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Captivate course timing out of LMS

New Here ,
Mar 17, 2011 Mar 17, 2011

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I am facing an issue with my Captivate course timing out of my learning system.

System/Tool specs:

  • Captivate 5
  • LMS – SumTotal (v 8.2)

Output:

  • Flash SWF (v9) / HTM
  • SCORM 1.2

Our LMS is set to time out after 1 hour of inactivity.  I have an audience of around 20,000 employees and many of them have to be on the phones while taking the training.  If for some reason they get a call that keeps them away from their training for longer than an hour, then the LMS will time them out.  That is perfectly acceptable.  My problem is that I am trying to figure out how to communicate to them that they have timed out.  Even though the LMS has timed them out, the course is allowing them to continue in the training.  The learner never realizes that the LMS is ignoring their progress.  When they get to the final slide that submits their completion, the slide just hangs there and my users assume that the training is broken.  Not too big of a deal with a small audience, but with 20,000 employees this becomes a big issue.

Sometimes my users will make it to the end of the course without being timed out and it will still hang on the last slide.  In case the course doesn't automatically submit completion, I would like to have a button there that appears after 20 seconds or so that when clicked will manually send a completion to the LMS.

My dilemma can be broken down into 3 major parts:

  1. What is the best way to program the course to determine if the LMS has timed out, and if it has, make the learner aware of it?
  2. What is the best way to “tap the LMS on the shoulder” to keep our course from timing out when the user is actively in the course but is in there longer than the LMS inactivity timeout limit?
  3. What is the best way to manually submit completion to the LMS if the course is having difficulties submitting completion on its own?
TOPICS
Quizzing and LMS

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Community Expert ,
Mar 17, 2011 Mar 17, 2011

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If this has become a major issue, perhaps you could add a timer widget (there's a couple on the Captivate/Exchange) to your projects so that users can see the total time that has elapsed.  They should be advised in the early slides of the course that they are time limited.

Also, if you are using SCORM to communicate with your LMS, try setting the timeout period for the SCO to say 45 minutes or something, so that the user gets a timeout message.

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New Here ,
Mar 18, 2011 Mar 18, 2011

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@ RodWard:

Thanks for the reply.  I can see what it is you are saying and your solution would work.  The reason I would like to avoid that route is because my goal is to create this course so that it is similar to all the previous courses my audience has been taking for years... where they don't time out as long as they are active.  With my audience size, the fewer the changes to their methods of operations will mean exponentially less troubleshooting I'll have to do with them.

My optimal solution would be to keep the course alive as long as my user is active within the course.  If they aren't active and the LMS times them out, then I want them to have some sort of alert that tells them to close the window and log back in.

I have spent the day trying out different solutions and here is my most recent attempt.  I am adding JS code every few slides that would call the Captivate_DoFSCommand() function (is this the right one?) in the published htm file.  Something like:

          var active = Captivate_DoFSCommand("LMSCommit");

          if(active == "false"){

               alert("Due to inactivity, you have been logged out of the Learning System.

               To ensure continued progress is recorded, please close this window and

                log back in to the LMS before continuing.");

          }

          //at this point, could I add some code that closes the window... force them to leave?

This solution seems to be working except for one big glitch.  When the course launches from the LMS, another new browser window opens up and displays all the communications the Captivate file is having with the LMS.  If that window didn't appear, then I think this would work.  Is the problem stemming from the fact that I am using Captivate_DoFSCommand()?  Would Captivate_DoExternalInterface() work better.  I've tried it, but it didn't seem to work.  Perhaps I have used it wrong.

Another less than optimal solution would be to just have some code set up to run on an interval (every 5 minutes or so) that would just keep the course "awake" as long as the browser window is open.  This is kind of cheating, but it would still meet my main requirement of not having a confused audience.

At this point, either solution will keep my audience happy, but I definitely prefer the first solution.  I don't want them to ever be faced with a timeout situation as long as they are actively in the course.

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New Here ,
Aug 01, 2011 Aug 01, 2011

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I'm having the same issue. Did you find a better solution?

Thanks,

John

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New Here ,
Aug 05, 2022 Aug 05, 2022

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I'm having a similar issue at work with large county audiences, users being timed out. The LMS people are looking into it. But they've set the timer to 1000 hours, so it shouldn't be timing out. But the user progress after a time stops recording. They're looking into cookie issues. I didn't find any cookie settings in Captivate 2019. I'm just wondering if it's possible that this is a Captivate issue? Or can we rule that it's definitely not a Captivate issue?

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Community Expert ,
Aug 05, 2022 Aug 05, 2022

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In my experience this type of issue is usually related to server latency. Basically, the LMS server reaches a point where it is not being able to handle the sheer number of requests being thrown at it.

 

Have your LMS people been able to confirm whether or not the LMS server is experiencing high request loads at the time your learners are getting timed out?  They would need direct access to the server in order to determine if this is the issue.  They'd need to open up Task Manager on the web server itself and watch the CPU load to see if it rises close to 100% for a sustained period.  If it does, that would then indicate the server cannot cope with the requests and the result would be that the Captivate users on the other end would find their course had seemed to stall while doing the quiz.  It means the Captivate SCORM course is just waiting to hear back from the web server before it allows the learner to continue to the next question slide. 

 

If that turns out to be the issue, then there are some suggestions here about how to reduee the load on the LMS server: https://www.infosemantics.com.au/how-to-reduce-load-on-learning-management-systems/

 

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