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How to publish a multi-file Captivate project as a single SCORM course

I’ve done the math and the interest in this from my typical readership turns out to be slightly less than zero, but hey… it’s my blog. I write what I want to write. You can come back next time for the usual drivel.

I ran into a problem recently that took me forever to solve because I was laboring under the false notion that it was actually possible to pull off within Captivate natively. It’s not, though I still maintain that it should be.

For those of you who don’t know, I work in the training department at my company. Specifically, I deal with the online training. Mostly I deal in the administrative side of that, but every once in a while I get my hands dirty and have to actually figure out how to make something work from a technical perspective.

This time we had a course design to implement that was pretty straightforward: you take a pre-test, you go through the content, and then you take a post-test. Nothing too fancy. Except Captivate doesn’t make that easy to do if you’re putting your course on a Learning Management System (LMS), as we discovered.

Captivate does not allow multiple scored quizzes in a single file, even if you only want to track one of them. So the only way to have both a pre- and post-test is to break the course into two separate files. Not a big deal. Jumping from file to file relatively seamlessly is something Captivate handles. What it absolutely can NOT handle, though, is packaging both of those files into a single SCORM-compliant course. All it lets you do, even using the included Multi-SCO Packager, is create separate LMS entries for each file. That’s not what we were after.

We wanted to have a single entry in the LMS, so the person enters into the pre-test, continues through the course, and behind the scenes jumps seamlessly into the post-test file, the results of which get recorded by the LMS as the score for the course we came in on.

As I said, that’s impossible within Captivate alone. It is possible, however, with a little simple editing of the IMSManifest.xml file.

To do this, you will need Adobe Captivate and the freeware RELOAD Editor (or enough understanding of XML to sufficiently edit the imsmanifest file code by hand – which honestly I don’t recommend).

In the example below, Part 1 is a single project consisting of a pre-test and additional content, and no tracking of Part 1 is necessary. Part 2 is a second project consisting of content and a post-test, and is accessed solely through a redirect from Part 1.

  1. Publish Part 1 (pre-test) without SCORM (reporting turned off)
  2. Publish Part 2 (post-test) in the same folder, with SCORM settings (do not ‘use folder names’ during publish)
  3. Open IMSManifest.xml in RELOAD XML editor
  4. Add Part 1.htm as a Resource and move to top of Resource list.
  5. Set Part 1.htm Resource SCORM Type property to SCO.
  6. Add swf and SCORM Support files to Part 1.htm Resource. (do not include standard.js)
  7. Select lowest Item under Organization structure and set Referenced Element property to Part 1.htm Resource.
  8. Save the IMSManifest.xml file.

Trust me, it’s pretty easy.

Here are 2 videos showing how to pull it off (take them full-screen if you want to actually see them).

The Captivate portion

The RELOAD portion

Hopefully this information will help someone else who wants to do this. I know it was no picnic for me to figure this out.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

35 comments to How to publish a multi-file Captivate project as a single SCORM course

  • [...] Here’s a webcast that shows you how to package your Captivate SCOs / Lessons into one big course.  I used the SCORM 1.2 setup and packaged three SCOs into one course: If you’re using SCORM 2004 and need conditional branching between SCOs, here’s a great tutorial by Jeff Caddick: How to publish a multi-file Captivate project as a single SCORM course [...]

  • Mike Brown

    This looks very clear, and although I have not yet tried out, it has certainly given me “food for thought”. I can see the possibilities of resolving the issue I have been struggling with of trying to have 1 course but 4 languages.
    Will let you know how it turns out.

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    I’d agree this does seem to have potential to help there. I’d be interested to know if it really works, though, since I assume your tests would be in separate languages, and thus separate files, each of which would be trackable. But if the user only ever reaches one of them… seems like it would work. Definitely let me know how it goes. I’m really interested.

    Reply to this comment

    Mike Brown says:

    Jeff – it partly works – and I enjoyed playing around with it. My problem is the Skillport LMS but I am sure other LMS’s may be OK.
    I created a single page test1.htm with click links to short courses test1_en.htm & test1_de.htm (English & German). I followed your instructions regarding Reload – very easy to follow – and I was brave enough to extend your instruction by including my 3rd resource.
    The learning resource in the Skillport LMS loaded test1.htm and I was able to click into the English course and German course as required. I had put different possible scores into each of the English and German courses, and on completion of each language the different scores were reported.
    The issue with the LMS is that if I come out of either the English (test1_en.htm) or German (test1_de.htm) versions before the end, the reference point is the test1.htm not the bookmark of the language I was in – so effectively the user has to start all over again, and adds to any score already achieved.

    I am not looking for a solution to this issue; between yourself and other helpful postings on the Adobe site I have done it! It is not always easy to find solutions to Captivate problems. It has taken me nearly 3 months (not full-time!) to convert material from a working Security Awareness course published to our Sharepoint site over to a working course within our Skillport LMS site.

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Thanks for letting us know! Bookmarking is one thing I was concerned about with this approach, but we have other issues that precluded bookmarking on our project, so I never tested it.

