SCORM Explained

SCORM Conformance, Compliance, etc… which is it?

SCORM Explained

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Conformance vs. Compliance… people actually care!

We standards folks are a raucous bunch, aren’t we? Throw in the word “certified” and people get really excited about it. Let’s go ahead and break the terms down…


Carnegie Mellon defines it like this: “Action or behavior in correspondence with current customs, rules, or styles.” That’s a pretty good fit. Conformance, without a doubt, is something to shoot for in the SCORM world. It is not, however, the same thing as being certified, which you’ll see in a moment.


Definitions of the word compliance are really all over the place. They are less precise than those for conformance. This, I guess, is why we standards folks prefer the use of the word conformance here. Most people, however, will understand completely if you indicate that you are SCORM compliant or seeking SCORM compliance.

Both conformant and compliant mean that a product was developed to the SCORM standards and the vendor has most likely passed the self test suites, but this fact has not been verified by an independent testing agency.


Not to be confused with certifiable, this one has special meaning. It states specifically that the product being discussed has been certified by ADL, the governing body for SCORM. If someone claims to be SCORM certified, their product needs to be listed here. Accomplishing this requires passing the SCORM test suites and going through the testing process with ADL.