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Using SCORM for e-learning

Best practices for creating SCORM content for your LMS

SCORM plays a key role in facilitating the development and delivery of e-learning in the online environment, providing benefits to anyone using e-learning

SCORM e Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is called the standard for e-learning due to its widespread use. However, given its technical name and nature, many implementing this model in their eLearning platforms shy away from it.  It ensures that the content of an online training is compatible with the learning platform used to deliver it to learners. To delve deeper into this universal eLearning standard, let's understand what SCORM is, its importance in content creation, and how to create SCORM conten.

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What is SCORM?


SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) is a technical specification used in e-learning products to standardize the creation and release of various course materials. This specification is taken into account in the creation of authoring tools and learning management systems (LMS). The resulting tools are thus compatible with each other.

When you publish a course created with SCORM-compatible authoring tools and an LMS, the learner can launch it using their browser. The LMS then collects data that tracks performance, and the SCORM content directs the LMS which data to get.

SCORM Emergence: SCORM emerged in 2000 as an initiative of Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), an American learning technology development program. The goal was to create a standard that would allow different learning systems to share information and content seamlessly.

How SCORM works: SCORM uses a learning object model where each learning is viewed as an "object" - a structured unit of information. This object can contain text, multimedia, quizzes, and other learning elements. SCORM defines standardized ways to create, package, deliver, and track these objects.

Technically, SCORM uses JavaScript and APIs to communicate between the LMS and the learning content. When a user uses a SCORM-compatible course, the LMS and the course exchange data such as progress, quiz answers, etc.

SCORM operates using two integral components:

Shared Content Object (SCO): These are the elements that can be applied across the spectrum of platforms and tools. Once a SCORM package is created with these compatible elements, the included content can be accessed from a variety of LMS platforms and tools. These are known as "assets" in SCORM content.

Reference Model (RM): This part of SCORM refers to the standard of specifications applied in LMS platforms to achieve consistency and compatibility. In simple language, it is a collection of rules that different eLearning platforms follow.

This standard allows different learning management systems (LMS) and learning content to interoperate effectively.


Meaning of SCORM

With this understanding of SCORM's key features, let's look at its importance in bringing uniformity to the eLearning industry:

SCORM is for the benefit of the user: SCORM is an initiative for the benefit of users that helps to remove the chaos in the field of e-learning. Given that courses created using this standard are compatible with any LMS, it prevents the end user from being stuck with a poorly performing platform. If you are not satisfied with the performance or functionality of your LMS, you can simply transfer SCORM content folders to an alternative system. This also forces LMS platforms to adhere to a certain standard of functionality and strive for optimal performance.

Reliability: all quality content creation tools and LMS platforms today are SCORM compatible. This helps create an ecosystem for interoperability, which means greater reliability for the user.

Cost-effectiveness: the SCORM standard has been instrumental in making e-learning cost-effective for agencies, companies and institutions. Because course materials produced using this standard are compatible with most LMSs today, there is no need to adapt how training is delivered for each system.

Better content: SCORM also plays an important role in improving the overall quality of content in the eLearning ecosystem. The best course creation tools today are compatible with LMS platforms that are compatible with SCORM.

See how we can help you implement e-learning in your organisation and create e-learning in SCORM

How to create SCORM content for LMS

To make the most of this standard, you need to know the ins and outs of how to create SCORM content for your LMS.

Here are seven best practices that anyone who wants to develop SCORM-compliant content for online learning should follow.

  1. Appropriate tools for creating training materials

Working with a SCORM-compatible LMS is not enough if the content creation tools you use are not compatible with others. You can create top-notch eLearning content with these tools, but its scope becomes limited if it cannot be delivered using your preferred LMS. Therefore, choosing the right tools to create authoring materials with SCORM compatibility is a must.

  1. Be clear about training objectives and 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 specific training program, you also eliminate the possibility of deploying those training materials for future training programs. When thinking about SCORM implementation, you should consider your long-term training needs.

  1. Create or find the ideal SCORM package

Contrary to popular belief, SCORM is not a universal standard. There are many variations and packages to consider to choose the one that is ideal for your training needs. This is a factor that should be taken into consideration when choosing your authoring tools and LMS, as without it you may find yourself facing software compatibility issues.

  1. Customize the configuration according to employee preferences

Almost all authoring tools have the ability to customize settings such as navigation icons, display menus, display different content files, etc. It is important to customize these settings, taking into account the desired learning outcome as well as employee preferences for accessing online training content. In this way, a SCORM-compliant training module can meet the exact needs of your target audience.

  1. Pre-start testing

Before starting an online training program, test it for SCORM compliance. To do this, package the entire course in the authoring tool and export it as a zip file to your chosen LMS. Then check that all the elements of the course, in terms of design, display and navigation, function as they should. If you want to create SCORM content that is optimized to the maximum extent, this step is crucial. To be thorough, test the online course content on a variety of devices. Ask learners to test the package and seek feedback.

  1. Observation of course design and effectiveness

Even if the first test passes without error, you should periodically monitor the effectiveness of the design. Is the training content consistent in terms of layout and display across devices? Can your learners stop and replay it without problems? Are there any delays? Tracking the effectiveness of your course design is a great way to ensure that its effectiveness isn't compromised along the way.

  1. Building a SCORM Manifesto

To keep track of all the elements of your eLearning course, you need to create a detailed SCORM manifesto. This manifest can be generated as 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 you may want to run later.


Online training courses with SCORM compatibility offer greater accessibility and are easier to customize and repurpose. It also gives you the flexibility to use your chosen tools to create and deliver content without compromising on quality or wasting resources. Anyone who has been using eLearning for a long period of time needs to understand and implement SCORM.