    It sounds like you overcame the issue though. Any interest in sharing how you did it? If it’s too complicated for a comment, let me know if you’re interested in doing a guest post here. We work on SkillPort as well, so either way I’m certainly interested in any solutions you’ve got!

    Reply to this comment

  • I’d be curious to see what this looks like when published in your LMS, but this was very helpful in any case! I had found a similar tutorial here: http://captivatedev.com/2011/09/30/packaging-adobe-captivate-scos-into-one-course-using-reload-editor/ but yours is simpler and answered the question for me as to whether I really had to publish each module in the course as a SCO. Right now, mine is launching in the LMS with each module as separate menu items. I’d like to get rid of the menu and it appears what you have here will do that for me. I’m going to tweak my publish settings based on your tutorial and check it out. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    I’m glad it was helpful, Susan. Just to confirm, this does indeed result in a single entry in the LMS.

    And for the record, you can add multiple “non-tracked” files this way. It doesn’t have to be just one.

    Reply to this comment

  • It worked just as you said!! I’ve spent forever trying to figure this out. Thank you!

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Awesome!

    Reply to this comment

  • Hi Jeff, could you help me with another issue related to this? I’m pretty sure it’s a Captivate issue, not Reload, but here’s the problem I’m having: I have been trying to get my course to go back to another project (an instruction slide) after the user completes the SCORM published quiz and it is not working. The course always closes after the quiz results. I have set the Project End Options and the Pass or Fail options to all open another project (the instruction slide), but instead, after the user clicks ‘Continue’ on the quiz results page, the course always closes. What could I be missing?

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Off the top of my head your setup seems like it should work, so that’s a bit confusing. Maybe try adding a slide after the quiz results and see if that shows up. If so, try adding a button on that slide to jump to your instruction slide. If that works, remove the button and set the slide to jump to the instruction slide on exit and see if that works (then make the duration of the slide really short).

    If you can’t get to the new slide at all, take another look at the quiz settings and make sure you’re not missing something.

    Reply to this comment

  • Hi Jeff,
    Thought I’d give you a quick update of how I ended up resolving this – I can’t even remember all the different options I tried until I settled on this! I never resolved the issue with launching another project from the quiz results page, but found a workaround that works even better.

    The course starts with a brief introduction module. The ‘Continue’ button on the last slide is set to launch another project, which opens the course’s ‘main menu.’

    The ‘main menu’ project has several buttons that launch appropriate sub-topic projects.

    On the last slide of each of the ‘sub-topic’ projects has the ‘Continue’ button set to launch the ‘main menu’ again. These all had quiz questions, but feedback was set at the question level only – no quiz results page.

    The last option on the ‘main menu’ project was a ‘Course Completion’ button – which launches a project containing the final quiz. (NOTE: This was always the only project that had the “Show score at the end of the quiz” set to display under Preferences / Quiz / Settings. After a lot of hair-pulling, I realized that it wasn’t necessary to open another project to accomplish what I wanted to do, which was return the user to some basic instructions before they retook the quiz.)

    Here is how the last project was set up:

    The first slide is a content slide with instructions for the quiz. When the user clicks the “Back” button from this slide, it will launch the ‘main menu’ project. ‘Next’ simply goes to the next slide.

    Slides 2-5 are quiz questions

    Slide 6 is the quiz results slide (turned on under Preferences / Quiz / Settings). Buttons are: Review Quiz and Continue.

    Slide 7 is a content slide with instructions on what to do next. This slide has a text button that I called “Retry” and under Properties / Reporting for the button the “Include in quiz” is NOT checked. The Retry button takes the user back to the first slide in the quiz.

    It’s been working out very well! Thanks for your time in responding to my questions.
    Susan

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Awesome! I’m glad you got it working. Thanks for letting us know how you did it.

    Reply to this comment

  • EnnoAnwr

    Hi,

    Is there a way if I could show 3 different quizes (each quiz has qns) results individually after every quiz, and at the end of it show the total results?

    EnnoAnwr

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Hi. That’s an interesting question. You get the cumulative results just by having the quizzes all in the same project, and you might be able to manually create a results screen for the individual quizzes with a cunning use of variables, but I’d have to think about that some more. There’s no way to do it across projects that I can think of, nor can you do it without getting into variables at some point.

    Reply to this comment

    EnnoAnwr says:

    Yeah, that’s what I thought too. I suppose now it’s time to explore using variables. Thank you so much for your reply! Appreciate it. :)

    Reply to this comment

  • Colin A

    This may be a different (but similar) problem we have but let me try to post it here anyway.
    We use the Adobe Scorm packager to assemble 3-5 “chapters” of content and finish off with a formal test that has to be passed with at least 75% to complete the course.
    We have small check-your-understanding quizes at the end of each chapter but the score for these is set to 0

    In our Saba Learning LMS the package is considered as one entry.
    Our problem is that the Score for the whole course is set to for example 100% divided by the number of chapters. So althouh you get full marks in the test every time, in some courses it is shown as 25 and in others as 16.6 depending on the no. of chapters.
    Do any of you have any experience in this?
    We really do not want to have to start using tools like Reload as mentioned above. Captivate should be able to do this by itself.

