What is SCORM?

SCORM is an abbreviation for Sharable Content Object Reference Model, and consists of a collection of technical guidelines and standards for e-learning (Internet-based) software products. It manages how web-based educational content and Learning Management Systems (LMSs) communicate with one other. Thanks to SCORM, programmers are informed of how their program codes should be written to be compatible with other programs, as well as how content should be packaged into a transferable file (known as a ZIP).

To clarify how SCORM operates, it's important to understand the foundations upon which e-learning is built. There are two pieces of software we need for online education to be facilitated. The first of these is quite simple: the content itself - be it an online learning game, quiz, or informative extract; secondly, we need the appropriate Learning Management System. This carries out responsibilities relating to the content, such as tracking an individual's progress with scores and saved archives, and pointing the user towards other relevant items using the flexible service network.

All of this happens behind the scenes. We can't see any of it taking place, but without it, we would be unable to access and navigate our way around e-learning content. We could say that SCORM is like the governing body of e-learning software: it dictates what rules the content needs to conform to in order to work properly, almost like laws and regulations in normal society. It draws up specifications for things like XML scripts, and all suppliers of educational e-content must match these requirements to make their items open to widespread Internet use.

It's still worth remembering, though, that SCORM doesn't make Sharable Content, but only states how it should be produced so that it can be made accessible over a secure connection. Producing the content is the role of the programmers and suppliers.

Businesses that are struggling to understand the SCORM concept and its application should endeavor to contact the independent software installation company, Rustici Software. Here, a team of highly-qualified professionals can help your company to become adherent to the SCORM guidelines.

It all sounds confusing, but SCORM originates from a good cause: an American scheme to promote the accessibility of learning resources, called the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative. The demand for a service like that made available by SCORM is continually increasing, with more people working or learning over the Internet on a day-to-day basis.

Without such a service, interactive learning in the classroom would be virtually impossible to maintain, and those participating in online training programs for their occupations would be seriously hindered in making sufficient progress.

So next time you're using e-learning software, think about what's really going on. It was first developed in 2000, but since this point, SCORM has been subject of numerous technological advances. SCORM 2004 is one of the latest editions, but the professional team are always looking to improve the service's effectiveness and efficiency. Teachers and businesses can save money due to the reusability of learning content at no extra charge, meaning it's even cost effective in the long run.

Locating, importing, sharing and using web-based educational content has never before been so simple as it is now. And it's all thanks to SCORM.