23 Replies Latest reply on Jan 25, 2017 1:47 PM by lindym77564703

    Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format

    Stan-C

      We need to be able to export InDesign files to a portable SCORM format that could be loaded into various LMS systems - however it is not obvious how we would do this?  We need to publish our documents both in a book\PDF format and also to various LMS systems such as Blackboard, Moodle, Angel, Desire2Learn, etc.

        • 1. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
          John Hawkinson Level 5

          Well, I think you're not going to find too many people who are familiar with your acronyms, so you'll need to start asking questions at a different level.

           

          Wikipedia:

           

          Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based e-learning.  It defines communications between client side content and a host system  called the run-time environment, which is commonly supported by a learning management system. SCORM also defines how content may be packaged into a transferable ZIP file called "Package Interchange Format".[1]

           

          A learning management system (commonly abbreviated as LMS)  is a software application for the administration, documentation,  tracking, and reporting of training programs, classroom and online  events, e-learning programs, and training content.

           


           

          Anyhow, we probaly need a lot more information about your work in order to answer usefully. Are you documents just text? Are they text and graphics? How is this all supposed to work? How about some screenshots?

           

          InDesign has several output formats that you can probably trnaslate into SCORM, but it's probably non-trivial if no one has done the work already. ANd again, it quite depends on how much information you need to get out of your document.

           

          InDesign has a style-based structured XML export that may work if you have carefully tagged your document and designed it for that XML export.

          InDesign also has an XML export format, IDML, that essentially mimics the document object model of the InDesign document. This is a complete  representation of the file and can be transformed into absolutely anything. The downside is that the spec is several hundred pages and implementing absolutely everything could take you forever. But if you don't need to handle automatic paragraph numbering or skewed images or tracked changes or a zillion other features, just pulling the text out (or some other feature that you need) is easy enough.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
            Stan-C Level 1

            As far as SCORM I guess I figured that anyone who was familiar with the problem and who has addressed it in the past would know what SCORM was ---

             

            For example: there is an old open posting on the InDesign Forum: Feb 2, 2011 9:26 PM "Captivate 5 import of InDesign CS5"

             

            What am I trying to accomplish?  Many of our College and University clients use Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, Angel, etc.  SCORM is a standardized interchange format used to provide internet ready information (e-book data, test questions, etc.) to any LMS systems (text, graphics, pictures, etc.).

             

            Adobe advertises SCORM compatibility as part of its e-learning suite: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/elearningsuite/els/extensions/WSD40882CF-6C5C-46c0-8D51-273830 EB036B.html --- however, I’ll be darned if I can find anyone who can tell me how to get there from InDesign.

             

            Also - I find it very frustrating that after many calls to Adobe sales and technical staff that I can't find anyone who can help me with the details of how to get from InDesign to Adobe's "SCORM Packager"

            See: http://blogs.adobe.com/captivate/2009/01/scorm_packager.html which I believe is a part of the e-learning suite.

             

            Is it possible to find a high level technical resource within Adobe that I could talk to who could help me with this issue --- we need to test the ability to produce SCORM compatible files from our InDesign files before we can make a purchase decision.

             

             

             

            • 3. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

              This is a bit outside my comfort zone, but you brought up Captivate, and I think that's what you need. I recently saw a demo, and I believe you could export PDF (or SWF) from ID and import that to Captivate.

              1 person found this helpful
              • 4. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                peter minneapolis Level 4

                Hi, Stan:

                 

                I took a quick look at the SCORM packager link. It seems to want component files, like interactive SWFs and others, so it can combine them with Captivate projects. Captivate projects create and capture on-screen demonstrations, interactive and non, and, I believe that user interactions are saveable for further processing, like checking for correct user responses, etc.

                 

                What are you expecting from InDesign? It can output various formats. Search Google with terms like "indesign cs5.5 output formats" without quotes for details.

                 

                You'll probably get more thorough answers on the E-Learning Suite forum once you know what ID can output.

