What is SCORM-compliant? Benefits and requirements

It can be hard to navigate your first experience with e-learning. Apart from choosing tools and creating content, there are also many standards to comply with. The most well-known is SCORM. But what does that mean? What is SCORM compliance, and what are the benefits? That’s what we’ll cover in this article.

By Kasper Spiro on Sep 19th

what is scorm compliant

What is SCORM-compliant?

Learning Management Systems used to be a lot harder to use. In the early days of e-learning, creating content within an LMS often resulted in an issue known as vendor lock-in. This meant you couldn’t move your content to another LMS or learning system, making it stuck.

Since then, The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) initiative developed an e-learning standard format to combat this issue and ensure consistency across e-learning software: SCORM.

SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Material. Exporting your content as a SCORM package allows you to share it between different e-learning systems, including LMSs and authoring tools. Essentially, SCORM creates a language that allows different e-learning software to communicate with and host each other’s content.

That’s why a course that meets this standard is called SCORM-compliant.

Apart from transferring content, SCORM compliance enables you to track and trace your learners’ progress. Some insights include their quiz results, time spent on an assignment, and whether they passed or failed a course. If you’re creating a course in an authoring tool, exporting it as a SCORM package will allow you to continue tracking these insights in an LMS.

What are the technical requirements of SCORM compliance?

You can identify whether your course is SCORMcompliant by the way itdigitally packaged. Once you’ve downloaded your course as a SCORM package, it should generate a ZIP file containing several key itemsparticularly: 

  • Imsmanifest.xml — This is an XML file that describes what’s in the ZIP and contains important data that enables an LMS to successfully deliver your course. To ensure your course is LMS-readable, this file must be at the root of your ZIP. 
  • Media files — There will likely be several media files containing different aspects of the course you’ve created, including font types and images. 
  • HTML and JavaScript files — You’ll likely also find HTML and JavaScript files that allow your content to run on a browser.

Setting up your course to be SCORM-compliant is easy. Here are the steps you should take: 

  1. Create your course  either in an authoring tool like Easygenerator or in an LMS. 
  2. Publish your course as a SCORM package. This will create the ZIP file of the course that you can save on your PC/laptop.  
  3. Upload the SCORM package to your LMS and start adding learners to the course.  
  4. Let the LMS track and store all the learners’ results. 

What are the benefits of SCORM?

There are two versions of SCORM that are widely adopted: SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Let’s look at the benefits of the SCORM standard in general.

  • Easy sharing

    It’s easy to move content from one location to another. If a course is SCORM-compliant, it’s just a matter of downloading and re-uploading the content as a SCORM package.

  • LMS-compatible

    SCORM packages can be uploaded to various LMS. That means you can easily reuse training or use it for various customers, partners, or organizations.

  • Expands LMS choices

    As a result, SCORM also offers a lot of freedom in choosing an LMS, because almost any LMS can recognize SCORM courses.

  • Learner tracking

    It‘s possible to track and trace learners’ results. Whether used in a company, an educational setting, or for personal use, being able to see your learners’ results is a key feature for e-learning.

  • Ownership over learner experience

    With SCORM, you’re in charge of creating the structure of training. You decide in which sequence a learner sees each learning module. That gives you a lot of freedom in creating a learner experience.

Do I need SCORM?

Do you want to be able to create training easily, and use it to upload it to one or more LMS? Do you want to be able to track the results of your learners? If the answer is yes, you will need to use SCORM. If not, you can just work with an authoring tool that allows you to use xAPI and you will be able to publish. Want to learn more about xAPI and how it works? Check out our SCORM and xAPI guide.

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About the author

Kasper Spiro is the CEO of Easygenerator and a recognized thought leader in the world of e-learning. With over 30 years of experience, he is a frequently asked keynote speaker and well-renowned blogger within the e-learning community.

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