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SCORM Development Challenges and Alternatives for LMS Course Building


SCORM Development Challenges and Alternatives

SCORM stands for "Sharable Content Object Reference Model." It is a set of technical standards and specifications used in the eLearning industry to ensure that online learning content, such as courses and modules, can be easily shared and used across different Learning Management Systems (LMS) and platforms. SCORM defines a common framework for creating and packaging eLearning content and for tracking and reporting learners' interactions with that content.


While SCORM has been a widely used standard in the eLearning industry, it does come with certain challenges during development.


Here are some of the key challenges associated with SCORM development:


Compatibility Issues:

SCORM has various versions (e.g., SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004), and not all Learning Management Systems (LMS) fully support all versions. Developers often need to ensure that their SCORM packages are compatible with a wide range of LMS platforms, which can be a challenging task.


Limited Interactivity:

SCORM is primarily designed for tracking and reporting learner progress. It may not fully support highly interactive and dynamic eLearning content, limiting the types of activities and assessments that can be included in SCORM-compliant courses.


Limited Offline Usage:

SCORM-based courses typically require an internet connection to communicate with the LMS and record learner data. Offline usage and tracking can be challenging to implement within the SCORM framework.


Lack of Real-time Data:

SCORM typically relies on periodic data synchronization between the course and the LMS, which may not provide real-time tracking and reporting of learner interactions.


Complex Sequencing:

Implementing complex course sequencing and navigation can be challenging within the SCORM standard. More sophisticated instructional design scenarios may require extensive custom development.


Limited Support for Mobile and Responsive Design:

SCORM was developed before the widespread use of mobile devices and responsive design principles. Adapting SCORM content for mobile learning can be complex and may require additional development effort.


Reporting Limitations:

SCORM reporting is limited to predefined data elements, and custom reporting beyond these elements can be challenging to implement. Organizations with specific reporting needs may find SCORM's reporting capabilities insufficient.


Lack of Support for Informal Learning:

SCORM is primarily designed for structured, formal learning experiences. It may not capture informal or experiential learning well, which can be a limitation in modern learning environments.


Maintenance and Updates:

SCORM courses may require updates and maintenance as LMS platforms evolve or as content needs change. Ensuring that SCORM packages remain compatible and functional can be an ongoing challenge.


Complexity for Content Developers:

SCORM development can be complex and require a deep understanding of the standard's specifications. Content developers may need to spend additional time and effort learning how to create SCORM-compliant courses.


Despite these challenges, SCORM continues to be a prevalent standard in eLearning due to its widespread adoption and compatibility with many LMS platforms. However, organizations should carefully consider their specific eLearning needs and whether SCORM is the best fit or if newer standards like xAPI or other approaches might better address their requirements.


Seven SCORM Alternatives for LMS Course Building

While SCORM has been a popular standard for eLearning content interoperability for many years, there are several alternatives to SCORM for building courses in Learning Management Systems (LMS). Here are seven of them:


1. xAPI (Tin Can API):

xAPI, also known as the Tin Can API, is a modern successor to SCORM. It allows for more flexible tracking and reporting of learner activities. xAPI can capture a wide range of learning experiences, including offline and mobile learning, and can store data in a Learning Record Store (LRS). It is more suitable for tracking informal and experiential learning.


2. cmi5:

cmi5 is a profile of xAPI that combines the best features of both SCORM and xAPI. It provides a structure for tracking eLearning content within an LMS while taking advantage of the flexibility of xAPI.


3. AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee):

AICC is an older standard that predates SCORM but is still used in some eLearning systems. It focuses on interoperability and content packaging.


4. LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability):

LTI is a standard developed by IMS Global Learning Consortium. It allows for the integration of external tools and content into an LMS. While it's not a course format like SCORM or xAPI, it facilitates the use of various learning resources and tools within an LMS.


5. HTML5 and Web Standards:

Many modern eLearning courses are built using HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS, without relying on specific standards like SCORM or xAPI. These courses can be hosted on an LMS and often provide a more responsive and interactive learning experience.


6. Custom APIs:

Some organizations choose to develop custom APIs for their LMS to suit their specific needs. This approach offers the highest level of flexibility but requires significant development effort.


7. LMS-Specific Formats:

Some LMS platforms have their own proprietary course formats that may not adhere to SCORM or other industry standards. If you're locked into a particular LMS, you may need to use its native format.


When choosing an alternative to SCORM for building courses in an LMS, consider factors like your organization's specific requirements, the capabilities of your LMS, the types of content you want to deliver, and the tracking and reporting needs. It's also essential to ensure that your chosen standard or format is compatible with your LMS and can achieve your desired learning outcomes.


About LMS Portals

At LMS Portals, we provide our clients and partners with a SaaS-based, multi-tenant learning management system that allows you to launch a dedicated training environment (a portal) for each of your unique audiences.


The system includes built-in, SCORM-compliant rapid course development software that provides a drag and drop engine to enable most anyone to build engaging courses quickly and easily.


We also offer a complete library of ready-made courses, covering most every aspect of corporate training and employee development.


If you choose to, you can create Learning Paths to deliver courses in a logical progression and add structure to your training program. The system also supports Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) and provides tools for social learning.


Together, these features make the LMS Portals platform the ideal solution to support your SCORM courses, as well as other course development formats.


Contact us today to get started or visit our Partner Program pages

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