Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Can I create a custom Table of Contents for a multi-SCO SCORM course?

A SCORM-conformant course contains one or more Sharable Content Objects (SCOs). A SCO is defined as the smallest unit of content that can be independently tracked by a SCORM-conformant run-time environment (i.e. an LMS). Although it's quite common for courses to be built using only a single SCO, this post concerns courses that are built using more than one SCO.

Where a course contains multiple SCOs, it needs to be set up in EKP in such a way that EKP is aware of the individual SCOs. Normally this happens automatically if the course is imported from a SCORM content package, as the imsmanifest.xml file in the package tells EKP what it needs to know about the individual SCOs. (If necessary, the same thing can also be accomplished manually using the Courseware Manager, by creating a separate lesson for each SCO and setting the Run-Time Environment for each lesson to "JavaScript API".) When the course is set up in this way, EKP provides navigation controls that learners can use to navigate between the SCOs. (If the course is built using only one SCO, these navigation controls are redundant and do not appear.) In this way, EKP can keep track of which SCO the learner is currently attempting, and can ensure that any progress information communicated by a SCO is associated with the appropriate SCO in EKP's records. EKP can also "roll-up" progress information from each lesson to provide overall progress information for the course.

However, this only works if EKP's own navigation controls are used to launch the SCOs; it won't work if you attempt to create a custom Table of Contents page and link to the individual SCOs from there. This is because EKP is unable to keep track of which SCO the learner is currently attempting—and, in fact, EKP is unaware that the course contains multiple SCOs. Any progress information communicated by an individual SCO will therefore be interpreted as course-level progress information; so, for example, when an individual SCO reports that it is completed this will be interpreted as completion of the course as a whole.

The solution is to avoid using a custom Tables of Contents for multi-SCO courses. Instead, import the course using the original content package, and ensure that the learner navigates between the SCOs using the navigation controls provided by EKP. (On the Navigation Setup page in the Catalog Editor, you can configure for each individual multi-SCO course whether EKP displays the top navigation frame only, the left navigation frame only, or both frames. You can also customize the look-and-feel of EKP's navigation controls by creating a courseware template and uploading it under Manage > Courseware Manager > Courseware Template Editor.)

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