A quick intro to SCORM


A quick intro to SCORM

You’ve probably heard of the benefits of SCORM but maybe you’re not quite sure what it’s all about. Here’s a quick guide to what this powerful tool is and how it can work to improve your organization’s e-learning operations.

SCORM, what is it?

SCORM is an acronym for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It’s all about making learning management systems (LMSs) and e-learning content compatible across many different SCORM-friendly systems. This makes it easier and faster to reuse content without having to tweak it for use on different platforms.

What are SCOs

Sharable Content Objects (SCOs) are the basic building blocks of SCORM. They are pieces of e-learning material that can be shared between various systems within a single organization and beyond. These can take different forms (like a single lesson, a piece of microcontent or a training module). Whatever forms they take, the SCOs are always free-standing and reusable.

Reference Model

SCORM is considered a “Reference Model” rather than a standard, because it is actually a combination of many different standards that were being used within the e-learning and web-based training industry. ADL designed SCORM to combine and reference these standards so that developers can make them work together.

How to use SCORM

There are two main SCORM versions being used today (SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004) and they both do essentially the same thing. Their main purposes are to package content and facilitate run-time data exchange between the SCOs and the LMS.

Content packaging is about creating the actual form in which the content will be distributed. SCORM’s packaging is based on an XML file called “imsmanifest,” which contains all the information an LMS needs for importing and automatically launching content. All data about how the course looks in terms of its actual layout and file structure is stored in the imsmanifest.XML file.

Run-time communication defines the way the SCO interacts with the LMS as it is in use. This interaction provides the ability to deliver the content and track learner interactions and results. The content must first locate the LMS. After that, it uses “get” and “set” calls and related vocabulary to communicate with the LMS and control the way the content is used. For example, it prompts the LMS to ask for the user’s name or other important tracking information. It also controls messages that the LMS displays to the learner. The entire interactive experience of the LMS is dictated by the breadth of the SCORM vocabulary being used, so the broader the vocabulary, the richer the learner experience.

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