How to create a learning course with iSpring

In this article we will learn how to create an e-Learning course item (SCO) with an iSpring authoring tool. Later, this course can be uploaded to a third-party LMS such as Moodle or Blackboard. With the iSpring authoring tool you can create a course in SCORM, AICC, or a brand new Experience API standard. Also in this guide we will delve deep into learning course settings that will be automatically transmitted to an LMS after you upload a course.

If you haven’t chosen the right iSpring tool yet, here is a handy list with descriptions of iSpring desktop e-Learning authoring tools:

All these products have similar LMS publishing options, so let’s learn about this process using the most sophisticated tool, iSpring Suite.

Publish a course with iSpring

To publish your course with iSpring:

  1. 1

    Open your PowerPoint presentation project that you want to make into a course.

  2. 2

    Click the Publish button on the iSpring panel.

    iSpring Publish button

  3. 3

    Select the LMS tab on the left.

    iSpring LMS tab

  4. 4

    Check the ZIP Output option on the General tab, because most LMSs will accept only .zip packages as course items instead of folders.

    ZIP Output option in iSpring Publish

  5. 5

    Then select the Learning Course tab on the top right to select a course type and fine tune grading settings.

    Learning Course tab in iSpring Publish

  6. 6

    Adjust settings according to the LMS that you use. Select one of the following Course Types:

    • SCORM 1.2
    • SCORM 2004
    • AICC
    • Blackboard 9.x
    • Experience API (Tin Can API)

    Course Type dropdown menu

  7. 7

    Adjust your course parameters.

  8. 8

    Click the Publish button.

Hint: if you publish a selected range of slides (a setting available on the General tab) and still want to include quizzes, make sure that you have selected slides with quizzes. Hold the Shift key to select a group of slides in the PowerPoint slide list. Hold the Ctrl key whenever you want to add any separate slide to your selection.

After the course is published, we will get a .zip package that is ready for uploading to any LMS that supports this course type.

Download an example of a published SCORM course

Download SCORM 1.2 example

Learning Course settings

All course types have similar settings. All of them will be transmitted to your LMS automatically along with adding the iSpring course to your course list. Let’s see which parameters can be used with each course type, and have a look at their distinctive characteristics.

SCORM 1.2

Reports a single status to the LMS based on both presentation slide views and Quiz grades. Default status is Passed/Failed, but can be customized.

SCORM 1.2 Course settings

Report Progress and Completion settings
Rate number of slides viewed

Choose a number of slides that must be viewed by a learner in order to complete the course.

Note: Be careful with hidden slides.

Weight (slide progress)

Changes the ratio of slide progress score to the total score.
Recommended weight for each activity is 1.

Rate quizzes

Select this checkbox to take the results of the listed quizzes into account in the final score. Don’t forget to check quizzes that you want to rate. You can set a Weight to each quiz as well.
Recommended weight is 1.

Max Score

Specify the maximum score a learner can get by viewing all slides and completing all quizzes. Recommended value is 100.

Custom passing score

Specify the minimum number of points a learner should score to pass the course item.

Lesson duration

Set the timer for your course item. A countdown clock will be shown on the top of your iSpring panel.

Timeout actions

Set an action in the event of a timeout. You can Terminate the lesson and/or Display a message that time has expired.

Report status to LMS as

Set a status that will be shown in your LMS after the course has been completed by a learner.

Tip: If your final quiz is the most important, you might give it a Weight of 2, so that their score on this quiz weighs more highly than the rest.

SCORM 2004

Has several editions: 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. Each of them has the same set of course properties.

Reports both Slide progress and Quizzes as two different values and statuses: Complete/Incomplete for slide progress and Passed/Failed for quiz part.

SCORM 2004 Course settings

AICC

Shares almost the same settings as SCORM 1.2. Instead of a Lesson Title, it has an Identifier that is automatically assigned. The AICC standard is less popular than SCORM 1.2, but is still used in a number of learning systems.

AICC Course settings

Blackboard

We have created a Building Block especially for BlackBoard LMS that provides more stability in reporting to BB.

BlackBoard Course settings

Report Progress and Completion settings
Rate number of slides viewed Choose a minimum number of slides that must be viewed by a learner in order to complete the course.
Weight (slide progress) Changes the ratio of slide progress score to the total score.
Recommended weight for each activity is 1.
Rate quizzes Select this checkbox to take the results of the listed quizzes into account in the final score. Don’t forget to check quizzes that you want to rate. You can set a Weight to each quiz as well.
Recommended weight is 1.
Use total grade Select this checkbox if you want to add the total grade to the Blackboard Grade Book.
Max Score Specify the maximum score a user can get by viewing all slides and completing all quizzes.
Custom passing score Specify the minimum number of points a user should score to pass the lesson.

Read the article about Blackboard

Experience API (aka Tin Can API)

Experience API Course settings

Read these articles for more details about Tin Can API:

iSpring Learn LMS

The LMS Publishing option is good for third-party systems only, like Moodle or Blackboard. If you use iSpring Learn as your LMS along with an iSpring course authoring tool, select the respective tab in the Publish window on the left. This will publish and upload your course item into the system in one click. Read more in iSpring Learn HelpDocs →

But why not SCORM or Experience API? Technically, iSpring Learn follows the principles of Experience API communication but it's not the same. An iSpring learning course communicates with iSpring LMS on a very basic level and the system captures explicit information about the learning progress. Let's call it proprietary iSpring course communication API.

Benefits of using iSpring Learn LMS with an iSpring Authoring tool:

  • Explicit learner experience information (e.g. number of seconds a learner has spent on each slide). Learn more about reports in iSpring Learn.
  • Free iPad app that works even offline. Other systems don't provide such a convenience.
  • Publish from the iSpring Authoring tool in one click.
  • Extended tech support and fast problem resolution. If a third-party LMS is being used, your Help Desk tickets will depend on the other vendor as well.