Course Prerequisite Rules

Prerequisites are enrollment eligibility rules enforced by the LMS during the course enrollment process. Portal Administrators can establish rules related to a user’s position, user group membership or training history to specify eligibility requirements. These rules are strict, but can be adjusted at anytime. The concept is to configure courses to reserve enrollment for students who fulfill eligibility criteria, and therefore prevent all others from enrolling.

The Prerequisite feature can be used separately or in conjunction with Course Series setup, forcing students to complete a series of coursework in consecutive order. For more information on creating and managing a Series, please see related document: Bundle Multiple Courses into an Ordered Series.

To create Prerequisite Rules, follow this two-step process:

STEP ONE: Select Rule Entities

After searching and selecting the course you want to edit, click the Prerequisites tab. First, you must define the “Rule Entities” to be used in the enrollment eligibility formula. These can be based on Course completion, user Position assignment, or User Group membership. Position Groups, Certifications, and entire Curriculum programs can also be used as prerequisites, if enabled for your portal. 

To create an entity, click the appropriate link to launch a Picker and select a value. 

STEP TWO: Define the Rule

Once you have created a collection of rule entities, they must be applied with Operators to define prerequisites. Select an entity by clicking on the associated letter (A - Z) in the Label column, and then click on the relevant operator. The operators function as follows:

&            AND
|             OR
( )           Used for creating groups of entities
BKSP      Backspace button to remove the last symbol entered
CLEAR    Clears all rule setup

You can also type the letters and symbols into the Rule text box, if preferred. Continue to build rules in algebraic expression to complete the desired set of course prerequisites. Click Submit to save changes.

Note: If you create an Entity that is not used as part of the Rule, that entity will be removed from the prerequisite list when you click Submit.

Examples of Prerequisite Rule Setup and Functionality

In the example below, just one entity -- a single course -- was selected to ensure that only students who completed the prerequisite course A will be allowed to enroll in this course. Qualify the type of course completion requirement by how the required credit was achieved.
  • Course – Any completed transcript meets the rule, whether achieved by the student or granted by administrative override
  • Course by Exact Match – Course completion was achieved by the student
  • Course by Equivalency – Student received equivalent credit for the required course

Course Prerequisite tab with one rule assigned.

In this more complex example, the administrator has defined one position code and two courses as rule Entities. He then built the Rule to state that any student who is assigned Position A AND has completed (Course B OR Course C) can take this course. 

Example of Prerequisites tab with several rules applied.

The Student Experience - Enrolling in Courses with Prerequisite Rules

Prerequisites are often used in combination with Course Series functionality to enforce an ordered track of learning. Series can serve to auto-enroll students into a series of courses that are set to allow interests and do not require any type of approval or prerequisite course completion. However, when a student enrolls in a course that is part of an established Series and has Prerequisite course rules applied, Interest records are created (instead of enrollments) for all related courses until enrollment eligibility is met. 

When these course configuration features are properly applied, as the student completes each training event, the LMS automatically updates the student’s eligibility status for subsequent courses and finalizes enrollment for the next course in the series. Therefore, upon enrolling in a course that is part of a Series with Prerequisites, a student may see an entire bundle of coursework appear in the “Interest List” section of his or her homepage, and then watch the courses move to the “Live Courses” section (Classroom) or “Self-Studies” section (eLearning, Self Study, Assessment) as they continue through the series.

Students who try to enroll in a course with prerequisites, but do not meet eligibility criteria, are not offered an enrollment option. Instead, they will see an invalid eligibility status, and the option to view the prerequisite criteria they have and have not yet met.

Student enrollment conflict message listing outstanding Prerequisites.