Preview mode is a course development feature that can sometimes cause issues for course builders who are unfamiliar with what it does and how it works. What it does is that after saving changes made in the editing screen, the course player will refresh automatically displaying the changes made. However, as part of the refresh the course player is put into ‘preview mode’.
You can recognise preview mode easily as it will remove the course name as well as thumbnail. The images below show the difference between a normal course player screen and one in preview mode.
Normal course player
Course player in preview mode
Some course builders can experience issues with this as progress made through a course whilst in preview mode is not transferred through to the live enrolment. For example, a course builder creates a course adds a module to it and then creates a catalogue item and begins to work through it. After saving the content on the 2nd page, the course goes into preview mode and the course builder continues to develop the course and eventually finishes building. At this time the thumbnails will indicate that the course is 100% complete. But, when they then go to test the certificate, the course is not complete. The only page that is complete is the introduction one. All the rest of the screens were “completed” in preview mode. And, as we said, this progress is not kept.
If you do not like the sound of preview mode, it can be avoided quite easily. Simply right-click the edit button and select ‘open in a new tab’. Just remember that you will need to manually refresh the initial course screen to see your changes (the F5 key is helpful here). This is not really needed for text changes as you can see the text inside the editor. This is mostly useful for hotspots and other interactions such as quizzes etc.
In summary preview mode is a feature than can be both beneficial and frustrating. As you progress with your knowledge in the CLS you will find out if preview mode works for you or if it doesn’t.