How SCORM Works With a Learning Management System

SCORM solves an important problem for people who create training content. Instead of creating content that will only work in one Learning Management System, you can create content in a standard format that will work in any SCORM-compliant LMS. So, for example, a content-creation company can sell SCORM content to any customer that has a SCORM-compliant LMS. Or a company can switch from their existing LMS to a better one and reuse the same training content in their new LMS.

SCORM content is created in an authoring system and can be any mixture of text, images, multimedia, tests, and quizzes – whatever you need to create compelling and effective training material for your customers and employees. 

This article will take a closer look at what SCORM is, why it is important, and how it enables the creation of high quality training content for a learning management system

What is SCORM?

SCORM stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. To better understand the meaning of SCORM, it is helpful to break the SCORM acronym into two parts:

SC stands for Shareable Content – as you know, a CSV file contains spreadsheet data that can be used by many different software tools and a PDF document can also be used by many different tools. The content of these documents is sharable.  The same is true for SCORM– the content of a SCORM package is sharable with many different Learning Management Systems.

ORM stands for Object Reference Model – technical people love this sort of name, don’t they? The different types of content in your training content (text, video, audio and so on) are referred to as “Objects”. Other Objects define the way the content will be presented to the person being trained. For example, in a quiz, display the correct answer if the user gets the answer wrong or congratulate the user if they get it right. These Objects are stored in a SCORM package in a standardized manner called a “Reference Model”. 

Now you know this, you can forget it. The important part is that SCORM is an industry standard. Any content created to the standard can be used by any tool that is compliant with the standard.

Why is SCORM so important?

Having shareable, reusable content is important. SCORM provides more than that – for example, the SCORM package can refuse to let the user complete a section until they achieve a minimum score on a test. Plus, the results of tests taken within the SCORM package are shared with the LMS as part of tracking the learner’s overall progress to achieve a certain level.

It’s easy to use – a SCORM authoring system exports a SCORM package, which is simply a zip file in a format that conforms to the SCORM standard. The zip file can be copied to where it is needed and easily uploaded into a SCORM-compliant LMS.

There are other benefits – it gives learners a user-friendly way of experiencing the training content. It allows course content creators to develop effective and compelling content. It allows the LMS administrator to focus on the strategic and analytical work that will impact learning and training results within their organization.

SCORM is used in Competency-based training, which is a learning model in which the required level of knowledge and skill (competency) on a task must be demonstrated before advancing to the next task. Unlike more traditional training methods, CBT is broken down into small units that are focused on specific skills. Competencies can be divided into two groups within an organization’s competency framework: core and job role competencies. This framework gives employees a comprehensive understanding of what skills and knowledge are needed for their job, with required outcomes and targets clearly stated so that the learner knows exactly what is expected of them, and where exactly they are on a training track toward achieving those targets. 

What are 6 other important benefits of SCORM’s methodology besides its interoperability?

  1. Flexible – SCORM’s flexible framework allows for a variety of formats to successfully operate across different LMS platforms. Learners are also given the freedom to bookmark their progress when they need to take a break, and can navigate to applicable modules when a specific need arises.  
  2. Reusable –  SCORM allows course developers to create content one time, and then reuse or distribute it on a large number of platforms with minimal changes.  
  3. Consistent – SCORM provides a consistent learning experience for all workers, promoting consistency on an organizational level, regardless of the industry.  SCORM-based content ensures the legitimacy of test scores and prompts learning facilitators and managers to focus on further training on specific gaps in learner knowledge.  
  4. Compatibility – SCORM can be recognized by almost any learning management system. E-learning creators can choose from a variety of authoring tools and LMS, which allows them to find the right fit for their needs.  
  5. Convenient usage and feedback – Progress can be saved.  A student doesn’t have to go through the whole course all at once. It can be done step by step. The course provides instant feedback on student progress. The system will show how many points were scored or the status of completion will display.
  6. Modularity – In a SCORM course, training material consists of standalone units, or modules. Each module can be used in any other course within the LMS.  

Using SCORM makes it easy to create interactive and engaging content, while bringing down the cost of creating new training courses by up to 80%. By using SCORM to track data, you can more easily see how learners are interacting with your content.

How many versions of SCORM are available?

There are three versions of SCORM and each version has its own features and advantages. It is important to know which SCORM version your LMS supports when creating an e-course. The three versions are 1.1, 1.2, and 2004.  SCORM 1.1 was the original version but is no longer widely used. The other two versions are used extensively.  A SCORM package can also be referred to as a SCORM course or a SCORM module and is a ZIP file that contains specific content as defined by the SCORM standard. It is known as a Package Interchange File (PIF) and has all the data needed to transfer learning content to an LMS. According to a Software Advice survey, 62% of businesses use SCORM courses for training in their LMS. 

How does SCORM work with CABEM Technology’s Competency Manager?

CABEM’s Competency Manager makes learning accessible to the entire workforce through its many options for implementing blended learning. With SCORM compatibility and a built in LMS, the Competency Manager provides a central framework for all your content, no matter the source. Centralized learning materials allow your organization to stay organized and provide consistency, two essential elements of increasing learner engagement. Easily import existing training programs, build your own tests and assessments, track attendance, administer guided learning. Create a learning ecosystem by integrating with your existing LMS or pull in content from third party content providers. With the Competency Manager there’s no single right way to offer learning options to your workforce! Contact us for more information.