Skilljar Blog

New Feature: SCORM 1.2 Support

Posted by Sarah Southerland on January 7, 2015

We are very excited to announce our newest feature: SCORM! With our newest feature, you can upload SCORM packages, register students (free or paid), deliver the course, and track completion and results. This includes content authored by tools like Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline and Articulate Studio. We wanted to take this opportunity to provide some details about SCORM and share some of our thoughts about the new feature, since it's a hot topic among the eLearning industry.


What is SCORM?

SCORM is an acronym for: Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It is defined as a collection of standards and specifications for web-based electronic content. Simply put, SCORM provides a standard way for eLearning content and learning management systems (LMS) to communicate. Following these standards ensures that regardless of what tool you use to create your content, you can deliver your content from any LMS that supports SCORM.

SCORM was created by the US Department of Defense back in the late nineties. Each department had been developing training individually at that time. Different departments used different authoring tools, and each required its own proprietary program to deliver the content. This resulted in a lot of duplicated content which couldn't be shared between departments. SCORM was created to optimize their training resources, so that training content could be used by any department, and delivered with any LMS.

The eLearning industry today

It makes sense - SCORM emerged out of necessity. It remained the sole solution for online learning standardization for over a decade. Some eLearning professionals see SCORM's standards as falling behind - is it outdated?

The eLearning world has evolved since SCORM's creation. Some of the biggest changes include:

  • Contentvideo continues to gain popularity as a content format more aligned with today's learners and with modern technology standards.
  • Analytics - An LMS like Skilljar can already track detailed user analytics for "standard" content formats like videos and PDFs. In addition, trainers and instructional designers are seeking more learning data than SCORM can provide.
  • Cloud - SCORM was designed in an era when desktop publishing software was the only option. Now it's often easier to use cloud-based authoring tools.
  • Mobile - SCORM is notoriously difficult to configure for tablets and smartphones, and is based on outdated technology standards that make IT setup more challenging.
  • The learning experience - The learning experience is changing. Learning is no longer contained within a SCORM package. Methodologies like blended learning, social learning, informal learning and more can't be facilitated or tracked using SCORM. "The emergence of new technologies and the rise of informal and social learning create new challenges ... that go beyond the purpose and capabilities of SCORM" explains eLearning expert Marc Rosenberg.

SCORM-Markus_SpiskePhoto by Markus Spiske / CC BY

Why SCORM?

So, why did we decide to support SCORM, especially if we see video as the future of eLearning content? We discussed the pros and cons as a team, and there are 3 key reasons why supporting SCORM was important to Skilljar.
  1. Legacy content - Many companies have already created SCORM content. As long as they continue to use their current SCORM content, an LMS that supports SCORM will be needed.
  2. Authoring tools - Many trainers and instructional designers are accustomed to using SCORM-based authoring tools to create content.
  3. Parity - SCORM support is a very common feature among LMSs. This support brings us to parity with LMS standards.

Why Skilljar and SCORM?

The significance of this new feature is enormous for trainers who create SCORM content. Skilljar's SCORM support offers content creators some unique benefits.

  • E-commerce - Many SCORM users have no easy way of selling their content, and this has been a big need among our instructors. Our technology enables instructors to sell their SCORM content. This is the easiest way for instructors to accept credit, debit and Paypal payments for Captivate or Articulate courses, while also tracking individual learning outcomes like completion rates and quiz scores
  • Learner experience - Skilljar's sleek and mobile responsive UI provides learners with an updated online training experience that is easy to navigate.
  • Integrated content - If you use SCORM content in addition to other formats, you can create and deliver courses that include all of these different formats. Mix and match your SCORM modules, videos, PDFs and more to create longer courses.

I hope you've found this article helpful. As the eLearning industry evolves, SCORM's future continues to be debated. But as the unchallenged standard of online learning technology for so long, SCORM remains a significant content format in eLearning and one that Skilljar is proud to finally support.

Topics: Features, LMS

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