java is installed on their machine and that their browsers are configured to accept cookies. If the results of the Plug-In Test reveal that the machine does not meet these minimum standards, instructions on how to allow Cookies permissions and install Java plug-ins are found at the following link: http://lingoscatalog.org/vhelpdesk/docs/browser_settings.pdf
Avoid loading custom-developed courses into pop-up windows- Experienced LMS users might have noticed that the pre-loaded off-the-shelf courses available on LINGOs’ LMS sub-portals generally do not open in pop-up windows. Instead, they are embedded in a frame of the LMS. When courses are loaded in pop-up windows, the complexity of the communication between the course and the LMS increases significantly and there is a much higher likelihood of running into access problems. Given the increased complexity resulting from loading courses in pop-up windows, it is highly recommended that all custom-made courses be loaded as embedded content in the LMS frame.
These three recommendations will not prevent agencies from having any problems with user access to their custom-made courses. However, they should significantly improve the consistency with which users can successfully access your content.