Benefits of overwriting vs. hiding training materials

  • 24 May 2023
  • 3 replies

Userlevel 3

What are the benefits of overwriting a training material vs. hiding them (Specifically SCORM files)? I thought it was so in-progress users could continue taking the hidden training materials, while the visible ones were shown the active training materials (slowly phasing out), but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Is it just cleaner to overwrite? Does overwriting cause any issues aside from making in-progress users start over? I’ve always been so nervous with this. 

3 replies

Userlevel 4
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When you hide a training material from the settings option, it means that none of the users will be able to access the hidden training material. This can be useful when you want to completely remove the material from user view or make it temporarily unavailable.

On the other hand, overwriting training materials offers some benefits. When you overwrite a training material, the new version replaces the previous one, but users who are in-progress with the material can continue taking it without any disruption. This allows for a smooth transition to updated content while still accommodating users who are already engaged in the training.

Overwriting training materials is generally considered cleaner and more straightforward since it avoids confusion by presenting only the most recent version to users. It ensures that everyone accessing the training sees the same up-to-date content, eliminating potential inconsistencies or outdated information. However, it's important to note that overwriting training materials may cause in-progress users to start over if the content structure or questions have significantly changed, but their completion status remains "In Progress".

Userlevel 4

Depending on what your courses are, most organizations do not replace material because it sort of nullifies the previous training history. Most LMS platforms actually do not let you just change up training material if there are people in progress or completed. And if you have any compliance issues that you have to maintain you will not want to do this as a practice. 

You have to then keep track of change history outside of the LMS and document what has changed and how it has changed. If you just duplicate the existing course, make your changes, slap a new version on it, then you can roll out the new one, and retire the old one using the applicable availability dates in the system. You then keep your completion history accurate, do not have to worry about external data tracking changes, and can automate the roll out of the new updated course with fanfare and trumpets. 

Userlevel 4

@karilynnrussell Because my organization has compliance training we are more in line with the practices outlined with @gcrawford88. We can’t hold someone to standards from a previous version, don’t overwrite course files. We duplicate the course and use the course code to indicate it’s an updated version. Anyone who was incomplete or in progress in the old version is unenrolled from the old version and enrolled in the new version via CSV. Those with “completed” status retain the enrollment for their historical transcript, but the course is marked under maintenance. 


If you don’t have compliance training, what @Chelsy Koshy outlines is a much cleaner way to manage updates, but it doesn’t work well for compliance courses unfortunately due to the need to keep historical records for audits, litigation, etc.