                 

                HTH

                 

                Regards,

                 


                Peter Gold

                KnowHow ProServices

                 

                Stan-C wrote:

                 

                As far as SCORM I guess I figured that anyone who was familiar with the problem and who has addressed it in the past would know what SCORM was ---

                 

                For example: there is an old open posting on the InDesign Forum: Feb 2, 2011 9:26 PM "Captivate 5 import of InDesign CS5"

                 

                What am I trying to accomplish?  Many of our College and University clients use Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, Angel, etc.  SCORM is a standardized interchange format used to provide internet ready information (e-book data, test questions, etc.) to any LMS systems (text, graphics, pictures, etc.).

                 

                Adobe advertises SCORM compatibility as part of its e-learning suite: http://help.adobe.com/en_US/elearningsuite/els/extensions/WSD40882CF-6 C5C-46c0-8D51-273830EB036B.html --- however, I’ll be darned if I can find anyone who can tell me how to get there from InDesign.

                 

                Also - I find it very frustrating that after many calls to Adobe sales and technical staff that I can't find anyone who can help me with the details of how to get from InDesign to Adobe's "SCORM Packager"

                See: http://blogs.adobe.com/captivate/2009/01/scorm_packager.html which I believe is a part of the e-learning suite.

                 

                Is it possible to find a high level technical resource within Adobe that I could talk to who could help me with this issue --- we need to test the ability to produce SCORM compatible files from our InDesign files before we can make a purchase decision.

                 

                 

                 

                • 5. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                  Hi, Stan. I typed a somewaht long answer this morning and the forum ate it. Trying to reconstruct it here...

                   

                  As far as SCORM I guess I figured that anyone who was familiar with the problem and who has addressed it in the past would know what SCORM was ---

                  Correct. I guess I'm saying I expect you will find no such people here. Sorry to be blunt.

                   

                  However, there is a large category of related problems that do not involve the word SCORM but are similar, for which there are solutions available. I suspect you are going to be going down that road. So it's important for you to describe your problem in non-domain-specific terms.

                   

                  What am I trying to accomplish?  Many of our College and University clients use Learning Management Systems (LMS) such as Blackboard, Moodle, Desire2Learn, Angel, etc.  SCORM is a standardized interchange format used to provide internet ready information (e-book data, test questions, etc.) to any LMS systems (text, graphics, pictures, etc.).

                  More details, please.

                   

                  The problem of exporting from ID to SCORM is analagous to exporting to EPUB. And there, a huge difference is made if the document contains graphics, if it has anchored frames, if careful use of paragraph styles has been done. Similarly, exporting to XML. We really need to know more about your document. As I said before, screenshots would be a great help. As would textual descriptions of the nature of your document. What kind of graphics? How does it mesh with the text?

                   

                  I suspect exporting individual pages seperately, as SWFs, PDFs, EPSs, or whatnot, will not take you where you want to go.

                  Is it possible to find a high level technical resource within Adobe that I could talk to who could help me with this issue --- we need to test the ability to produce SCORM compatible files from our InDesign files before we can make a purchase decision.

                  Normally I would say, "Sorry, you're screwed," but you're in the Education market. If you work for a large university or major institution, your local Adobe Education Sales team will be familiar with your institution and generally speaking I have found them pretty happy to assist. The sales team should have dedicated technical resources who are likely to be eager to assist with this. What part of the country are you located in?

                   

                  You may also find  http://blogs.adobe.com/edtechatadobe/ to be of use.

                  • 6. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                    Stan-C Level 1

                    John - thanks for the details you have provided, and for taking the time to re-do your response --- Our course content, that we eventually need to export to an external LMS, is currently static content delivered in documentation \ textbook style format --- In our case these are Lab Manuals for online science courses. The LMS documents we will provide will include InDesign Documents (exported to PDF) with:

                    • formatted text,
                    • pictures,
                    • graphics,
                    • tables,
                    • a cover page,
                    • an InDesign Table of Contents,
                    • an introductory section,
                    • anywhere from 2 to 30 experiment documents (like the sample below),
                    • and appendix documents

                    No interactive content is provided currently. Our lab manuals and ancillary documents supplement the college instructor's other online content they may have available to students in their LMS system, such as: e-textbooks from a publisher, test and quiz information, online discussion boards, online assignments, etc.

