SCORM E-Learning: What is it and Why?

Handout Paper Piles

If you’ve ever had an induction course at a new place of work, been taught some new skills online or have simply had your existing skillset tuned up, you were most likely taking advantage of a set of standards put in place by the name of SCORM.

It used to be the case that e-learning was a real trial, thanks to how many different courses were implemented on a head-spinning range of different platforms. This meant that data was duplicated, confusing and essentially, not conducive for anyone. It really took any fun out of training and when you consider how dated technology was back in the 90’s to boot, you can appreciate why a change needed to be made.

That change came when leaders in the field of e-learning decided to create a universal, co-operational set of standards for programmers to abide by when creating training courses. And so, SCORM e-learning was born.


SCORM? Did you spell that right?

Yes! It actually makes a lot of sense once you break the acronym down:

S – ‘Sharable’: information that can be accessed by multiple people

CO – ‘Content Object’: the varying pieces of courses/documents available between different users.

RM – ‘Reference Model’: this could appear to be the most difficult part to wrap your head around and you could be right unless you are a programmer! This dictates to the programmer the information necessary to make the courses, systems etc. universal for language and format.


So, SCORM is important for e-learning then?

You could say that, yes. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that unless a course is SCORM compliant, it might not be worth your time. When it comes to training your workforce, nothing but the best will do.


I’m still not sure about SCORM. Help?

Nobody expects the principle to be grasped straight away as it’s something that you really need to be clued in on to appreciate. Let’s try a simple analogy.

You go into your local HMV, pick up a DVD and take it home, only to realise that you’re still stuck with the an VHS player. No matter, you think, I will just put it in anyway. Without believing it’s a big deal, you’ve inadvertently just wasted time and money by trying to force two incompatible products to co-operate.

After shaking your head and throwing away your now defunct VHS player, you go out and buy yourself a DVD player. Although your DVD now works properly, you can’t help but feel like you could have saved a lot of effort by doing things properly in the first place.

This is what it was like before SCORM came around for e-learning providers. Once the set of standards were in place, there was no trial and error to contend with – they could simply upload their course to the LMS, knowing that everything was as it should be.


Well, that’s a little clearer. So, do I actually need to be SCORM compliant?

Only if you want your workforce to learn the right way and for you to be able to assess their understanding of the course accurately.

You can have a SCORM learning management system without having to take a hit in the wallet, so there’s really no excuse to not upgrade if you haven’t already. Finding a powerful LMS which is SCORM compliant should be the first thing you should do before you enrol your workforce in an e-learning course.


I’m interested, how do I find out more?

Glad you asked. Go to to find the right package for you and add your name to the million users who have already enjoyed it. Also be sure to read up on the history of SCORM whilst you’re here and why you should use a SCORM LMS too.