Question Descriptions in SCORM 1.2

I am an LMS user/admin, not a SCORM developer. We use SumTotal TotalLMS and Aarticulate 2009. We upload SCORM 1.2 compliant to SumTotal and the "question text" is not transferred. SumTotal and Articulate tech support are not sure if "Question Text" is part of the SCORM 1.2 specification. I looked around, but this is greek to me. I can learn to speak greek, but it would probably take me 5 days. Can you help? Incidentally, Lectora SCORM 1.2 files have the same problem, so if I were a betting man I would say - Nay, not part of the 1.2 spec. Many thanks, Mark

You're correct. SCORM 1.2 does not have an explicit data model element for describing an interaction. SCORM 2004 did add this data model element, but that's not going to do you any good in SCORM 1.2. In the absense of this field, many content developers (Articulate included) will use descriptive identifiers for the questions. The data model element isn't intended to necessarily be a human readable field, but many content developers will use it as such to provide some kind of description.

Describing interactions results (answers) poses another challenge in SCORM 1.2. SCORM 1.2 is very limited in the format that is allowed for interaction responses. For instance the answer to a multiple choice question is only supposed to be a single character like 'a' or 'c'. There is no mechanism for describing what answer 'a' really was. This can be especially troublesome if the order of the answers is randomized. While the answer response is technically supposed to be only one character, this is a loose requirement. Some LMS's will accept many character descriptions. Particulary astute content developers will take advantage of this and try to report a meaningful value for interaction results and then, if the LMS doesn't allow it, will fall back on the single character description.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful
Have more questions? Submit a request


  • Avatar
    Mark McGilvray

    Many thanks.

    My follow-on research confirmed this - SCORM 1.2 is not going to do it.  Although, the ID element provides a needed reference point, a cross reference would be needed outside of the system.

    Since this time we have been able to do a little more research, both with SumTotal and with Articulate 2009, Captivate 4 and Lectora all publishing a SCORM 2004 (2nd or 3rd Edition) compliant course.  Articulate was particularly helpful in the ability to turn on debug, in which I found the following:

    358:Thu Jul 9 07:07:04 PDT 2009 - SCORM2004_CallSetValue strElement=cmi.interactions.1.description, strValue=Have you ever "blacked out"?

    Keeping it simple, should this be enough to get the "Question Text" we are looking for?  If so, this is not being stored in SumTotal at this point.

  • Avatar
    Mike Rustici

    Hi Mark,

    I'd be quite surprised if SumTotal isn't storing the interation descriptions. They are a required field in SCORM 2004. I wonder if perhaps they store the value but don't expose it via reports for some reason?



  • Avatar
    Mark McGilvray


    Phew. You were right, SumTotal is storing the interaction descriptions. The problem (which is now resolved) was regarding "long" text fields. Using Articulate with debug mode we were able to track down the problem.

    The initial issue was the storing of the "Question Text":

    SCORM2004_CallSetValue strElement=cmi.interactions.1.description, strValue=Have you ever "blacked out"?

    The value was being set for the above field, which was of type Choice, but not for Essay fields, fill-in type. Turns out that the field had to be identified as "long-fill-in" because it had more than one word (?). Here are the messages from the log.

    SCORM2004_CallSetValue strElement=cmi.interactions.0.correct_responses.0.pattern, strValue=Hello, Good Morning.
    strSCORM2004ErrorString=data element type mismatch

    Note that the response field type was affecting the recording of the cmi.interactions.x.description value. Once we set the type of the field to "long.." we were good to go.

    SumTotal did identify a defect regarding the capture of any question text, which was fixed, but they also stayed with it to get to the bottom of the issue, kudos to them.


Powered by Zendesk