CMI_Completion_Status: explanatory text, and improved interface idea

So I've always published for an AICC target, because that's my organization's standard. When I just now had to publish for SCORM 2004, I got a warning that I was not setting CMI_Completion_Status. OK, fair enough, I hadn't. So I set it.

Since I had never used this variable, I assumed it was the equivalent of AICC_Lesson_Status for SCORM, so I set it to either passed or failed. Of course, this didn't work, with a totally useless and incomprehensible error from the LMS. (Rustici Software's SCORM Cloud). I then looked up the variable in Lectora 17's "Variables" tool, and it says this:

This variable is only accessible in SCORM 2004 published titles and determines the point at which the student has actually completed viewing the published title. In a SCORM 2004 published course, the author MUST set this variable at the point in the course that the student has been determined to have completed viewing the necessary content for the course.

So notice what's missing? It does not say that the only valid status entries are completed, incomplete, and unknown (those exact strings, case-insensitive, apparently). I had to look that up myself, on the web page of a totally different company. A less-experienced developer might have been stuck for hours, instead of merely puzzled for minutes.

For those of us (almost all) who have not memorized the various LMS API standards, maybe include things like that in your help text?

Just a suggestion.

Here's a better one: for reserved variables like this, that can only take one of a very limited set of values and still work, why not have a dropdown list of the actually acceptable entries rather than making your developers carefully type exact strings into a freetext field? One of the prime principles of interface design: modify the interface to prevent errors, rather than trying to help people figure out errors after they happen.

(Can you tell I have been both a GUI designer and tech writer in my life?)

Discussion (1)

That's great feedback, thank you. We have added SCORM defined values for some of the variables in our help recently, but we must have missed CMI_Completion_Status.

We would also like to implement the drop-list for predefined values and have a way to override for exception cases, I will see if we already have an issue out there.

If you see anything else you would like some more definition on, or think something is not well documented please let us know and we will do our best to correct it.


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