Course Troubleshooting Guide

Cornerstone's Learning Management System (LMS) provides clients comprehensive functionality to upload and allow access to online courses. Because of the complexities involved in course/LMS workflows and processes, sometimes issues arise which can cause frustration. In this document, we will review some of the more common problems that can occur and what can be done to avoid or fix them.

Common Bugs

In most cases, the root cause for content defects is course file-related issues. The first step you should take is to test your courses in SCORM Cloud in Frameset mode, using the Rustici website, to ensure your course functions as expected. This is an industry standard online course testing platform available to everyone that emulates a LMS.

Click here to visit the Rustici website and learn how to test your course using SCORM Cloud.

The following types of issues may be prevented by testing your course in SCORM Cloud prior to publishing it within the Cornerstone LMS:

  1. Content issues affecting user experience
  2. Client not familiar with LMS/SCORM guidelines and practices

Course Completion Issues

Most course completion issues (where a user believes they have completed the course but the course is not showing up as "Completed" on their transcript) arise from the course being architected or published out of the authoring tool incorrectly. Since there are so many different authoring tools available commercially, troubleshooting this particular issue can be problematic. However, there are a few rules of thumb that clients can follow to avoid this issue:

  1. LMS Reporting - When publishing a course from the authoring tool, many tools provide a choice of “reporting status” to the LMS. For example, Articulate’s tools like Presenter and Storyline provide four options for LMS Reporting, including "Passed/Incomplete," "Passed/Failed," "Completed/Incomplete," and “Completed/Failed.” We have found that options which include the terms "Passed" and "Failed" could introduce completion issues on users' transcripts, so in this instance we recommend the use of the "Completed/Incomplete" option.
  2. Course Architecture - There will be cases where the authoring tool being used doesn’t provide insight into when exactly course/LMS communication will occur. With tools like Articulate Presenter, Articulate Storyline, Adobe Presenter, and other rapid development tools, the black-box nature of the tool doesn't give visibility into the LMS calls that are triggered from the course. In these situations, clients need to be careful to build the course in such a way as to ensure these communications take place. Since doing this is so dependent on the course structure and tool used, there isn’t a standard way of implementing proper communication. However, we can provide the following guidance:
    1. Test the course using SCORM Cloud in Frameset mode to ensure your course functions as expected. Click here to visit the SCORM website and learn how to test your course using SCORM Cloud.
    2. Always provide a way for the user to gracefully exit the course. This is usually implemented in the form of an Exit button or link that's always available in the course shell.
    3. Ensure that any actions or triggers on the current page in the course occur when the user exits the course. For example, if you've built a page in the course that takes user input which subsequently gets stored in the LMS, you want to make sure you provide a mechanism (perhaps a "Next Page" action, or specifically a suspend call to the LMS) that reads that data before the course is exited.
    4. This may seem basic, but ensure that you are marking the correct method for tracking progress and completion in the course reporting and tracking options. Whether it's number (or percentage) of slides viewed or using the results of a quiz within the course, you need to make it absolutely clear to your users what is expected from them to complete the course.
  3. Completion Criteria - Even if a course is built correctly, the course still relies on the user to interact with it properly in order for the course to be completed and for the completion to be passed to the LMS and register on the user's transcript. It is important that users are aware of what they need to do to complete the course. For example, if there is a minimum amount of time that the user must spend viewing each slide or a minimum quiz score that must be obtained in order to complete the course, then the user should be aware of these criteria. Otherwise, the user may think there is an issue with the course and contact their manager or system administrator.