What is SCORM?

SCORM standing for – Shareable Content Object Reference Model, is a technical specification for eLearning software products. It is a set of technical standards that tells programmers how to write their code to perform well with other eLearning software. It standardizes how eLearning courses are created and how they’re launched. In other words, it provides the communication method and data models that allow eLearning content and LMSs to work together. SCORM also enables e-learning providers to track their learners’ progress and using that data to deliver a better learning experience. Thus, SCORM governs two things: packaging content and run-time. SCORM defines precisely how the learning content should be structured within its file to be correctly launched, interpreted, and tracked in terms of packaging content. The run-time specifies how the learning object communicates to the LMS. SCORM is a tool that enables active & efficient online training. More precisely, SCORM allows authors to distribute their content to various Learning Management Systems with the slightest effort possible. It also aids an LMS in handling content from a variety of sources.

Why SCORM?

Usage of SCORM is advisable because it grants you the freedom to switch between the LMS to grow and adapt your business as your needs evolve. You might just be training your employees with an established LMS right now, but eventually, the training can be sold to other organizations looking to follow your success. If you choose to implement a SCORM template now, you’ll be able to profit when it comes time to expand your assets quickly. Moreover, content can be created one time and used in various systems without modification.

Choosing the Best SCORM Compliant LMS

Compliance is a term that refers to a broad range of solutions of different quality. Thus, a SCORM compliant LMS is an online platform that recognizes SCORM. Both the LMS and the eLearning course must be SCORM-compliant so that the data is sent between them, and the admin can run reports to see who has looked at the eLearning course and track their progress accordingly. In other words, SCORM compliant software supports the most elementary level of interaction between courses and the LMS. That includes basic commands for communication, saving progress, and terminating. Apart from the LMS being SCORM compliant, it can also be SCORM conformant or SCORM certified. For most users, there exists no difference between SCORM compliance and conformance. However, the difference is in the number of computer-managed instruction (CMI) elements in different levels of support. On the other hand, SCORM certified LMS assures that a specific product under discussion gets certified by the SCORM governing body.

Before choosing your SCORM compliant LMS, it’s a great idea to ask yourself few questions.

Which SCORM versions are supported? Is there a preferred edition?

Several versions of SCORM range from SCORM 1.0, set up in 2000, to the most recent SCORM 2004. It is possible that an LMS supports all editions of SCORM but works better with a specific edition. Thus, while choosing the version you want your LMS to support, it’s imperative to analyze the features you want from it.

Do I need the LMS SCORM certified by ADL?

ADL is the governing body for SCORM. For an LMS that needs SCORM certification, it needs to have passed ADL’s examination method. If the LMS is not officially certified by ADL, it’s essential to check the features it includes to ensure it can support the roll-out of your eLearning in the best possible way.

Are all SCORM compliant LMSs the same?

SCORM has a compulsory part but few elements that can be added optionally. Since bookmarking & results per learning objective are optional, if you want to buy an authoring tool or an LMS, you should check if they support the elements you need. Moreover, If the results are stored in the database of your LMS, it does not necessarily mean you can get them out quickly. Some LMS have complete reports or allow you to create your own. So, if you want to make sure that the LMS does what you need, it’s a great idea to check the reporting function.

What will work best with my SCORM compliant authoring tool?

LMSs offer several ways for you to add your eLearning to the site. Some LMSs offer bulk upload features beneficial if you’re dealing with many files and SCORM packages. Others provide different ways for you to cater to the course created for your learners. You also need to make sure your eLearning is SCORM compliant. The most accessible means to do this is to create it using an authoring tool that automatically outputs courses as SCORM packages, thus energizing work & saving time.

Do I need another tool to produce SCORM?

There’s an option to build courses with the LMSs own native course builder. Suppose your need is to deliver internal training that’s compliance-focused. In that case, you can create a course by uploading the materials such as video and other documents, with an assessment added at the end. Though this content is much easier and less expensive to create, it will not be SCORM compliant. However, if SCORM is a must, then you’ll need an authoring tool. An authoring tool is software built specifically for creating eLearning courses.

What does a SCORM course look like?

It depends on the content. Since most of the SCORM courses are developed by famous authoring tools, they follow a similar structure. A basic summary is that a SCORM course is like a PowerPoint presentation with an additional layer of interactivity.

What is tracked by a SCORM course?

During a SCORM course, several pieces of data are being monitored. This data is being tracked and transferred back to the LMS. If a course is SCORM compliant, it can save about everything. This includes the result of a course (failed, passed, and end score), questions answered (correct or incorrect), pages viewed, time duration for a page view, total time spent, score per learning objective, incomplete results, and progress (so the learner can resume a course later). Two other essential data tracked by the LMS from information sent by the SCORM course: are Suspend Data & Mastery Score. SCORM course bookmarks the learner’s position in a course. The learner can resume where they left off if they are interrupted. This can be important for those trying to fit training into a busy schedule. Mastery Score implies passing score. In other words, learners must score above or equal to this score to pass the module.

SCORM vs. xAPI

SCORM was a system that helped change the face of eLearning, allowing content to move seamlessly between different LMS and giving the ability to track user data. In the meantime, we saw the rise of mobile learning & more was known about the learning habits of users; it was time for a new system to be developed. When comparing xAPI vs. SCORM, the main difference is that xAPI allows tracking learning activity from multiple contexts online and offline, not just on the LMS. It is a newer technology that can integrate mobile and offline learning in a way SCORM simply cannot.

xAPI allows creators to track, assess, personalize and enhance the learning experience of users in a much more nuanced and informative manner. SCORM only monitors desktop LMS activity, but xAPI extracts data from multiple sources (online and offline) into one place, a learning record store. This explains a complete data set that illustrates where and how learning occurs and, crucially, where it does not.

SCORM - Pros & Cons

Choosing whether or not to use SCORM usually depends on your requirements. It promises cross-platform compatibility and much more. Let’s take a look at the pros & cons to help you choose.

Pros

Cons

Conclusion:

SCORM seems to offer an exceptional opportunity in terms of interoperability and support, but there are apparent drawbacks that can increase bandwidth and IT support costs. Moreover, it can present serious security risks to your servers and users’ computers. There are better technologies available that are more secure, cheaper to install and mantain, and more efficient.

Conclusion:

SCORM seems to offer an exceptional opportunity in terms of interoperability and support, but there are apparent drawbacks that can increase bandwidth and IT support costs. Moreover, it can present serious security risks to your servers and users’ computers. There are better technologies available that are more secure, cheaper to install and mantain, and more efficient.

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