What is SCORM?

SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model.  The SCORM standard was driven by the Department of Defense (DoD) so that it could reuse the training it was buying  across the various Learning Management Systems (LMS) the U.S. government used.  In 1999, the DoD tasked ADL to create a common specification and standard for e-learning to drive e-learning interoperability between LMS’.  SCORM was released in 2001 and was quickly adopted by both government and industry. Today it is the de facto standard for e-learning interoperability.

SCORM is a set of technical standards that allow e-learning products interoperability.  Interoperability is the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged. SCORM defines a specific way of constructing Learning Management Systems and training content so that they work well with other SCORM conformant systems.

Sharable Content Object (SCO) indicates that by adhering to the model you can create units of online e-learning training material that you can use across different e-learning platforms.

Reference Model implies that instead of creating the standard from the ground up ADL referenced and harmonized already existing industry standards from AICCIMS and the IEEE LTSC.

The SCORM standard basically defines two things 1) How the course is packaged 2) How data is exchanged between the course and the LMS.

A SCORM package contains information required but the LMS to import and launch content in an XML file (lmsmanifest).  The LMS Manifest file answers questions about the physical file structure of the data as well as course information (such as course name)

The data exchange definition defines how the course should interchange information with the LMS.  It allows the course to make requests of the LMS–“get calls”–like “Ask the learner’s name”.  It also allows the course to “set” information in the LMS such as “The learner scored 80% on this test.”

It is vital to choose an LMS that is SCORM certified.  SCORM is the de facto standard for the industry.   Content creation tools such as Lectora, Articulate and Dreamweaver produce SCORM compliant packages.   You can also buy courses that are packaged for SCORM compliance.  If you decided to change to a new LMS your courses will still work.


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