One of the key benefits of Skilljar's learning management system is our flexibility with course authoring. We can import packaged content in SCORM 1.2 format, and we also support lightweight course authoring by directly uploading videos, PDFs, creating quizzes, and more. In fact, you can combine one or more SCORM packages with other types of content authored on the Skilljar platform, all within the same course.
Training managers and instructional designers who are creating new courses now have the option of using a traditional desktop authoring tool (such as Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate), or using Skilljar’s built-in course authoring tools. If you are wondering what the best way to create your content is, this guide can help. Here are the key details to consider when deciding your approach.
Photo by Steve Snodgrass / CC BY
The Case for Built-in Course Authoring
Fast and lightweight. You can use standard content formats (such as videos and PDFs), rather than purchasing software licenses that require specialized training and expertise to use. The time to launch is often much faster. And unlike SCORM content, these standard formats don't require an LMS to deliver the content. You can also easily reuse source content on other types of platforms, like uploading videos onto YouTube or emailing PDF worksheets.
Bite-sized training. Content is often split into small chunks. In addition to being preferred by most trainees, this also makes content updates easier to manage. If a part of the content needs updating, you only need to update that particular module rather than republishing the entire course. The bite-sized training format also enables you to deliver blended learning more easily.
Modern device friendly. Standard content formats work better than SCORM on small screen sizes, so the learner experience is more tablet and smartphone friendly. The general user interface for these standard formats is also more easily updated over time.
Advanced reporting. Skilljar can provide more detailed reporting with content created using our own tools. Using SCORM packages requires us to rely on the data that the content provides to an LMS, limiting your analytics options.
Team collaboration. A key difference between our built-in tool and desktop software is that Skilljar is cloud-based. As a cloud-based authoring tool, it’s easier for team members to view and edit the same courses, rather than sending large SCORM files to each other over email or file sharing.
The Case for SCORM and Packaged Content
Portable to other systems. The course is a stand-alone, discrete unit that can be uploaded as one piece into any system that accepts SCORM. This is important for packaged eLearning content that is meant to be imported into many different LMS systems.
Richer authoring capabilities. Desktop authoring software provides more specialized features than most LMS authoring options. These features may include more interactions, animations, templates, and characters.
Standardized reporting. SCORM modules report the same data in a consistent format, though the data itself may be limited in scope. There is also more data standardization around migrations and backfills.
Ultimately, which course authoring tool is best for you will depend on the goals of the course, your target audience, and the instructional design of the course. Using built-in course authoring is a fast and agile approach, but SCORM and packaged content is more fully featured and portable. There are pros and cons to consider with each choice. If you simply can't decide, e've got you covered. Skilljar recognizes that organizations have different content preferences and design needs, so our platform supports both approaches with flexible mix-and-match options.
Which tool do you prefer? Let us know how you like to author courses by leaving a comment.