Sooner or later, everyone who enters the world of e-learning is confronted with the question: “What is SCORM?
The truth is that the acronym for this concept is full of many technical terms and, even if you use it, it is not usually clear to you exactly what it is.
In this post we will explain what is SCORM and give you all the information you are looking for.
In case you are already working with this SCORM standard and you have problems after downloading the package from the provider’s website, in the following link you will find solutions for this and other cases in which SCORM does not work.
Now, discover all the ins and outs behind SCORM!
What is SCORM
What does SCORM mean?
Although commonly known as SCORM, this standard refers to the Shareable Content Object Reference Model.
It is a set of specifications aimed at standardising the production of e-learning content.
In other words, a model that helps to ensure that learning content (that complies with these standards) can be reused and imported into different e-learning platforms.
What does SCORM stand for in e-learning?
In short, the SCORM course specifications allow all professionals who develop e-learning content to use the same standards when producing and packaging their proposals, so that they can be reproduced in any compatible LMS.
As we have already mentioned, this model makes it possible to create training content that can be integrated into different platforms.
How does it work?
Specifically, this standard allows us to ‘package’ from an activity to a complete course following a set of rules so that it can communicate with the platform where it is hosted.
With this model, in addition to displaying content, communication is established so that the SCORM package can report times, progress, grades and other variables specific to the elearning platform.
It is the responsibility of the content creator to correctly configure the passing of these parameters to the virtual campus.
Likewise, it is the responsibility of the virtual campus to receive and store the information it receives.
What are the advantages of creating a SCORM course?
This e-learning SCORM standard will provide you with multiple benefits.
Among the advantages offered by the creation of content in this format, the most important is the visualisation and operation of the content from any LMS.
In any case, we are talking about a format full of advantages.
Specifications of resources following the SCORM standard
Resources created based on the SCORM standard must be accessible from multiple management platforms.
All the contents that have been created through this model can be reused, using the same learning object in different courses or training alternatives.
In this way, you can adapt your resources according to the training needs of your students.
Another advantage of using this SCORM standard within the eLearning universe is its ubiquity, since it allows access to resources regardless of time and device.
4- Sequenced and structured
Keeping order is always important, and the SCORM standard is well aware of this. This is why all content based on it is perfectly structured between them, determining the order in which it is displayed.
As if that weren’t enough, it incorporates rules and requirements when accessing a certain section. Everything is easy and simple for the platform to which we incorporate it!
5- Personalized follow-up
Among the services of the SCORM standard format we can also highlight the recording of each student’s activity with respect to the content.
In this way, it is possible to know where the student is in the training and how he is progressing.
What isn't SCORM?
It may seem obvious, but we regularly hear phrases like “I’m creating SCORM content because it’s more visual and has animations” or “I’ve made my content for SCORM software because it’s interactive”.
Well, let’s find out:
What is SCORM, then? Simply put, it is the packaging of the content.
It can contain a single sentence, or we can have SCORM that houses complete courses, with multiple formats, dozens of web pages, images, videos…
More information on the official SCORM site.
But… Do I really need a SCORM course?
Given this difficulty in getting into areas that we probably do not know about, the first thing we must ask ourselves is whether we need the content to be SCORM compliant.
If you need external content, you will surely be obliged to have it provided by the provider in SCORM format, which is the most standard. And SCORM’s providers can also give problems, but problems with access permissions or navigation are much more frequent than the basic SCORM programming, to which you are very accustomed.
But if the content is yours, consider that there may not be an objective reason to do the courses in a format that can complicate your life.
We have seen that the belief that the contents must be in Scorm standard is quite widespread. And no, this is not the case; SCORM standard allows the same content to work on different platforms, but it is not required, it does not even provide any value if you are not going to work on different virtual campuses.
There are elearning platforms like evolCampus 😉 in which you can create all kinds of content, without having to be SCORM: web page format, PDF, presentation, tests, video, audio, etc.
As they are created and loaded on the platform itself, we avoid the possible errors and loss of data that we may have with SCORM.
