SCORM is composed of three sub-specifications
- The Content Packaging section specifies how content should be packaged and described. It is based primarily on XML.
- The Sequencing section specifies how the learner can navigate between parts of the course (SCOs). It is defined by a set of rules and attributes written in XML.
SCORM specifies that content should be packaged in a self-contained directory or a ZIP file. This delivery is called a Package Interchange File (PIF). The PIF must always contain an XML file named imsmanifest.xml (the “manifest file”) at the root. The manifest file contains all the information the LMS needs to deliver the content. The manifest divides the course into one or more parts called SCOs. SCOs can be combined into a tree structure that represents the course, known as the “activity tree”. The manifest contains an XML representation of the activity tree, information about how to launch each SCO and (optionally) metadata that describes the course and its parts.
The sequencing specification allows the content author to govern how the learner is allowed to navigate between SCOs and how progress data is rolled up to the course level. Sequencing rules are represented by XML within the course’s manifest. Sequencing operates on a tracking model that closely parallels the CMI data reported by SCOs during run-time. Sequencing rules allow the content author to do things like:
- Determine which navigational controls the LMS should provide to the user (previous/next buttons, a navigable table of contents, etc).
- Specify that certain activities must be completed before others (prerequisites).
- Make some parts of a course count more than others toward a final status or score (creating optional sections or providing question weighting).
- Randomly select a different subset of available SCOs to be delivered on each new attempt (to enable test banking, for instance).
- Take the user back to instructional material that was not mastered (remediation).
Where does Rustici Software fit in to the picture?
As you’re starting to see, SCORM is a complicated standard to fully support. The time it takes to become SCORM conformant is generally measured in “developer years”. Our products reduce this complexity dramatically. An LMS can become SCORM conformant with SCORM Engine in a matter of weeks, with full support (of the standard, and our product.)