                     

                    Possible exporting individual pages, sections, or chapters to a PDF file may work for us.  In the future we may want to export to an LMS interactive content, videos, etc. in addition to our Lab Manuals, but we are not there yet.

                     

                    Unfortunately I can't upload a sample PDF document of our Lab Manuals to a forum discussion -

                    I have attached some screen shots of sample pages below:

                     

                    LTM-01.png

                     

                    LTM-02.png

                     

                    LTM-03.png

                     

                    LTM-04.png

                     

                     

                    • 7. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                      John Hawkinson Level 5

                      Thanks, Stan, that gives me a decent idea of what your InDesign documents look like.

                      The other half of that is what the SCORM files for them would look like. I don't suppose you have any example SCORM files that cover analagous documents kicking around?

                       

                      Unfortunately I can't upload a sample PDF document of our Lab Manuals to a forum discussion -

                      Yeah, the forum no longer permits attachments because some people decided it shouldn't. That might change next month (fingers crossed). You can post a link to an external site, though.

                       

                      (Oh, also, your region, for purposes of Adobe education sales?)

                      • 8. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                        FlippyTheClown Level 1

                        Stan-C - I just wanted to say "I'm hearing ya buddy!".

                        We produce safety and licence guides for high risk and earthmoving. We've been print only up until now, but like you its time to change all our content to interactive learning experiences. And you know the saying "Once you go Scorm - thats what you'll yearn!" No? - bad joke. Anyway...

                        While InDesign is great for producing both the books and the multimedia presentations in one hit, its not built to plug into a LMS and thats why there's no SCORM compliance built in. It's highly sciptable so I'm sure a talented programmer could help take in there, but thats a fairly heavy investment.

                        I've been scouring the forums looking for a thread that will help me do it and thats how I stumbled upon your post.

                        I'm looking into Adobe Contribute - but I'm not sure of what it can do. The only article I've found that remotely talks about this stuff is this:

                        http://help.adobe.com/en_US/Contribute/4.1/help.html?content=con_setup_su_11.html

                        Since we're both looking for the same solution I'll make sure I keep you in the look with anything I find out. I think ultimtely the content is going to need to be re-purposed the old fashioned way. Copy and paste into something built for the job. But I hope I'm wrong.

                        Keep me updated - and I'll do the same.

                        • 9. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                          Stan-C Level 1

                          Thanks for the info --- the only useful info I have come across so far is the following link as a possibility for uploading Adobe PDF files to an LMS but we have not tested yet due to other priorities: http://pdfobject.com

                          • 10. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                            Holly Valero

                            Adobe InDesign is the logical choice to be Adobe's new Swiss army knife publisher -- it does interactive, great flash exports for digital publications -- it's a natural authoring tool for LMS, and since many businesses and organizations will have plenty of source documents in InDesign, it's kind of a win-win.  Flash is actually less built for educational product creation in my opinion, since much of it is text.  Text with pictures, text with flash video, text with audio or light animation -- but the core is text.

                             

                            What is necessary is a SCORM plugin for InDesign (developed by Adobe or any third party) that will create the SCORM manifest needed to bundle the educational object -- when you export as flash, or export as PDF.  A SCORM check box in the export dialogue.  This allows the object (file, module, lesson) to be imported into anyone's SCORM-compliant LMS. 

                             

                            Apple should do likewise with Keynote... the educational market is just beginning to explode, and whoever comes up with these plug ins for both will own the market.

                            • 11. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                              John Hawkinson Level 5

                              Three months later, I'm still waiting to see a sample SCORM file that represents that output you want from InDesign.

                              The bug is extremely high for getting Adobe to add support.

                              And I doubt you need a plugin, you should just be able to postprocess IDML.

                               

                              I'm sure someone could market a commercial product, but it's not obvious to me that you can't get what you need with InDesign plus the available free tools and a little bit of effort.

                              • 12. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                Holly Valero Level 1

                                From what I understand SCORM is basically an xml style manifest ... there are various versions of SCORM out there.  It's the data file that gets uploaded (usually zipped with the object) that allows the LMS to organize the course offering on the web server.  As a web developer for over 15 years, this is not necessarily that difficult to produce... xml, relative file paths...

