What is SCORM?

If you spend any time in the learning and development world, you’ll come across SCORM.

SCORM is actually an acronym.

It stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. Unfortunately—unless you’re fluent in tech jargon—that doesn’t tell us all that much about what it is or what it does.

It was invented in the late ’90s when the government started using online training in earnest. Different departments had different systems with different technical requirements. That meant the same content had to be made in several formats, which was expensive. The government wanted to create a universal standard, so content didn’t have to be reproduced all the time.

What resulted from that was SCORM.

Basically, it’s a simple way to package online training content. It looks like a slideshow. When you build SCORM content, it downloads to a .ZIP file. Then you’re able to just pop it into a compliant LMS and it works. Simple as that.

All that history is interesting, but how’s it used today?

Sharing content is super easy with SCORM. It also makes it easy to switch between eLearning systems. SCORM is easy enough to download from one LMS and plugs into a new one.

It also comes with its own reporting. When a learner opens the training, it tracks their progress. And whether or not they fail.

It’s good for compliance training because its content is often arranged in pages or chapters. It tracks whether a learner completed a given page. This way you can be sure learners read and complete every page of a compliance piece.

Some SCORM authoring tools allow you to add interactive features in your courses, like expandable text or mini-quizzes. You can also set a minimum amount of time learners must spend on a page before they’re able to mark it complete.

The drawback to SCORM is that it can be expensive and difficult to master from an authoring standpoint. The more common authoring tools (Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline) cost more than $1,000 per user. And it takes a while before you’re comfortable juggling all the moving parts of an engaging, interactive piece of content.


What is eLearning?

Like most “e” things, the “e” in eLearning stands for “electronic learning.” eLearning offers a more efficient and cheaper way to learn and train than traditional classroom-based learning.

Learn More