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What is the Best SCORM-compliant LMS?

You’re in the market for a new learning management system (LMS) and have stumbled upon the SCORM acronym. Your first thought is: what does SCORM mean? Followed by: do I need a SCORM-compliant LMS?

SCORM, which stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model, is a type of technical standard for eLearning platforms. You’ll need your LMS to comply with these specifications if you’re uploading SCORM files, exporting data from another platform, or planning to move prebuilt content to your new LMS. 

The problem? You’re not sure where to start. SCORM can seem like a minefield, especially if you’ve never heard of the term before. This guide shares what a SCORM-compliant LMS is, complete with tips on how to find the right one for your organization.

What is a SCORM-compliant LMS?

A SCORM-compliant LMS makes sure that all of your training content—from modules and learning objectives to quizzes and surveys—is easily shareable and compatible across different systems. This includes exporting SCORM files from content authoring tools, customer relationship management (CRM) platforms, and single sign-on (SSO) systems, and uploading them to your LMS.

What does SCORM mean?

SCORM is an abbreviation for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It refers to the technical standards of eLearning software that make it easy for different learning and educational tools to work together. 

Why use SCORM?

Now we know what SCORM is, let’s explore the different reasons why L&D managers rely on it. 

Easier tracking

A SCORM-compliant LMS has the framework to integrate with analytics tools, which helps you keep track of employee, customer, and partner training programs. You can easily measure the effectiveness of educational content without compatibility issues with the tools you’re already using. 

SCORM-compliant LMSs can also communicate with other systems. The platform can capture detailed data about learners’ interactions with your content, regardless of where the content is hosted or accessed. This provides a comprehensive view of learners’ progress and performance and allows you to finetune your L&D programs based on metrics like knowledge retention, engagement rate, and learner satisfaction.

Meeting industry standards

Employees in some industries must be certified in a specific skill before performing their role. Suppose you’re operating the L&D program for a large team. In that case, it can quickly become tough to track these certifications in your extended enterprise LMS—especially when certain compliance training programs need to be retaken every year. 

SCORM-compliant training software can help L&D managers track employees’ progress toward certification, schedule exams or assessments, and issue digital certificates upon successful completion of the course. In other words: with a SCORM-compliant LMS, it’s easier to make sure that your team has the qualifications required to meet industry standards and maintain professional competency.

Interoperable content

The SCORM standard specifies how learning materials should be structured and organized. One subsection of this is metadata—small snippets of copy that help search and organize content, such as its title, description, author, and keywords.

Let’s put that into practice and say you’re training sales representatives on how to handle customer pushback. Instead of retelling stories from other agents, enrich the learning experience by exporting your sales call recordings as a SCORM file. Upload them to your online learning platform—without having to manually search your account to download and re-upload the video file to the content management system (CMS) within your LMS. The LMS already has the metadata required to pull learning content from the SCORM file.

Pro tip: Delivering health and safety compliance training? Instead of producing content from scratch, use WorkRamp Content—a library of over 85,000 courses, including a compliance-only content package available to ensure workplace safety. 

 

Example of WorkRamp expert LMS content

Limitations of SCORM

Although SCORM’s technical structure does offer benefits for L&D managers looking for their next LMS, it does have some disadvantages. 

Older technology 

SCORM has been around since the early 2000s and has gone through several iterations to make sure it’s compatible with both new platforms. That said, some old technologies—such as old browsers or device operating systems—might not have the latest web standards required by SCORM. These compatibility issues could mean learners are unable to access your training materials. 

Expensive tools

Some LMS platforms charge a premium for their ability to import SCORM files. Platforms like WorkRamp, however, include SCORM integrations to drive down the cost of a SCORM LMS. Use the All-in-One Learning Cloud to train employees, customers, and partners from a single dashboard.

SCORM authoring tools can be challenging

If you have no prior experience working with SCORM files, the setup process can be challenging. SCORM authoring tools, in particular, have a steep learning curve. You’ll need to learn how to package content and format according to the SCORM guidelines, as well as maintain the system to prevent any inaccuracies in your data.

How to choose the best SCORM-compliant LMS

Ready to start shopping for your next platform? The best LMS for your organization depends on a few different factors. 

