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What is SCORM? It is a set of technical standards for e-learning software products. SCORM tells programmers how to write their code so that it can “play well” with other e-learning software. It is the de facto industry standard for e-learning interoperability. Specifically, this concept governs how online learning content and Learning Management Systems (LMSs) communicate with each other. SCORM does not speak to instructional design or any other pedagogical concern, it is purely a technical standard.
Let’s take DVDs for example. 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. A regular DVD will play on a Toshiba the same as it will on a Panasonic. That’s because DVD movies are produced using a set of standards. Without these standards a studio releasing a new movie on DVD would have a big problem. They would need to make differently formatted DVDs for each brand of DVD player. This is how online learning used to be before SCORM was created.
The SCORM standard makes sure that all e-learning content and LMSs can work with each other, just like the DVD standard makes sure that all DVDs will play in all DVD players. If an LMS is SCORM conformant, it can play any content that is SCORM conformant, and any SCORM conformant content can play in any SCORM conformant LMS.
The Cost of Content Integration:
But, what is SCORM? This word stands for “Sharable Content Object Reference Model”. It indicates that SCORM is all about creating units of online training material that can be shared across systems. SCORM defines how to create “sharable content objects” or “SCOs” that can be reused in different systems and contexts.
“Reference Model” reflects the fact that SCORM isn’t actually a standard. ADL didn’t write SCORM from the ground up. Instead, they noticed that the industry already had many standards that solved part of the problem. SCORM simply references these existing standards and tells developers how to properly use them together.