My question is how does SCORM affect usability? We have hired a contractor to develop an online course that is supposed to be SCORM compliant. The online course consists of approximately 5 lessons. We recently piloted this course and users found a usability issue with the navigation. At the end of each lesson, the user needs to go back to the main menu and then manually select the next chapter. Our users were hoping to simply click on a "next" icon at the conclusion of a lesson and then have it automatically launch the next lesson. We approached our contractor about this idea, but have been told that this is not possible in order to be SCORM compliant. Can you confirm this? If this is the case, do you have any tips that can help improve the usability and navigation through our online course?
First reaction: SCORM doesn't really comment on usability in general...
Second reaction: Ah, but wait, this relates to navigation (which does, I know, affect usability).
Answer, really this time
In SCORM 1.2, individual SCOs (referred to as lessons in the question) have to be completely unaware of one another. They absolutely can't link to one another, and the navigation between SCOs is completely up to that LMS. The LMS can choose to offer a next button (or not) and can also choose to expose the hierarchy of the course (or not). In TestTrack, we render a multiple SCO course like this by default:
But these are just the choices we've made. They are not required of an LMS. So, if we're talking about a SCORM 1.2 based course, you have no option for including a next button in your content (because it can't link to another SCO) and you have no control over how the LMS chooses to render any next button or menu it offers. Bad news!!
In SCORM 2004, though, the story changes. Intra-SCO navigation is one of the major issues addressed by SCORM 2004. A piece of content may now create a navigation request (which the LMS is responsible for implementing...) This navigation request...
Tells the LMS that when this SCO exits, it wants the LMS to go to the next SCO. This allows the content author to include a button that makes this call, followed by a call to "Terminate()". In combination, this would allow you to navigate to the next SCO.
Button options in the LMS have slightly more control in SCORM 2004 as well, but they aren't your ideal answer here. Try out the adl.nav.request option, if you have SCORM 2004 available to you!