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What is SCORM? Find Out How It Works

As you research online learning and LMS platforms, the acronym SCORM will often appear. What is it?

What is SCORM? Find Out How It Works

SCORM stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model

And what does that mean?

The most accepted explanation is that SCORM defines a specific way of building a learning management system (and training content) so that they work well with other SCORM-compliant systems.

Specifically, Shareable Content Object refers to online training material that can be shared across systems. The objects can, therefore, be reused in different systems and contexts.

SCORM files can be shared

The Reference Model reflects the fact that SCORM isn’t actually a standard. Many standards exist, so SCORM references these existing standards and tells developers how to properly use them together.

What you really need to know is that SCORM is the technology that enables your training course to load and display inside your LMS.

How does SCORM work?

There are two aspects that make SCORM function: packaging content and exchanging data.

  • Packaging content determines how a piece of content should be physically delivered. There is a file inside the SCORM package that imports and launches content without human intervention. In other words, the file enables the LMS to fetch and display a specific piece of content to the user.
  • Exchanging data refers to how the content “talks” to the LMS while the content is actually playing. In layman’s terms, this is what we call delivery and tracking. In technical terms, the content undergoes a series of “get” and “set” functions, such as “request the learner’s name” and “tell the LMS that the learner scored 95% on this test.”

So when you hear the term “SCORM package,” this is what they are referring to – it’s all the information to fire up the course in your LMS.

Is SCORM required?

Technically, no. However, SCORM is a powerful and beneficial tool for content creators and administrators. You can create content once and use it in many different systems and situations without modification. This kind of plug-and-play functionality ultimately saves you time. There’s little downside to incorporating a SCORM package inside your LMS.

That said, you’ll want to make sure that the LMS you select is SCORM-compliant. As you can imagine, LMS and SCORM go hand-in-hand. When an LMS is SCORM-compliant, it’ll accept any content that is also SCORM-compliant and then make it available to users throughout the LMS.

To reiterate, SCORM can be a valuable tool if you plan to reuse content, such as a welcome video or introductory training course. It can also be useful if you have courses that share learning objectives and therefore have crossover training modules.

If you’re not sure whether SCORM will be necessary for the delivery of your online training courses, give us a call at (800) 460-2575. We can help you with your instructional design needs and the delivery of your content.

About Lesley Baulding

Lesley has been passionately advocating for and working with green building and renewable energy since 2009. She has experience with LEED certification, home energy auditing, blower door testing, solar energy, and more. She holds many certifications, including LEED Green Associate and NABCEP Certification. Her work has won numerous awards over the past decade.