                                 

                                This page: http://scorm.com/scorm-explained/technical-scorm/golf-examples/

                                offers a fake course and sample scorm files ... like this one:

                                http://scorm.com/wp-content/assets/golf_examples/Examples/ContentPackagingSingleSCO/SCORM% 202004%203rd%20Edition/imsmanifest.xml

                                 

                                Exe is a scorm packager that's open source http://exelearning.org/wiki  so I'm wondering if a course comprised of InDesign files was exported in sections -- swf, pdf -- whether it could be bundled into the SCORM object using Exe.

                                 

                                Adobe Presenter -- the powerpoint plugin that creates SCORM compliant courses (PC only) would be a natural thing to engineer as part of InDesign, in the same way that only recently did InDesign export to flash.   For Mac users there is Captivate... which is probably what I'll end up using. 

                                 

                                Adobe owns all of these. InDesign, Captivate, Presenter...  is there some reason they can't take the Presenter code and build that into an InDesign export?

                                • 13. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                  John Hawkinson Level 5

                                  From what I understand SCORM is basically an xml style manifest ...

                                  Sure. Remember that saying "XML" is basically like saying "binary file." There's no standardization to what's inside, and one program's XML input isn't going to read another program's XML output without some sort of translation layer in between them. It's not a very specific standard when it comes to practicality.

                                   

                                  I had earlier asked Stan to show us an InDesign file and the resulting sort of SCORM files he wanted to get out of it. I suppose some sample  SCORM files unrelated to an InDesign layout are not useless, but they weren't really what I was looking for.

                                   

                                  Looking at that makes it sound a *lot* like EPUB, which already gives you HTML files and manifests and whatnot. Are there EPUB to SCORM converters?

                                   

                                  Adobe owns all of these. InDesign, Captivate, Presenter...  is there some reason they can't take the Presenter code and build that into an InDesign export?

                                  Well, the fact that that Adobe owns them all might make it harder, not easier. Do you think the InDesign and Presenter teams talk to each other? If Adobe didn't own one of them, then they could buy one and they'd probably have a better time integrating it than they would moderating discussions between multiple first-class stakeholders over what features to include.

                                   

                                  But seriously, they certainly could. It's a question of priorities. But we live in a world where Digital Publishing is getting a lot of attention from Adobe, and we're have trouble getting stuff like footnotes fixed. I'm not sure where SCORM fits in that space, but I suspect its market share is less than that of footnotes right now (but obviously SCORM has growth potential that ye old downtrodden footnotes lack).

                                   

                                  Also, if it is a problem that lends itself well to aftermarket solutions (as I think it is), Adobe is probably best-off concentrating its efforts elsewhere.

                                   

                                  On a practical note, you would also be waiting quite a while. We expect CS6 to come out in the April timeframe, and that means they're probably almost done with most of the components by now, and adding new features to the CS6 roadmap would be pretty tough, even if you could convince the steakholders (and they're kind of like the A*TEAM. You have to find them first!). So unless you expect some kind of off-cycle release (highly unlikely), the soonest you'd see something like that would be CS6.5 or CS7 or whatever the 2013 release is going to be. And that assumes you could convince the steakholders to prioritize SCORM ahead of footnotes. Hardly a foregone conclusion either way.

                                  • 14. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                    [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                                    Well, all you have to do is convince Adobe SCORM is "The Next Big Thing".

                                     

                                    It worked for Flash in CS5 and ePub in CS5.5 -- I imagine them at the time rounding up all programmers in the office and yelling "drop whatever you are doing right now!" And in a blink -- *flush* -- went your footnote improvements down the toilet.

                                    • 15. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                      Holly Valero Level 1

                                      I agree that saying XML is not making the issue any clearer... it's just the avenue as a coder that I would take to untangle the SCORM requirement.

                                       

                                      So here's a piece of sample content I did in InDesign CS5.5 - a dummy publication with interactive content (cover animation, audio clips, video clips, and a slideshow) http://hollyplays.com/indesign/birds_test_1024.html  -- it's just a test file of interactive content published in various formats -- most successful of which is the .swf export. 