SCORM versions

There are five different versions of SCORM; each has its own way of formatting and accepting data. Some newer LMS platforms support both popular versions, whereas others only support one. 

SCORM 1.2, which was released in 2001, is regarded as the most popular version. It includes the basic features you’ll need to export and import SCORM files in your LMS. 

That said, SCORM 2004’s release introduced new features that made it easier to track advanced data, customize navigation controls, and offer adaptive learning experiences. It grew in popularity for this reason, but some users say the system is harder to learn and slower to use.

Ultimately, the choice of SCORM version for an LMS depends on compatibility with existing content, desired features and functionalities, and your business’ requirements. Just make sure that your existing tool stack uses the same SCORM version as your new platform. 

ADL SCORM certifications

The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) project is the governing body that manages and issues SCORM certifications. If it’s important for your new tool to have been rigorously tested and approved, check that any LMS that claims to be SCORM-compliant has ADL approval. 

​​Ease of use

You can have the best training materials in your industry, but if it’s not easy for people to access your content (or for managers to upload it), you’ll have a hard job getting a return on your L&D investment. 

An easy-to-use LMS also increases the odds of your team implementing new software into their routine since there’s no friction or steep learning curve. The last thing you want is to shell out thousands of dollars on a new LMS that nobody uses, so consider how user-friendly your shortlisted LMS is before committing. You can get a rough idea from a free demo or trial

Reporting and analytics

You might have a rough idea of how effective your training programs are, but only data can prove it. When evaluating different SCORM-compliant LMSs, look beyond standard reports that can track course completion rates, quiz scores, time spent on each module, and learner progress. 

The best LMSs allow you to:

  • Use artificial intelligence to show patterns and predict future outcomes
  • Create custom reports based on specific criteria (such as job role or experience level)
  • Track compliance training progress, which helps with regulatory audits and compliance reporting 

Features of a SCORM-compliant LMS

In order for an LMS to be SCORM-compliant, all learning content must:

  • Be saved as an XML file within a ZIP folder 
  • Use JavaScript 
  • Use XML rules 

We can break these down into three smaller specifications: the content aggregation model, the run-time environment, and sequencing. 

SCORM content aggregation model

The content aggregation model defines how learning content can be organized, structured, and packaged within a SCORM-compliant LMS. It’s sometimes referred to as Package Interchange File (PIF), which requires that your eLearning content and training materials be saved as an XML file within a ZIP folder. 

SCORM run-time environment

Run-time environment describes the communication between your SCORM files and the LMS. This is largely based on the JavaScript code language. 

SCORM sequencing

SCORM sequencing describes how learners interact with your eLearning content and training materials. You’ll need to write your rules in XML format. This coding language is widely used and allows eLearning developers or programmers to define custom sequencing rules and navigation controls to suit their learning needs.

More about SCORM-compliant LMS

What SCORM versions are there? 

There are five versions of SCORM. Both the SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 versions are the most popular because they offer the basic and best features needed to produce eLearning programs.

The history of SCORM 

SCORM was first released by a US Department of Defense organization called Advanced Distributed Learning in 2000. It has undergone several revisions since its inception, with the latest version (SCORM 2004) being one of the most popular and broadly compatible versions. 

What is a SCORM certification?

SCORM is a set of technical standards that tells eLearning tool programmers how to format their code. For an LMS to be SCORM-compliant, it must have a compliance certification issued by the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) project. 

Use the best SCORM-compliant LMS

It doesn’t matter who you’re training—the best LMSs are compliant with the SCORM framework. Not only will tracking and reporting on learner performance be easier when your systems work with each other, but SCORM-compliant LMSs meet industry standards and help you get the most mileage out of your content. 

WorkRamp’s Employee Learning Cloud, in particular, is purpose-built for every employee to scale L&D programs across your entire organization. It offers best-in-class content authoring and creation capabilities for admins, including AI Assist, and has advanced reporting capabilities to show ROI on learning programs. 

The best part? WorkRamp has its own SCORM integration, so you can rest assured that your LMS is working in harmony with the tools you’re already using. 

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Elise Dopson

WorkRamp Contributor

Elise Dopson is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS companies. She’s also the co-founder of Peak Freelance and mom to an adorable Spaniel pup.

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