(Last Updated: October 19, 2018)

Either you are a teacher, a course creator or an elearning professional, when reading this article; probably you have heard or read about SCORM (abbreviation for Sharable Content Object Reference Model) somewhere. What exactly it is? Is it necessary in online elearning? How to create good SCORM-compliant courses? This article will explain about SCORM, SCORM-compliant elearning courses, and the role of it in online elearning so anyone could have an overview about them.

First of all, take a quick look at what ActivPresenter – Best interactive elearning authoring software can help you in your courses.

What is SCORM?

Definition from Wikipedia:

SCORM is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based elearning. It defines communications between client side content and a host system called the run-time environment, which is commonly supported by a learning management system (LMS). SCORM also defines how content may be packaged into a transferable ZIP file called “Package Interchange Format”.

What does this mean?

For example, you have lessons/courses with text, image, audio… and you want to make it available as online elearning content. You also want to track your students/learners progress, score. How much percentage did they go? How much point did they get? What mistakes they usually make? Using SCORM you can quickly deploy elearning courses with all these features in 2 easy steps:

  • Package the lesson in a zip file which is SCORM-compliant. SCORM defines how to do this
  • Upload this file to a modern LMS (most popular is Moodle). How LMS understands this file? How this file tells LMS about score, answers… SCORM defines how they communicate with each other.

Some authoring tools can help you in building elearning courses, defining scores, and packaging to SCORM-compliant content ready for publishing to any LMS with SCORM support.


What’s an SCO (Shareable Content Object)?

A SCO represents the lowest level of granularity of a learning resource that is tracked by an LMS. It can contain its own bookmark, score and completion status. A SCO may present a chapter, a page, or something else. SCO can be reused across multiple learning contexts.

Why Authoring SCORM-compliant courses is necessary in online elearning?

  • SCORM defines the way for LMS manages courses automatically. It helps us save time and cost to manage the online elearning programs.
  • An SCORM compliant package can work within any LMS which supports SCORM standards, so the content creators, authoring tools, and LMSs don’t need to know each other. SCORM compliant contents can be reused in different training situations and systems.
  • SCORM is widely adopted by many organizations. The US Department of Defense mandated that all its elearning purchases must comply with SCORM standards. There are a lot of tools to create SCORM compliant contents and also many LMSs supporting SCORM standards.

 Which SCORM version should be used?

  • SCORM 1.1: This is the first production version. This version was quicky replaced by SCORM 1.2.
  • SCORM 1.2: This was the first version that was widely used. It is still widely used and is supported by most LMSs today.
  • SCORM 2004 1st: It has resolved many ambiguities of previous versions, Sequencing and Navigation is added. Sequencing specification is not fully implemented and has some problems. This version is not usable.
  • SCORM 2004 2nd: Defects in the 1st Edition are resolved. Adoption is not as wide as SCORM 1.2, to this point, but the number of LMS’s and content vendors supporting SCORM 2004 2nd is increasing greatly.
  • SCORM 2004 3rd: Enhance existing and add some new conformance requirements in Sequencing specification to improve interoperability between content objects and the run-time environment. It has significant adoption like 2nd Edition.
  • SCORM 2004 4th: More stringent interoperability requirements, more flexible data persistence. The new features in 4th Edition make creating sequenced content much simpler. It’s also widely used.

Depends on your content, using SCORM 1.2 may be good enough unless you want extra capabilities in SCORM 2004.

Have you decided to use SCORM in your teaching/training purposes? Do you want to create online computer skill tests, software tutorials or quizzes? It is good to start with ActivePresenter – The best Elearning Authoring tool.

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