SCORM Compliance and LMS: What Does It Mean to be ‘SCORM-Compliant’?

tin can scorm

What is SCORM Compliance?

SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. SCORM is a set of technical standards for e-Learning. SCORM Compliance means adherence to the industry standard for communication between online learning content and Learning Management Systems, enabling cross-platform and architecture compatibility of e-Learning software.

Why be SCORM Compliant?

Have you ever tried to open up a file on your computer, but couldn’t because it was formatted for different software than what you had installed? Problems like this become even more frustrating when they inhibit the completion of a work-related task. Many eLearning professionals realized that this issue was preventing their materials from achieving a more wide-spread audience. Companies don’t want to spend a ton of time and money on re-formatting educational materials so that they run on each individual system; so to solve this, they came up with the idea of a universal model that’s able to comply with a variety of learning management systems (LMS). It is called the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM).

SCORM is a Collection of Standards and Specifications!

Learning management systems are computer applications which distribute eLearning materials through an internet web browser. They make it so employees can take a training course from remote locations without having to first install the program from a portable drive. Also referred to as a ‘course management system,’ its main purpose is to deliver courseware plus eTutoring over the internet and keep track of students’ progress. SCORM then, is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based eLearning. It defines communications between client side content and a host system, called a “runtime environment,” which is commonly supported by an LMS. SCORM was subsequently invented to make it possible for different brands of LMS to have the ability to run programs created from different authoring tools.

SCORM-compliant LMS

This is a system that can accept any content that is also SCORM-compliant, and then make it available to users of the LMS. It aims to deliver content to learners by providing a runtime environment within which it launches the chosen content. This runtime environment must meet certain technical requirements defined by the SCORM specifications in order for the system to work.

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Learning Objects Explained Through SCORM

These are learning objects that are:

  • Delivered through a web browser (i.e. Internet Explorer or Chrome). Packaged in such a way that it can be imported by a compliant LMS or into a repository used by similar systems. (The IMS Global Learning Consortium created user-friendly packaging specifications to help guide instructional designers on effective ways to organize generic content. Check it out on their site.
  • Described by metadata.  (Metadata is defined as a dataset that exists to describe information about other data within the program). Organized as a collection or sequence (by the designer of the learning objects. Each new version of SCORM that is released features improved organizational methods).