I’m positive that at least 70% of the people in the e-learning space created or used at some point a SCORM package, whether it was a full class, a lesson, an assessment, or a simple presentation. SCORM has been used at a large scale for quite some time now, but as e-learning technology advances we have to wonder if it’s still relevant for e-learning users. Now, there is a reason why SCORM is so popular so let’s not jump to conclusions about its future just yet and let’s see what are its benefits.
Why is SCORM useful?
SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is e-learning’s standard for how online learning content and LMSs in particular communicate and work with each other. In other words, all LMSs need to support SCORM, and SCORM needs to support LMSs.
SCORM’s greatest advantage is the ability to integrate learning objects from different sources into a common environment. You can create a SCORM course and reuse it over and over again in different formats, from different sources, using the same LMS.
SCORM’s usefulness is pegged at its interoperability and cross-LMS compatibility. Create a SCORM content on Adobe Captivate and expect it to work on all SCORM-compliant learning platforms. Users can seamlessly import content from different sources into their platform and these courses are easier to migrate if users decide to switch to a new platform. Without SCORM, integrating content into other platforms is a time-consuming and exhaustive effort, as developers have to change and redesign their learning content.
SCORM also increases engagement because teachers can create interactive content according to how they deem it fit. SCORM content can also be gamified and then directly import into an LMS. But basically, teachers can just add fresh SCORM content anytime to dramatically increase student engagement. SCORM can create a large library of learning objects and modify them over and over again. This learning content may also be designed to track learner performance, monitor students and adjust according to how they can keep pace with the course.
Some more SCORM benefits include its accessibility, adaptability, and affordability.
Then what are the shortcomings related to SCORM?
While SCORM has a lot of good things, like making an LMSs more interactive, it also comes at a price. In order to publish content in SCORM format, you need authoring tools such as Adobe Captivate and Articulate Storyline, and licences can become quite costly. While educational institutions can subscribe or buy such tools, users need proper training and knowledge on how to use them, and schools who want to implement SCORM will have to send their teachers to proper training to make sure they achieve the best results.
The most well-known disadvantage of SCORM is its complicated nature. Sure, you can reuse the same content, but if users want to design new content from scratch, they’ll have to spend hours of working with authoring tools. Users also have a limited selection of types of activities made using only SCORM and educators know that these kind of activities aren’t enough.
What is the future for SCORM?
SCORM might have a limited future because of its complicated nature. However, that’s not to say that SCORM will be deprecated. Advanced LMS users will use and maximize SCORM to create interactive content not only to track learner performance, but also to make learning immersive and fun. And let’s not forget there is already xAPI, a sort-of successor for SCORM that addresses many problems associated with SCORM such as allowing users to track learning activities and I’m sure there are even more advanced tools to come.
What do you think is the future for SCORM? Let us know in the comment section below.
Enzo is a marketing consultant by profession and a passionate e-learning blogger. He’s also a Microsoft Education Ambassador and an advocate for education, so his articles discuss e-learning not just from the insights of a student but also a from a teacher’s perspective, by leveraging his experience to deliver helpful posts.