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    I can’t say I have direct experience, no. Though I’m not positive I understand the setup either. Is each chapter its own file (“project”, in Captivate terminology)? If they are, I’m not entirely sure why you’re dividing by the number of chapters in your post-test.

    If I understand it, your chapters each have a small, unscored quiz. Then you have a single test at the end with a 75% threshold. Is that right?

    Reply to this comment

  • Jeff,

    Thanks for the nice tutorials. I hope to try your approach but in a non-Captivate situation.

    One question for you, isn’t having the first SCO link to the second SCO sort of a SCORM “no-no”?

    Regards,
    John

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    You’re welcome, John. Hope it works for you.

    To answer your question… I have no idea. If so, I’d love to have somebody show me how to do what I need within the SCORM rules.

    Reply to this comment

  • Holly

    Hey, I can’t open the imsmanifest file in Reload. Any suggestions?

    Reply to this comment

  • Holly

    Received the Error message

    Could not open file: imsmanifest.xml
    Could not load Profile: SCORM 1.2 Default Profile

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Hi Holly,

    Sorry, I really don’t know. You might want to ask on the Adobe forums. Someone there might know. Sounds like it might be a bad imsmanifest file.

    Reply to this comment

    Joshua Bogart says:

    The Multi-Sco Packager from Adobe spits out a really nasty imsmanifest.xml file that combines everything on one long string. It seems pretty useless based on this alone. I’ve had similar problems trying to open that manifest in reload editor. It seems as if you must use one or the other, unless of course you want to spend the time parsing through every single xml tag.

    I do not have a solution, but I wanted to comment to say I share your frustration.

    Reply to this comment

  • Holly

    Thanks for responding. I am trying to hand code the imsmanifest.xml file. Would it be possible to get a copy of the one you used in the example?

    Reply to this comment

  • Laura

    Hi, I just used this technique in packaging multiple Captivate projects into one scorm package with Reload Editor. I have 3 separate lesson CP files and 1 scored quiz (4 separate Cp projects). Works great! Only problem is bookmarking doesn’t work. Each of the lessons, and the quiz is a separate Captivate project, but only the quiz was published with SCORM 1.2 settings while the lessons were not (SCORM turned off). I plan to have more lessons added, but want the users to be able to exit and come back to where they left off. The quiz bookmarks, but even still if you stop in the middle of the quiz and exit, when you launch the course again, you have to go through all the lessons again to get to the quiz where you left off. I guess the lessons don’t bookmark because they are not published at SCORM 1.2? Has anyone found a fix to this? I tried turning on SCORM when publishing the lesson files, but it seems to mess up scoring/reporting for the quiz.

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    Hi Laura. Sorry for the massively delayed response. As I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, bookmarking is a concern with this approach. The only thing I can think of is to add a TOC so it’s easy to get back to wherever they need to go.

    Reply to this comment

  • Alison

    Hello,
    Thankyou for the great videos. I have packaged up two projects and published to SCORM Cloud just to test it. Do you know if this should work in SCORM Cloud? When attempting to open my second project it just takes me to the SCORM Cloud reporting page?
    Thanks
    ali

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    I believe it should work in SCORM Cloud. I think I even tested it there, but to be honest it was so long ago I can’t quite remember!

    Reply to this comment

  • Amanda

    Thank you for figuring this out and for posting the videos. This was exactly what I needed to get my SCO’s packaged into one course and I’m not sure I could have figured it out on my own.

    Reply to this comment

  • ash

    hi, i was wondering will reporting be affected, ie if we want to find out whihc user has been doing what?

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    This should not have any negative effect on reports. Just realize that you’re only really tracking what’s in the final file.

    Reply to this comment

  • josh

    i have 3 projects that i packaged together using your instructions. loaded into LMS, and it plays as it should. but when it reaches the final slide of the first project, it doesn’t open the next project. am i supposed to “open another project” with a button on the last slide?

    any help would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply to this comment

    Jeff says:

    That is a valid way to do it. You could also tie it to the end of the last slide of the first project or the end of the project. I have had trouble with “Open another project” from time to time, though, so I usually use “Open URL or file” instead – you just have to make sure the reference is relative.

    Reply to this comment

  • Sean Bernardino

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for this article. I’ve been struggling with this myself. To be honest I’m struggling to link Captivate projects and get them to work without even reach the

    SCO/LMS piece just yet — meaning, I’m having trouble getting it to work standalone in the first place and am looking to get your advice here. I’m using Captivate 6.

    The way I’m planning to structure my course is as follows:

    1. Main project — This is the main UI and shell that is going to house other Captivate projects, namely various demo recordings done in other files.
    2. Project 1 – One such demo Captivate project
    3. Project 2 – Another demo Captivate project.

    Think of the Main Project as a menu page only that has two buttons, 1) “Go to Project 1″ and 2) “Go to Project 2″. I’m trying to publish this such that when you click

    “Go to Project 1″, the Project 1 Captivate project launches and equally important, in Project 1, when the learner clicks the “Back to Menu”, the learner is returned to

    the ‘Main Project’ file. Not sure how would I publish each of the three files and then how do I arrange the published output folders for each of these.

    Please help!

    -Sean

    Reply to this comment

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