Update: The Chrome changes described below were deferred by Google due to the coronavirus pandemic. They went into effect on 14 July 2020, with enforcement enabled for Chrome versions 80 and up.
Our preparations for Chrome 80
The changes originally slated for the 4 February 2020 update to the Google Chrome browser may impact elearning content viewed on Chrome. There is no impact on other browsers, such as Firefox, Safari, or Internet Explorer. We proactively patched our systems in October 2019 and have been working with our publishers and Learning Management System (LMS) partners to ensure a smooth transition.
Since releasing the patch, our testing has revealed no negative impact on OpenSesame content, and the OpenSesame player is performing as expected.
Changes introduced in Chrome 80
What changed? Up until Release 80, Chrome had allowed webpages to send data immediately when a visitor closed a page or navigated away (as “synchronous XHR”). Chrome had also provided a security tool for cookies (“SameSite=Lax”), but had not been enforcing that as a default setting.
Release 80 no longer allows pages to send such data when a visitor leaves. Google’s reasoning is that the activity harms performance and there are better alternatives. (Details here.) The release also makes “SameSite=Lax” the default for cookies, which is intended to prevent certain types of cyberattacks. (Details.)
Potential impact on elearning
Why does this matter? If a course was designed to complete or post information to an external URL upon exit, and it was left unpatched, learners using Chrome may experience problems with progress saving or completions registering. Unpatched systems that relied on the removed Chrome behavior may also fail to read cookies, which could impact progress and completions.
While OpenSesame courses are working as intended, and our systems were patched in October, this Chrome update may affect other elearning providers. We recommend confirming with your LMS (and any other third-party content vendors you might use) that they are also prepared and patched.
If you are experiencing any problems with your OpenSesame courses, please do not hesitate to contact us.