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What is SCORM and how to create SCORM-compliant courses?

Many companies that are starting to organize their in-house professional development using elearning systems, are confronted with the question whether to create their courses SCORM-compliant, or if other options are the better choice. In this article we explain what SCORM is all about, how to create SCORM-compliant courses and in which cases it is best to use SCORM.

What is SCORM and how to create SCORM-compliant courses

What is SCORM?

SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is a standard for the distribution and exchange of electronic learning programmes. It enables learning modules from all kinds of sources to be compatible with various learning management systems (LMS) and that the learning progress of each learner can be transferred to the LMS safely.

SCORM was developed by the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative by order of the US Department of Defense. It was continually developed further over the years, so that there are several different SCORM standards now. The versions that are used most frequently are SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004.

What are the main features of SCORM-compliant systems?

  • Measuring the learning progress
  • Measuring the time users spend learning
  • Tracking passed / not passed results for single elements
  • Tracking single score results

In 2015, the ADL specified a new standard called experience API (xAPI, also Tin Can API) that has more features:

  • Better security
  • The possibility to track learning progress in games, simulations or mobile devices
  • Recording of detailed test results
  • Independence of LMS and browser
  • Seamless transition from one platform to the other (e.g. from mobile to desktop)
  • Tracking of offline learning activities
  • Tracking of adaptive learning
  • Tracking of blended learning

The only drawback is that the xAPI standard is not very common at present and the majority of LMS does not support it yet. Thus, it is only used by a small group of people right now.

How to create SCORM-compliant courses?

To create SCORM-compliant courses is not hard. Here is the standard procedure:

  • Create a course in an authoring tool that is able to publish to SCORM (e.g. Adobe Captivate, Articulate or easygenerator)
  • Publish the course as a SCORM content package. This will create a zip-file that you can save on your laptop or PC
  • Upload the SCORM content package to your learning management system and add learners to your course
  • The LMS will now track and record every individual persons' learning progress

In which cases should you use SCORM?

If your main business is the creation of elearning content for third parties, your customers will most likely use a learning management system. In order for your courses to run on your customer’s LMS, they have to be SCORM-compliant.

If you set up an LMS for your customers and they compile their learning content from different sources it has to be made sure, that those courses work on the LMS. This can be achieved through SCORM.

In both of these cases, the possibility to easily transfer SCORM content packages from one place to the other will benefit you. SCORM-compliant content can be transferred in the twinkling of an eye through download and upload.

If you want to be able to track and record the learning progress, SCORM is the easiest way to go. Regardless of your background being in the field of company professional development or in the field of general education, to be able to see the individual learning progress is a key feature in the world of elearning.

If you have further questions regarding this or a related topic, contact us and our consultants will be glad to help you.

Tel: +44 7979 70 63 82

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