What is SCORM and how do I use it?
If you’re looking to upgrade your training materials, you will have come across the term SCORM Packages. You may have a vague idea what this means, but aren’t totally sure if it’s compatible with your needs and your current software.
Allow us to clear things up a bit.
What is SCORM?
Shareable Content Object Reference Model. We know, it’s a group of words that don’t look like they belong together, and certainly don’t explain what SCORM actually is.
SCORM is essentially a set of standards for how your course material and your LMS communicate with each other. The idea is that a SCORM package of course materials will work on any LMS that supports SCORM. Let’s look at an analogy:
You buy a new DVD and put it in your DVD player at home. Did you check that the DVD would play in your particular make of DVD player? No, because all DVDs work in all makes, models, and brands of DVD player thanks to there being a standard format for DVDs. Otherwise, the companies making DVDs would have to make dozens of different formats for dozens of different brands, makes or models – this is exactly what eLearning was like before SCORM came along.
So, SCORM essentially opens up an entire world of training material and LMS options, without having to mess around with technicalities.
There are different versions of SCORM, although which version you use depends on what you need from it. However, most SCORM material and LMS systems will fit into the two most commonly used versions: SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 3rd Edition. If you’re in any doubt, ask your SCORM content and / or LMS provider.
It can also be said that SCORM packages are generally more interactive and often involve the user submitting some form of feedback or assessment such as quizzes, surveys and “click throughs” (to demonstrate they have spent an appropriate amount of time on a subject to have understood it).
How do I use SCORM?
SCORM packages can only be uploaded onto SCORM compliant Learning Management Systems. Here’s how the process generally works:
Firstly, check your LMS accepts SCORM. You might find this information in the area where you upload new courses or course materials – it may ask you what format your wish to upload. If not, it might require a visit to the FAQ section of you LMS or the website of your LMS provider. If in doubt, all LMS providers should have some form of support or contact function for you to ask them directly.
Get your SCORM package ready to upload to your LMS. If you’ve purchased a package or course material, these usually come in the format of a zip file that you load directly into your LMS as you would with any other course or material. It may take slightly longer to load than a non-SCORM package, as you LMS needs to unzip the file and load a considerable amount of code for the course to work, so be patient.
Once your SCORM package has successfully loaded onto your LMS, you can do all the things you normally would with an eLearning course – or perhaps you can do more things.
If at any point you have any issues or doubts, we’d recommend contacting either the SCORM Package provider or your LMS provider, as they will have technical knowledge of how their products work.