By Pieter van Hiel, Product Marketing Team, with notes from Amy Groshek, Developer
If you work in any sector of the eLearning industry, you’ve almost certainly heard of SCORM, the Sharable Content Object Reference Model that provides a framework of interoperability for online learning standards. Most eLearning professionals have at least a working knowledge of what SCORM is, and why it is important. In essence, SCORM is a common set of standards to produce content that can be used in any LMS that conforms to those standards.
For many, that’s all we know about SCORM, and all we may think we need to know.
Yet, SCORM is much more complex now than it was when introduced in 2001, and standards continue to evolve. New SCORM vendors have arisen along with new SCORM interactions, and authoring tools. In addition, new and powerful alternatives to SCORM now exist. Both the H5P Moodle plugin and Remote-Learner’s REIN eLearning Interactions filter provide HTML5-compatible, fully integrated alternatives to conventional SCORM interactions that are more responsive and mobile device friendly.
With all these factors in play it is not surprising that many people find dealing with SCORM confusing or overwhelming. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. SCORM remains a fairly straightforward concept, provided you have a basic grounding in a few concepts. We’re going to review these concepts in a series of articles, starting with the question…. Why choose to create SCORM friendly content at all?
Why use SCORM at all?
These days, SCORM has a lot of competition. Open-source platforms like Moodle™ and Totara Learn are a great way to present online content. Combine that with a tool like Remote-Learner’s REIN library, and you can provide a large number of content interactions that keep learners engaged. REIN (Remote-Learner e-Learning INteractions) is a filter that streamlines the process of adding jQuery interactions within Moodle. The REIN filter allows your course designers and administrators to edit and develop learning interactions directly in your site content. This HTML content coded directly into Moodle activities is more responsive and more likely to meet emergent accessibility standards.
All this means that the biggest reason to use SCORM is because you need to, either through contractual obligation or because of the requirements of internal or external stakeholders. There are several possible reasons for this:
- Your content is being delivered to clients that wish to use it on other SCORM-compliant platforms.
- You have a contract that stipulates SCORM compliant content.
- Your organization has already invested in software and staff who know how to build SCORM, and not HTML.
Reconsider using SCORM if…
You may have some other reasons for using SCORM, but it’s important to consider what those reasons are. Here are two of the most commonly cited reasons for SCORM that may not hold up.
You’ve always used SCORM. Familiarity is great when it comes to the brand of potato chip you eat. It should not be the deciding factor that makes you stick with SCORM. While there are specific uses cases that SCORM fits perfectly, you have to factor in the cost of authorware and software licenses, and the impact on your workflow. If “It’s always been this way” is your reason for using SCORM, it may be time to revisit other available options.
You like the look and feel of it. The authorware used to generate SCORM compliant software also creates a consistent navigation and appearance as users work through content. This is definitely a positive thing, but there are easier and less expensive ways to achieve this, such as through the use of themes.
Remote-Learner’s Altitude Theme
A theme like Remote-Learner’s Altitude theme can provide a consistent user experience, while providing for a significant degree of customization if desired. Our team of expert UI/UX designers can also create custom themes to suit any training experience or business requirements. Not to mention providing for a better consistent look and feel across multiple devices.
In the next installment of this blog series, we’re going to talk more about alternatives to SCORM, and the pros and cons of those alternatives. If you’d like an advanced peek at this content, check out Remote-Learner’s SCORM best practices white paper.