What is SCORM?
SCORM is a set of technical standards for e-learning software products. SCORM tells programmers how to write their code so that it can “play well” with other e-learning software. It is the de facto industry standard for e-learning interoperability. Specifically, SCORM governs how online learning content and Learning Management Systems (LMSs) communicate with each other. SCORM does not speak to instructional design or any other pedagogical concern — it is purely a technical standard.
Can you help me with an example or analogy?
Let’s take DVDs for example. When you buy a new movie on DVD you don’t need to check to see if it works with your brand of DVD player. A regular DVD will play on a Toshiba the same as it will on a Panasonic. That’s because DVD movies are produced using a set of standards. Without these standards a studio releasing a new movie on DVD would have a big problem. They would need to make differently formatted DVDs for each brand of DVD player. This is how online learning used to be before SCORM was created.
The SCORM standard makes sure that all e-learning content and LMSs can work with each other, just like the DVD standard makes sure that all DVDs will play in all DVD players. If an LMS is SCORM conformant, it can play any content that is SCORM conformant, and any SCORM conformant content can play in any SCORM conformant LMS.
The Cost of Content Integration
What does SCORM stand for?
SCORM stands for “Sharable Content Object Reference Model”.
“Sharable Content Object” indicates that SCORM is all about creating units of online training material that can be shared across systems. SCORM defines how to create “sharable content objects” or “SCOs” that can be reused in different systems and contexts.
“Reference Model” reflects the fact that SCORM isn’t actually a standard. ADL didn’t write SCORM from the ground up. Instead, they noticed that the industry already had many standards that solved part of the problem. SCORM simply references these existing standards and tells developers how to properly use them together.
Do you produce SCORM?
No. SCORM is produced by ADL, a research group sponsored by the United States Department of Defense (DoD). Rustici Software is an independent company that specializes in helping other companies become SCORM conformant.
So how do you guys fit in the picture?
We’re here to help you make sense of SCORM. We love answering questions over an email or a phone call. We have products that make SCORM easy for you. SCORM Engine is the easiest route to making your LMS become SCORM conformant. SCORM Cloud is the perfect place to test your SCORM content, deliver it almost anywhere on the web, and track it. SCORM Driver is the quickest way to make your authoring tool produce SCORM conformant material.
What’s the future of SCORM?
The next generation of SCORM is happening right now. It’s called the Tin Can API. We’ve been working closely with ADL, imparting our decade of SCORM knowledge to make sure that the Tin Can API is a huge leap forward for the e-learning community. And you know what’s nice? All of our products already include Tin Can API support — whether you want a hosted or installed Learning Record Store (LRS), or you just want to send Tin Can activity from your content to an LRS.
How can I learn more?
Learn about SCORM from a business perspective.
Read about the technical implementation of SCORM.
Find more resources, including a glossary of common SCORM terms, a SCORM reference poster and links to other sites about SCORM.