Wednesday, November 19, 2008

SCORM and Bandwidth Part 2

In my previous post SCORM and Bandwidth, I described an issue I am having with a Captivate eLearning tutorial freezing up on some of my users accessing it through Moodle. It turns out I was right that the problem has something to do with the zipped SCORM package. I came to this conclusion by posting a link to just the .swf file and it works great for the users who had issues. How come the .swf file works great but the zipped SCORM package freezes up? I also tried posting a link to the html file and that froze just like the zipped SCORM package. At this point I can move forward with the project using just the .swf file but I will not be able to track through SCORM and I won't be able to use the handy Captivate toolbar. I have "work arounds" for both of these issues but I wish that everything would work as intended.

I believe the problem could be that the SCORM package and the html file require more bandwidth and higher modem speeds. In the near future the users who are having problems will be upgraded to a 384K modem so I am hoping the higher modem speeds will solve the issues I am having with the zipped SCORM package but that is still not mindblowing speeds so we'll have to wait and see.

Any suggestions or input for solving this issue are greatly appreciated.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you tried it on another SCORM player? Most systems unzip the package and your files are delivered in a normal web server environment (with access to the SCORM API).

Try http://testtrack.scorm.com/

If it runs well there, you probably have a server or Moodle specific issue.

Joe Deegan said...

Some tips from Wendy Wickham regarding freezing issues with moodle/captivate.



Any number of things could be causing it (how many programs the person is running at the same time, any strange background programs running on the machine, has the user restarted the computer in the last day or so, stuff happening on the network, etc).

I have noticed that my Captivate tutorials are most likely to freeze when
- I have lots of slides (100 seems to be the magic number)
- There is animation - particularly lengthy animation
- I have lengthy audio files (again, 15 seconds seems to be the magic number).

Joe Deegan said...

Forgot to post a link to Wendy Wickhams blog. She's a great resource for Captivate in particular.

http://in-the-middle-of-the-curve.blogspot.com/2006/11/are-we-overcomplicating-our-elearning.html

Joe Deegan said...

Thanks for the tip anonymous. I'll be sure to try that out.

Anonymous said...

If it's in moodle then use the option to unzip the scorm package on the server when it's uploaded rather than allowing moodle to unzip components on demand which should work

grizzou said...

So there is any news from these tests?

I'm encounter a similar problem with my first Moodle/Captivate/SCORM course. I see something somewhere that can solve the problem (I could not remember the source).

It's seem to be an issue with the loading time of a Cp course. The loader is to short to load all the animations and narrations. So the slides won't show correctly. Somebody propose to add a blank slide on the begining of a project to let Cp load the entire content before playing the content of the "real" first slide...

I try it and give you some news from my tests...

Joe Deegan said...

Hello Grizzou,
No positive progress yet, unfortunately. I tried unzipping the SCORM package on moodle and linking to the manifest file but that didn't solve the problem. As of now I am linking straight to the .swf file and not using SCORM. Hoping to spend more time researching this soon.

JFDragon said...

I have test a dramatical reduction of the bandwidth per slide and it seems to go well for me. I'm not sure if it could help you with your problem... but there is my solution (I'm using Cp3).

First of all I print the Bandwidth motitor and look at the «KB per sec» column. For every slide exceeding 3KB/sec I just inscrease the time of each slide (possible with my project, a quiz). I put 1 second of blank before the audio of each slide. Finaly, I put a firs blank slide of 60secondes and a last blank slide of 0.5secondes.

After some new tryes, I enlarge a second time the duration of each slide to drop the «KB per sec» to less than 2.5KB/sec (actually, the bigger is like 2.2KB/sec).

I just don't know if this solution could help you... hope to!!

Have a nice day (grizzou)

Rod Ward said...

When using Captivate SCORMs on any LMS, including Moodle, you may find that Captivate is communicating with the LMS after each and every question slide or interactive component (buttons, clickboxes, etc) that would represent something SCORM thinks it needs to tell the LMS about.
If you have the SCORM settings set to report slide views as well as quiz results, it may be trying to communicate after each and every slide as well. The sheer load of all these communications pinging the server for responses can bring an LMS server to its knees. When the LMS bogs down, your Captivate tutorial will obediently sit and wait for it before continuing. So the latency (freezing) you are observing with some students may be due to factors outside their own PC's ability to run the presentation (chip speed, RAM etc). It could be the LMS dragging its feet. Try turning off all SCORM reporting for the tutorial other than Quiz Results Only. Set the Reporting Level to Report Score. Then see if things improve. If you can dial into your LMS server, try watching the Performance Monitor in Task Manager on the LMS server to see if it is maxing out when learners are doing your tutorial. I observed this LMS behaviour with one Captivate tutorial that had 25 questions. Eventually the tutorial would slow to a crawl and stop. It was the LMS that was actually freezing up. We solved the issue by using a modified SCORM template HTM file from Adobe that sent scoring to the LMS only once at the end of the lesson instead of after each and every question. If you search the Adobe Captivate Forums for posts by Andrew Chemey you should be able to find a link to one of his blogs where you can download this HTM file.
Hope this helps.

Rod Ward
rod.ward@infosemantics.com.au

Joe Deegan said...

Thanks for the great tips Rod! I am working on a project now that I will be able to test this with. I also received a recommendation to try AICC instead of SCORM so I will also give that a shot. Thanks again.

JFDragon said...

Right, Thanks to Rod.

Here is the link to the post of Andrew Chemey he mention on the Adobe Forum...
http://forums.adobe.com/message/962945#962945

Realy interesting!!