SCORM. Probably, you’ve never heard about it. Even some eLearning professionals haven’t. And it’s natural as it concerns some technical things. Nevertheless, SCORM has great significance for building solutions for this industry. So, in this post we will explain, what does SCORM means, why it is so important for eLearning course development, and also go through its advantages and characteristics.
SCORM, or Sharable Content Object Reference Model, is a set of technical standards and specifications for eLearning web-based software products. It provides developers with guidelines explaining how to write code so that solutions they build “suit” other eLearning software. SCORM defines the way online learning content and learning management systems (LMSs) communicate and interact with each other. Speaking more precisely, SCORM governs communication between client side content and “the run-time environment” (a host system or system component), commonly provided by a LMS.
Also SCORM Content Aggregation Model (CAM) determines how content can be packaged in a transferable ZIP file for its exchange from system to system. It enables a standardized portability mechanism between various eLearning applications and products.
Thus, thanks to SCORM standard, learning content created for one platform or program, would be definitely understood by another. Speaking about characteristics, it’s all about eLearning content interoperability, reusability, and portability.
In the 1990s the US government was making a lot of online training courses across all of departments. Each of them generally built their own training programs and delivered them via the LMS of their choice, so it soon resulted in frequent content duplication and mess. As there were no standards and guidelines for creating eLearning content and developing eLearning software products, it let to lack of interoperability between the content and LMSs. Also back then eLearning (on the whole) was gaining more and more popularity.
Therefore, the Office of the United States Secretary of Defense created an initiative, namely Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), to develop a set of specifications for eLearning content as well as gather the already-existing ones. Later these guidelines became known as SCORM, which now is the most commonly used standard.
So, what are SCORM advantages? What it allows to do and why is it so important for eLearning industry? Partly we’ve answered above, but, surely, it’s not all. Well, let’s move to the SCORM benefits on the whole and also considering the question of eLearning application and course development in SCORM format.
1. Standardized specifications for eLearning software development
SCORM provided developers with a set of technical guidelines that told them how LMSs should read and present eLearning content, how they should “work” with them, how assessments should be scored, and much more. Thus, a lot was done to simplify the way eLearning content communicates with different LMSs, programs, and tools. The courses developed for one certain platform, now can be successfully read by another.
2. Easy communication between LMS and learning content
SCORM defines the communication between these two elements. Thanks to that a platform and elearning content “understand” each other. SCORM interoperability means that not only a certain system and content will greatly work together, but any supporting this standard.
However, without a reliable platform to distribute eLearning courses and quality content as well, a learning management system won’t work efficiently.
3. SCORM allows easier course content migration
One of the main SCORM benefits is that it allows courses, created according to this standard, to run in any learning management system supported SCORM. This in turn enables to easily migrate eLearning course content, if you need, for example, to move to a new LMS vendor.
4. Interactive eLearning course development
Building SCORM compliant eLearning course (as well as eLearning application development) provides lots of benefits, one of them is the possibility to make interactive quality eLearning content. With the help of SCORM authoring tools programmers can implement great features to engage learners. For instance, direct them to click on various elements (buttons, images, etc.), render dynamic text, include quizzes, exams, and tests within the course, and much more.
5. Great user experience
eLearning application and course development according to SCORM standard can allow you to provide learners with better user experience. With SCORM package you can combine assessment content and course and make it more engaging. It also simplifies the course or app logic. For instance, you want the course to be finished after learners pass the exam or complete test. So, by using SCORM authoring tools you place it directly after a general course program, which may involve topics, chapters, articles, videos, different tasks, and so on. This approach means that the whole content and final test are involved in a single SCORM unit with no separation.
6. “Monitor” learners while passing the course
As you see, developing SCORM compliant courses expands the possibilities related to user experience, convenience for learner to pass them, and content interoperability as well. But speaking about eLearning course or application development, it’s not all.
SCORM package can also allow you to “monitor” learners when they pass the course. For example, see the time they spend on a course (in general) and its tasks before completing them, time on each course element (how much time he or she spends on each page, answers questions after watching video, etc.), track their results and progress, and a lot more.
Speaking about eLearning course development in SCORM, one should tell about its possibilities. To some extent they can be called SCORM principles. They include:
Thus, SCORM technical standards significantly simplified life of programmers in what concerns eLearning system and application development. SCORM is a spread format in eLearning domain and one should be noted that we have experience in working with it.
So, in one of our latest projects we developed a Human Resource Management / eLearning platform.
For system implementation we used SCORM format which was an efficient solution for content interoperability, product quality, and work simplification on the whole. The project is called Unius and you can find more about it here.
We hope that the article has been useful for us. We are always ready to answer your questions and offer you meaningful recommendations to your project or idea implementation.
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