You make sure that they will look and work correctly. You can update and extend them in real time without depending on third parties and without losing what has been done so far. You will be able to use the platform’s own features and not only those allowed by SCORM standard.
On the other hand, it will not be exportable to another platform, but all the files from which each activity starts will still be in your possession (texts, videos, audios…), so you will only have to configure them with respect to the characteristics of the platform.
Our recommendation is that, if you have few courses that do not require complexity or special features, try to create them from the LMS itself, if it allows it and is easy to do.
And if I have to work with third parties… What do I have to ask my elearning content provider?
If you do not have your own content and require third parties to create content, you should know what to ask your provider.
We would like to review some issues to consider when ordering or buying SCORM content or even if you are finally creating SCORM content yourself.
We will focus on the technical and less visible part.
Ask if SCORMs are made with Flash. If they are, this content will not be displayed on mobile devices, unless we force our students to use specific, unfamiliar browsers. And not only on mobile devices, most desktop browsers do not accept this format anymore either.
The contents must be made in HTML5.
Check that the courses areSCORM compliant lms, and that they do not give any permission problems. It is frequent that making the SCORM work on the platform requires several tests and communication between the company that develops it and the company that manages the platform.
Make sure that in that case the service you are going to receive is going to be useful, so that you do not find yourself in the situation where the course is not working and nobody pays attention to you.
In case you do bonus training, this point is vital, since not complying with it can lead to severe consequences if you receive an inspection.
Although SCORM compliant lms software have the ability to monitor times, there are many factors why a SCORM on a platform may be failing to record those times.
You will need to do enough testing to ensure that this recording works and is accurate enough.
MultiSco is a SCORM format, in which a single SCORM file contains multiple learning objects.
This format is not recognized by all platforms, and even when supported it can create problems.
If the SCORMs supplied by the provider are in this format, we must check that everything works correctly.
Our evolCampus platform allows you to load MultiSCO content without any problem as we mentioned. That is why you should know “what is scorm compliant”?
We have already mentioned in another article that our recommendation for the moment is to use SCORM 1.2 and to avoid, whenever absolutely necessary, the SCORM 2.004 version
As we mentioned earlier, new formats have appeared that will finally replace SCORM standard, but our advice is to wait until they mature a little more and are more openly adopted by both content and platform providers.
It is logical that one or more of the SCORM activities in the course is evaluable. We find that by default and more comfortable when developing the content is to simply report whether the activity has been exceeded or not.
However, the SCORM standard allows you to set the maximum and minimum scores and return a numerical value with the score, instead of simply failing or not.
We recommend that evaluable activities report a numerical value, setting the corresponding values when developing the SCORM package.
SCORM course elements
Sometimes the contents made in SCORM standard are carried out with their own navigation and menus among their contents.
This is usually not a very good idea. The platform where you are going to load the SCORM course will generally have its own menu and navigation between contents and the rest of the tools (forums, messaging, chat, etc), which are the ones the student knows.
When loading the SCORM course within the virtual campus the student can see a double navigation menu. This is quite disconcerting and can lead to confusion.
Like the navigation menu, items such as percentage completed, time elapsed can be included. All of these are specific to the virtual platform and not to the content itself.
At this point, our advice is not to include in the content elements that should be controlled by the elearning platform. This can only lead to confusion and discordance of data between those shown by the platform and those appearing in the content.
The importance of mobile devices and the different screen sizes
A few years ago we couldn’t do much with our mobile phones and the monitors we used were similar in size 2 inches up and down.
However, this has changed. Every day we use more and more of our mobile devices, both phones and tablets, and on the other hand our computer monitors are getting bigger.
For this reason, different techniques have been developed that allow the web content that is developed to be adapted to the size of the screen on which it is displayed.
Make sure that the content you are going to develop uses this technique (responsive) so that it is correctly viewable from any device, or at least in most of them.
These are some of the points that we consider most important and that are most often forgotten or unknown when ordering or making elearning content.
One last point...
There are e-learning platforms such as evolCampus that are ready to support this SCORM standard and where you can easily create the content of your courses from scratch.
Whether you are going to use SCORM or not, you might want to try it out and of course you must know What is SCORM.