Shareable Content Object Reference Model, or SCORM, is referred to as the de-facto standard for eLearning, thanks to its widespread use. However, given its technical name and nature, many of those implementing this model in their eLearning platforms are intimidated by it. Simply put, SCORM is the tool that sets the bar for any eLearning development project. It helps ensure that the content of an online training program is compatible with the software suite being used to deliver it. To delve deeper into this universal standard of eLearning, let’s understand what SCORM is, its importance in content creation, and how to create SCORM content.
What is SCORM?
SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) is the technical specification used in eLearning products for standardizing the creation and launch of different course materials. This specification is factored in when creating authoring tools and learning management systems (LMS). The resulting tools are, thus, compatible with each other.
When you publish a course created with SCORM compliant authoring tools and LMS, a learner can launch it using their browser. The LMS, then, collects data that tracks performance, and the SCORM content guides the LMS on which data to receive.
SCORM operates using two integral components:
- Shareable Content Object (SCO): These are the elements that can be applied across a spectrum of platforms and tools. Once a SCORM package with these compliant elements is created, the content included in it can be accessed from different LMS platforms and tools. They are known as an ‘asset’ in SCORM content.
- Reference Model (RM): This part of SCORM refers to the standard of specifications applied across LMS platforms to achieve consistency and compatibility. In simple terms, this is a compilation of rules that different eLearning platforms follow.
Importance of SCORM
With this understanding of the basic markup of SCORM, let’s look at its importance in bringing uniformity in the eLearning industry:
- Pro-consumer: SCORM is a pro-consumer initiative that helps eliminate chaos from the realm of eLearning. Given that courses created using this standard are compliant with any LMS, it prevents the end-user from being stuck with a poorly performing platform. If you’re unhappy with your LMS performance or functionalities, you can simply transfer the SCORM content zip folders into an alternative system. This also pushes the LMS platforms to adhere to a certain standard of functionality and strive for optimal performance.
- Reliability: All quality authoring tools and LMS platforms today are SCORM compliant. This helps foster an ecosystem of interoperability, which means greater reliability for the user.
- Cost-effectiveness: The SCORM standard has played a vital role in making eLearning cost-effective for agencies, companies, and institutions. Since the course material crafted using this standard is compliant with most LMS today, you don’t have to customize the mode of training delivery for every system.
- Better Content: SCORM has also played a vital role in improving the overall quality of content in the eLearning ecosystem. The best tools for course creation today are compatible with LMS platforms that are SCORM compliant.
Related Read: Benefits of Using a SCORM Compliant LMS
How to Create SCORM Content for LMS
To leverage this standard to the fullest, you have to know the finer intricacies of how to create SCORM content for LMS. Here are seven best practices that anyone seeking to develop SCORM-compliant content for online training must follow.
1. The Right Authoring Tools
Working with a SCORM compliant LMS is not enough if the authoring tools you’re using are not compatible with others. You may produce top-of-the-line eLearning content with these tools, but its outreach becomes limited if it cannot be delivered using your preferred LMS. Picking the right authoring tools with SCORM compliance is therefore a must.
2. Be Clear About Your Training Needs
Online learning objectives and training budgets are often the primary considerations for course content creators. If you bypass SCORM-compliant resources because your company doesn’t necessarily need them for a particular training program, you are also eliminating the possibility of deploying these training materials for future training programs. You have to factor in your long-term training needs when thinking about SCORM adoption.
3. Find the Ideal SCORM Package
Contrary to popular perception, SCORM is not a one-size-fits-all standard. There are multiple variations and packages to consider for choosing one that is an ideal fit for your training needs. This is a factor that needs to considered even when choosing your authoring tools and LMS because without it, you may be left grappling with software compatibility issues.
4. Customize Settings as Per Employee Preferences
Nearly all authoring tools have the provision to customize settings such as navigation icons, menu display, the display of different content files, and so on. It is important to customize these settings keeping in mind the desired outcome of the training as well as employee preferences for accessing the online training content. In this way, a SCORM-compliant training module can cater to the exact needs of your target audience.
5. Test Before You Launch
Before you launch an online training program, test it for SCORM compliance. To do this, pack the entire course in the authoring tool and export it as a zip file to your chosen LMS. Then, check if all the elements of the course, in terms of design, display, and navigability, are functioning as desired. If you want to create SCORM content that is optimized to the fullest, then this step is crucial. To be thorough, test the online course content on different devices. Ask the learners to interact with it and seek feedback.
6. Monitor the Course Design and Performance
Even if the first test goes without a glitch, you must track the effectiveness of the design periodically. Is the training content consistent in layout and display across devices? Are your learners able to pause and play it without a hitch? Are there any lags? Keeping tabs on the course design performance is a great way to ensure that its effectiveness is not compromised along the way.
7. Build A SCORM Manifest
To keep track of all the elements in your eLearning course, you must create a detailed SCORM manifest. This manifest can be generated in the form of a zip file that contains all the resources, formats, and design elements used in the content. This metadata also serves as a building block for any task-based simulation that you may want to run later.
Online training courses with SCORM compliance offer greater accessibility and are easier to tweak and repurpose. It also gives you the flexibility to use tools of your choice for content creation and delivery, without compromising on quality or wasting resources. Anyone who’s embracing eLearning for the long haul must embrace SCORM as well.