What is SCORM & Decoding Its Importance For eLearning

What is SCORMLearning is an experience. Everything else is just information.

Imagine a situation where you are asked to create an eLearning program or search for a suitable learning management system (LMS) tool for achieving your training objectives. You encounter the term “SCORM” and start thinking, “What does it mean? Why is it important? What does it have to do with online learning?”

First up, don’t worry! You are not the only one. There are many like you who are still not aware of SCORM and what it can do for eLearning. When it comes to online learning, “SCORM” and “SCORM compliant” are common things.

Realizing that there is a huge population out there who are confused about this odd-sounding acronym, in this post we will present a complete overview of SCORM - what it is, why it is important, the right approach to implement it in your eLearning programs, and more. Continue reading to find out.

What is SCORM?

For those of you who are wondering what does SCORM mean, SCORM is an acronym that stands for “Sharable Content Object Reference Model”. It is a set of technical standards that were mainly developed for supporting eLearning tools. SCORM ensures the interoperability between online learning software. Moreover, this model is responsible for determining how eLearning content and a learning management system communicate with each other. Basically, SCORM covers two things: content packaging and effective data exchange.

While content packaging primarily focuses on the approach towards delivering a content piece, data exchange or runtime communication specifically deals with how the content ‘communicates’ with the LMS. SCORM’s vocabulary decides the richness of interactive experience communicated to the LMS. Among the varied variants of SCORM, SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 are most commonly used.

In a nutshell, to give a simple SCORM definition, SCORM is a standard that is responsible for ensuring that the instructional content will link with and appear appropriately within the LMS software when both are SCORM compliant. For this reason, if an LMS vendor claims its software as SCORM compliant, it means that the LMS you have selected supports integration with other SCORM compliant content authoring tools used for creating courses.

How Did SCORM Originate?

In the mid-90s, varied government agencies in the U.S. were leveraging online learning as a viable way to train the workforce in different departments. Every agency was engaged in the creation of its own personalized content and proprietary LMS. This created a lot of problems because there was no specific structure for online learning at that point in time. It meant that every content piece needed to be customized for a particular delivery system. This proved to be expensive and it also meant that if at any given time a business decided to switch to a new LMS tool, all of their earlier content would lose its value and become obsolete.

In 1999, the United States Department of Defense thought of standardizing eLearning production. They came up with the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) and created the SCORM. Despite facing robust competition from AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee), SCORM continues to dominate the online learning landscape.

Now that we know what gave rise to the need for SCORM, let’s have a look at its importance in today’s e-learning landscape.

Why is SCORM Compliance Important?

SCORM-compliant LMS or SCORM LMS comes with the proven ability to save time as it allows hassle-free content repurposing and boosts training efficiency by offering user data. When you have a SCORM compatible or SCORM-compliant LMS in place, you will be better informed when your course takers have completed the training and the areas where they need improvement.

In-depth information like these assumes relevance when creating content because they come in handy when you are out to create an engaging learning experience.

Here are some of the Benefits of SCORM Compliance:

  • Allows the usage of different authoring software tools
  • Reuse old eLearning content, upload external content, or transfer courses to a new LMS within minutes
  • Spend less time and resources on content development
  • Quickly adapt to individual and corporate needs
  • Make money by selling SCORM courses
  • Exists successfully outside the LMS tool. It means that you can install the SCORM file on your web portal without an LMS installation and let the unregistered users access content

In simple words, SCORM is the default standard for eLearning interoperability.


Read: Top 5 Benefits of SCORM in eLearning


What Can SCORM Do for eLearning Content?

SCORM takes care of programming procedures in eLearning tools. Basically, SCORM benefits everyone who is engaged in online training instructions because it ensures improved flexibility in selecting and switching tools. Content creation and deployment are much easier with SCORM.

SCORM’s standard coding protocol facilitates seamless interaction between online content and LMSs. Thanks to SCORM, instructor-based content can be tailored for every user without spending money, time and expensive resources on re-coding. Also, it supports a sophisticated delivery mechanism that reaches more learners.

What makes SCORM truly awesome is its ability to integrate online learning content with LMSs easily. It bears great resemblance to a DVD that works across any player. SCORM makes it possible for course authoring tools and LMSs to sync and work in close collaboration with each other.


Read: Delivering SCORM Learning on Mobile: Key Things You Should Know


Advantages of SCORM Compliant LMS

There are varied advantages of teaching with SCORM in your eLearning content. Here are some of them:

  • Easy accessibility: Developing SCORM content ensures easy access. Accessing instructional components from one location and then delivering it to other locations is easy. Once the content is live, it can be accessed from anywhere, anytime.
  • Easy to adopt: Yes, SCORM content makes it possible to reach learners and match their learning style. Instruction can be customized in accordance with individual and business needs. SCORM offers complete flexibility in content creation.
  • Boosts engagement: Gamification is the most desired thing in the eLearning domain nowadays. When some LMSs do not provide gamification features, using SCORM content to add your own “gamified” content is possible. Develop interactive content in your SCORM authoring tool and then import it to your LMS in minutes.
  • Cost-Effective: Making use of SCORM will let you boost efficiency and productivity by cutting the time and costs involved in conventional learning.

What’s Next for SCORM?

Although SCORM API is over 15 years old, it has done an excellent job of being a pioneering force in the world of eLearning. While many would argue that it needs a bit of facelift, you may be wondering - what’s the future of SCORM when its advanced version Experience API, better known as xAPI or Tin Can API, is already creating waves in the eLearning domain?

When it comes to SCORM vs. xAPI, it is good to know that xAPI is built upon SCORM. It comes with advanced features like tracking of mobile learning, learning that takes place outside the LMS, improves the mobility of learning records so that learners are able to take data when they switch jobs or schools, etc.
Despite xAPI fast gaining momentum in the online learning world, dethroning SCORM from its position as the preferred medium of eLearning is not likely to happen anytime soon. SCORM is strongly embedded in the eLearning industry, and businesses and instructors will continue to depend on it despite the ongoing technological advancement in the coming days.


Read: Benefits of a Tin Can API Compliant Learning Management System


Ready for SCORM eLearning?

In a rapidly transforming tech-driven world, providing the right training aimed at every specific user’s role isn’t an easy task at all. Having said that, if the eLearning tool is SCORM compliant, achieving targets is comparatively easier. SCORM is now the must-have support in all kinds of online learning environments.

ProProfs Training Maker is a SCORM compliant learning management system (SCORM LMS) that is compatible with SCORM compliant courses. Using it, you can easily import training material from other SCORM eLearning tools such as Articulate, iSpring, and Captivate. ProProfs LMS comes integrated with a Learning Record Store (LRS), which makes it super-easy for you to import course data from these eLearning tools.

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About the author

Songbedna Bauri

Songbedna Bauri is an astute and result-oriented professional with several years of experience in Content Writing. She has been associated with some of the top names from corporate, MNC and media industry. Exposed to varied areas of copywriting, editing, communications, she can be defined by key qualities such as experienced-backed judgment, solid work ethic and irreproachable integrity. Songbedna is a voracious reader. Khaled Hosseini's shattering debut work, The Kite Runner moved her infinitely. She is a news buff, believes in impartial news analysis.

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