                                       

                                      Say this is a lesson in my LMS course on Birding.  Section: Starlings.  Module 1.

                                       

                                      I can export this as a .swf file with it's html page.  But I need a (probably) simple SCORM manifest/packager/bundler/something... so I can upload this to a web-based LMS and that LMS can figure out what I'm uploading.

                                       

                                      I did find a "how to add basic SCORM coding to a flash movie"  - albeit with plenty of caveats

                                      http://pipwerks.com/2011/10/07/scorm-planets-example-updated/ 

                                       

                                      But if I'm not working in flash, it's not much help.  Ideally, publishers will just want the idiot [x] SCORM box on the export, the way that InDesign generates the HTML.

                                       

                                      I googled epub > SCORM and did not see anything definitive, but it was a good idea worth pursuing...

                                      • 16. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                        John Hawkinson Level 5
                                        I googled epub > SCORM and did not see anything definitive, but it was a good idea worth pursuing...

                                        I think you might have misunderstood me, because I [tried to] make to points at once and the one you got was the less relevant one.

                                         

                                        Because EPUB and SCORM look extremely similar, you should be able to repurpose most of the EPUB-exported assets into SCORM. That is, export to EPUB (which is just a .ZIP file), crack it open, and then translate its manifest into a SCORM manifest and move some of the files around. One might imagne doing this without knowledge of the InDesign document that was exported to EPUB, but that's hardly a requirement.

                                         

                                        (There are a lot of potential confonuders with this approach, but it sure looks plausible at first cut.)

                                        • 17. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                          FlippyTheClown Level 1

                                          This would greatly reduce what you could do as far as design goes though, wouldn't it?

                                          Part of the magic of using InDesign is being able to create a great design, use the animation and interactive effects etc. I haven't worked with e-pubs, but from my understanding its quite limited from a design point of view isn't it?

                                          • 18. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                            [Jongware] Most Valuable Participant

                                            The only way to get your great designs out of InDesign is to export as PDF. Other platform solutions -- be it ePub, HTML, or anything else -- are just not up to that. If you are exporting to an XML/HTML based solution, you can forget all about "design" immediately.

                                             

                                            (Well, there's always Flash.)

                                            • 19. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                              Holly Valero Level 1

                                              Hmmm ... jailbreaking my epub manifest.  Kind of like digital fracking.  I don't know how much of a task mistress SCORM is, but it might be worth a try.  The first thing is to find out what the scorm file has to contain.  Maybe just cranking out something from captivate, then fracking that, and repurposing...

                                              • 20. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                                John Hawkinson Level 5

                                                Hmmm ... jailbreaking my epub manifest.  Kind of like digital fracking. 

                                                No, no, it's not jailbreaking!

                                                To jailbreak implies to bypass a restriction. EPUBs are not restricted, they are indeed designed to be opened and examined.

                                                 

                                                I suppose there are probably EPUBs with encryption or DRM or something, but those are not what InDesign exports.

                                                • 21. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                                  gbh2930

                                                  Are there any new answers to this issue?

                                                   

                                                  Does CS6 open up any new options?

                                                   

                                                  I'm trying to do the same thing...

                                                  • 22. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                                    Steve Werner Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                                                    InDesign CS6 has nothing designed for this market, I'm afraid.

                                                    • 23. Re: Export from InDesign to various LMS in a portable SCORM format
                                                      lindym77564703

                                                      Hi Steve,

                                                      I just bought InDesign for this exact purpose.   I am in L&D for a major Canadian company and want to create ePubs that can be self contained.  I may end up using interactive PDF but it isn't my first choice.

                                                      We have software that will provide the SCORM wrapper (for our learning mgt system) I just need to ensure that I can "package" the epub.

                                                       

                                                      I will be doing the testing with some samples in the next couple of weeks.  I will cycle back and let you know how I make out.  

                                                      Surprised that Adobe isn't focusing on this multi-billion dollar industry.   eLearning is only a small part.  It is the development /conversion of Instructor Guides where folks like me are trying to push boundaries.  (No more boring training )