ShareKnowledge Blog

What does SCORM Compliant LMS really mean?

Amber Rasmussen September, 2014
SCORM-compliant learning management system

As a training manager, you are tasked with ensuring your employees have received the necessary education to do their jobs. And with that comes choosing a Learning Management System, otherwise known as an LMS. Many managers will set out with a list of specifications, such as being a SCORM compliant LMS, but have no idea what that is.

The following blog will explain in more detail what SCORM compliant is and why it’s important when choosing a Learning Management System. Our hope is that you will be able to confidently talk about this important LMS feature instead of saying “I don’t know what SCORM is but the IT department says I need it.”

SCORM Compliant LMS Explained

SCORM stands for “Shareable Content Object Reference Model.” In a nutshell, it is a set of technical standards for e-learning software products.

Back in the late 1990s, the U.S. government was a huge user of online training. What they realized was that they were procuring the same training over and over but couldn’t reuse it across various departments because each had their own LMS. To rectify this situation, they tasked a small research laboratory, ADL, to develop common specifications and standards for e-learning, and thus SCORM was born in 2001.

What this means is that SCORM tells programmers how to write their code so that it can “play well” with other e-learning software and is the standard for e-learning interoperability.

Still confused? Here is an often-used analogy to explain SCORM:

DVDs are a great way to explain SCORM. When you buy a new movie on DVD you don’t need to check to see if it works with your brand of DVD player, right? A regular DVD will play on a Toshiba the same as it would on a Panasonic. That’s because DVD movies are produced using a set of standards. Without them, manufacturers would need to make differently formatted DVDs for each brand of DVD player. The SCORM standard makes sure that all e-learning content and LMSs can work with each other, just like the DVD standard.

Benefits of SCORM Compliant LMS

The main benefit of a SCORM complaint LMS is interoperability between e-learning software products. Content can be produced using a variety of tools such as Articulate or Captivate and can be used in any LMS, like ShareKnowledge.

Another advantage is reusability. Being able to reuse content not only saves time but money. In organizations that produce or consume a lot of content, this is a very useful feature.

SCORM allows adaptability by tailoring instruction to individual and organizational needs. It allows content authors to manually mix and match SCOs to create unique training programs for different groups. It also enables them to write sequencing rules that adapt the instructional content as the learner progresses based on the learner’s input and mastery.

A SCORM compliant LMS saves money by increasing efficiency and productivity while reducing the time and costs involved in delivering instruction.

And lastly, a SCORM compliant LMS has the ability to withstand technology evolution and changes without costly redesign, reconfiguration or recoding.

As you can see, a SCORM compliant LMS isn’t an option but a necessity. The landscape of learning management systems is ever evolving however the glue the holds everything together happens to be a term you know all about now - an acronym by the name of SCORM.

Choosing an LMS
What Everybody Ought to Know about Choosing an LMS

A step-by-step guide to choosing the most beneficial LMS for your needs.