What Is Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)?


The Shareable Content Object Reference Model, or SCORM, is a set of technical standards and specifications for creating, packaging, and delivering e-learning content. Developed by the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative, a division of the United States Department of Defense, SCORM aims to ensure the interoperability, accessibility, and reusability of web-based learning content across different learning management systems (LMS).

Key Components of SCORM

1. Content Aggregation Model (CAM)

Defines how learning content should be structured, described, and packaged for exchange between different systems. It includes:

   a. Content Packaging: Specifies how learning content and metadata should be organized and packaged into a ZIP file format called a "Package Interchange Format" (PIF).

   b. Content Structure: Defines how learning content is organized hierarchically using a content tree or activity tree.

   c. Metadata: Provides a standardized way to describe learning content using XML-based metadata, facilitating search and discovery.

2. Run-Time Environment (RTE)

Establishes how learning content interacts with and communicates data to the LMS. It includes:

   a. Launch Process: Defines how the LMS launches and initializes content objects.

   b. API (Application Programming Interface): Provides a standardized way for content objects to communicate with the LMS, exchanging data such as learner progress, scores, and completion status.

   c. Data Model: Specifies the data elements that can be exchanged between the content and the LMS, ensuring consistency in tracking learner interactions.

3. Sequencing and Navigation (SN) 

Introduced in SCORM 2004, this component defines rules for how learners navigate through content objects and how the LMS sequences the delivery of content based on learner interactions and performance.

Benefits of SCORM

  • Interoperability: SCORM-compliant content can be used in any SCORM-compliant LMS, ensuring compatibility and reducing the need for custom development.
  • Reusability: Learning content can be easily shared, repurposed, and reused across different courses and systems.
  • Accessibility: SCORM-compliant content can be accessed by learners anytime, anywhere, on any device with a web browser.
  • Tracking and Reporting: SCORM enables detailed tracking and reporting of learner interactions, progress, and performance.

While SCORM has been widely adopted in the e-learning industry, newer standards like xAPI (Experience API or Tin Can API) and cmi5 have emerged to address some of its limitations, particularly in tracking learning experiences outside of traditional LMS environments.