In general, passion and anger don’t mix with software standards for me. I believe we’re doing good work, I think SCORM is really effective, and I hope we’re doing our part to further its ongoing success. But… we often find ourselves mired in discussions over semantics or other companies’ arguments about minutiae. Over these things, there is little need for passion and anger.

If you develop an LMS or determine its functionality, though, I have a favor to ask of you. Please, please, please… do not implement part of the SCORM standard. I have encouraged many prospective customers to steer away from SCORM. I have no problem with companies that control their content and their platform electing to avoid SCORM completely if they have no use for interoperability. But if you have use for some aspects of SCORM, for your sake and mine, finish the job, complete the implementation, even go so far as getting certified.

Why? Why not do just what you need?

  1. Do you really know what you need right now? Do you know your target content well enough to say that definitively? [No, you don’t… you have no way of knowing for certain which data model elements are important to this piece of content.]
  2. Do you know what you’ll need from the next piece of content? What if it comes from another tool or vendor?
  3. Side effects. As you have some success with one piece of content, it will give you a false sense of security. Some other piece of content will come along and fail to function, and the reason for its failure won’t be apparent to anyone. These are the kinds of problems that will occupy you and others indefinitely. This is undoubtedly costly to your business, and not just in the short term.
  4. Your content vendors will hate you!
  5. There’s simply no logical point at which to stop. Do you need to be able to retrieve the learner’s name? Yes. What about the review mode? Well, probably, but does your content use it? What about interaction reporting? No, we have no content that reports interactions… It is a slippery slope in the worst sense.

So, I’m begging. Please stop now, stop before you start to implement a part of SCORM. If SCORM is important to you (and it should be in a lot of cases), then do it right. Go all the way. I’d love for you to use [intlink id=”scorm-solved”]our tools[/intlink] to do it. But even if you don’t, please finish the job.

Tim is the chief innovation and product officer with our parent company LTG, though he used to be CEO here at Rustici Software. If you’re looking for a plainspoken answer to a standards-based question, or to just play an inane game, Tim is your person.