In a previous post, Golden Rules for Content Migration, we talked about the 5 golden rules of content migration and promised to publish more specific examples of content migration solutions applied to real projects.
Today, we will describe how we converted legacy SCORM content in order to fix runtime or tracking issues, or to improve the quality of data tracked and reported by the LMS.
How Standard is a SCORM Package?
Content interoperability is often considered an obvious matter and eLearning standards (from AICC to the various editions of SCORM) have actually guaranteed basic interoperability of content publishing, runtime and tracking across content authoring tools and learning management platforms. In reality, most learning platforms have designed their own implementation of SCORM based on their conceptual model and the pressure that their prospective clients were putting on them. Moreover, before full cloud platforms started playing the leading role they play today, many organisations asked their suppliers to customize bits and pieces to implement their own preferred behavior.
As a matter of fact, when you export SCORM content from your legacy platform to publish it into the new learning environment, you may be surprised by the way content plays, the way it tracks learner progress and performance or the data your new learning platform is returning in your dashboards and reports.
What Could Go Wrong?
When you publish legacy eLearning content to your shiny new LMS platform, there are a number of things that could go wrong, including:
- Course metadata not uploaded correctly (different platforms may gather content metadata from different portions of course manifest)
- Content never tracking completion (though other tracking variables are passed properly, the course status often remains “incomplete”)
- Poor tracking information available in the LMS (e.g. details on answers selected by each user not shown in LMS reports)
- Images or other media files not displaying properly
- Content not launching at all
- Courses not tracking completion when the mastery score is reached
Is This the Beginning of a Technical Nightmare?
Luckily, none of the above events are symptoms of any catastrophic situation. Companies currently scouting for their new LMS should remember this while going through their software selection process.
At Tribridge, we run small and large content troubleshooting and content transformation projects for our clients all the time. Fixing content issues is not a big deal if you are familiar with common tracking issues and their solutions.
In particular, we have developed routine-based and wrapper-based solutions that often allow us to massively apply our solution to large sets of content packages before they are published to the client's new LMS.
Solutions that we typically apply include:
- Processing course metadata to position the relevant information where the new LMS expects to find it
- Amending tracking calls to ensure that the right completion and success information is passed to the LMS
- Implementing features not originally present in the legacy courses such as bookmarking options, disclaimers, timed behaviors or time checks
- Aggregating or de-aggregating course modules
- Cross-converting courses among different standards or different editions of the same standard (e.g. convert SCORM 1.2 courses into SCORM 2004 courses or the other way around)
What's the Best Way to Start?
If you have large, varied sets of legacy content to be migrated to a new LMS platform, the very first step is to thoroughly audit your content and build a registry of all the courses you want to be migrated to the new system.
For each course in your list, you want to log information such as:
If you are in the middle of a content migration project or are just in the planning stages, reach out to us for a complimentary consulting call. We’ll be happy to listen to your questions and review your migration strategy with you.
- Who developed the course in the first place?
- Is the course format following a particular standard (AICC, SCORM)?
- What authoring tool was used to produce it?
- Has the course been post-processed since then?
- Is the course part of a larger bundle?
- Was the course translated or localised for multiple target markets and user groups?
- Does the course contain legacy technology (Flash, Active-X, proprietary content)
- Who currently owns the course?
- Should the course migration imply costs, is the course worth investing effort and money?