SumTotal LMS

LMS Vendor:

Vendor's website


SumTotal is one of the largest paid-for LMS systems and incorporates Learning Management, Learning Content Management, Offline Learning, Content Versioning, a course authoring tool called Toolbook, e-Commerce capabilities, mobile learning options, social learning,and a full range of reporting/analytics.  They also claim to be the global leader in talent management software, which is where more and more LMSs are positioning themselves.

Like many of the larger LMS vendors, SumTotal likes purchasing other smaller LMSs to supplement its market share.  For example, in early 2011 they purchased GeoLearning.

SumTotal version 8 is the only version for which I've been able to obtain comprehensive System Admin documentation.  According to this doco, SumTotal 8 is SCORM 1.2 and 2004 compliant, and can also accept AICC content as well a a large number of other formats. See the caveats below for clarification on how SumTotal works with Captivate content.  It would seem that the safest option is to go with SCORM 2004, if your version of SumTotal supports it.

From the Articulate website you can also download a PDF about how to modify aspects of the SumTotal SCORM Player via an API.

Known Issues:

I have one large client using SumTotal version 8 and we've successfully tested Captivate single-SCO and Mulit-SCO SCORM packages using either SCORM 1.2 or 2004 settings. (See the screenshots below.)

Judging by the number of posts about it in the Adobe forums, SumTotal seems to give Captivate developers more than its fair share of issues.  Finding information on the company website about SumTotal's SCORM support is almost impossible. (If you know where it is, please send me the link!) So the following information has been gleaned from the comments of other SumTotal users.

SumTotal only accepts Complete/Incomplete status when reporting to SCORM 1.2.  But can use both Complete/Incomplete and Pass/Fail if reporting to SCORM 2004.  Ensure your reporting options are set correctly for this limitation. Note also the mention of SumTotal and use of the Complete/Incomplete status in this Adobe Blog Post from March 2009:

Here's another thread where a solution was offered for the issue where SumTotal exits a course early if the user passes:

Note the information provided in this Adobe Blog e-Seminar: 

Finishing too early:
This is another SumTotal issue that relates to the use of Complete/Incomplete status. See the above Adobe e-seminar for more information.

Some users report that it was necessary to modify the Captivate HTM and imsmanifest.xml templates in order to get Captivate content to work properly.  SumTotal plays the content in a frameset with a banner.  See this post for a possible solution:

See this (very comprehensive) forum post where a number of users offer suggestions for SumTotal. One of them states it was necessary to change the value of the variable for g_intAPIOrder to 1 in the HTM SCORM template:

This thread also deals with an issue where SumTotal would not allow a Multi-SCO course to successfully complete due to daisy-chaining of SCOs within the package:  The best way to implement daisy chaining is to let the LMS handle it.

For those that are using older versions of SumTotal, this link provides information on setting up Captivate content to work with SumTotal version 6.5.  The version of Captivate shown in the screencaptures is version 1.0!! So this article dates back quite a long way, but does have a number of good tips. For example, it points out that LMSFinish does not get sent to the LMS unless you set the Captivate Project End option to Close.   This will then trigger SumTotal to automatically load the next SCO module (if there is a next one). 

In part 2 of this same tutorial ( note the writer's statement that you must have at least ONE scored element somewhere in the module in order to be SCORM compliant. This correlates with a suggestion that seems to be often repeated with SumTotal users about placing a button on the second last slide of the movie that the user is required to click. This button is set with 0 score but included in the quiz. I've not had to do this when working with SumTotal but that would probably be due to the fact that all of my courses have scored assessments in each module. It's always worth a try if your course doesn't have scored components and doesn't seem to be recording completion status as expected.

Recommended Captivate Settings:

The actual Captivate settings you use seem to depend very much on the kind of result you are trying to achieve for the course.  SumTotal users report trying a wide variety of settings without success. Yet I have been able to get Captivate modules to successfully report to SumTotal using the following settings:

Settings for the imsmanifest.xml file are shown below.  Note particularly the setting for the duration of the module.  Specifying a duration in minutes, as opposed to leaving this setting blank, seems to prevent error messages in some LMSs.


This page provides details about how to configure Adobe Captivate elearning content for compatibility with the Learning Management System named above. However, this information needs to be sourced from actual users of the LMS and should ideally be updated with each new version of Captivate released. I add any relevant information to this page for the benefit of other Captivate users like yourself.

If you personally use Captivate with this LMS, can you share the Quiz settings you successfully use, or at least state the issues you have encountered so far? If so, please leave a comment below, or contact me personally using the button provided.  THANK YOU FOR CONTRIBUTING!


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