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Understanding the Structure of SCORM 2004

Understanding the Structure of SCORM 2004

SCORM 2004 (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is a widely adopted set of technical standards and specifications for e-learning content. It is an updated version of SCORM, which stands for "Sharable Content Object Reference Model." SCORM 2004 was released in 2004 and introduced several enhancements and improvements over its predecessor, SCORM 1.2.

SCORM 2004 is designed to provide a framework for creating, packaging, delivering, and tracking online learning content that can be shared across different learning management systems (LMS). It enables interoperability between content creators and LMS platforms, allowing for the seamless exchange of learning content and tracking data.

SCORM 2004 Benefits for Corporate Training

SCORM 2004 offers several benefits for corporate training when compared to SCORM 1.2 or other e-learning standards. Here are some of the advantages of using SCORM 2004 for corporate training:

  • Enhanced Tracking and Reporting: SCORM 2004 provides a more robust and flexible data model, allowing for detailed tracking and reporting of learner interactions. This enables organizations to gather comprehensive data on learners' progress, completion status, scores, and other relevant metrics. Accurate tracking and reporting support better assessment of training effectiveness and compliance requirements.

  • Adaptive Learning Experiences: SCORM 2004 introduces a sequencing and navigation model that enables the creation of adaptive learning experiences. Instructional designers can define rules and conditions for content delivery based on learners' previous interactions, allowing for personalized and customized learning paths. This adaptability enhances engagement and learner outcomes.

  • Advanced Content Packaging: SCORM 2004 offers more advanced content packaging guidelines through the Content Aggregation Model (CAM). This allows organizations to package and organize learning content more efficiently and intuitively. The hierarchical structure and metadata support enable better content discovery, management, and reuse, saving time and effort in content development and maintenance.

  • Improved Interoperability: SCORM 2004 promotes interoperability among different learning management systems (LMS) and content providers. Organizations can choose from a wide range of SCORM 2004-compliant content, ensuring compatibility and reducing integration challenges. It provides flexibility in selecting and combining learning resources from various sources, facilitating a diverse and comprehensive corporate training program.

  • Accessibility Compliance: SCORM 2004 includes accessibility guidelines, ensuring that e-learning content is designed with accessibility considerations. This benefits organizations by making training materials usable by learners with disabilities, ensuring compliance with accessibility standards, and fostering inclusivity within the corporate training environment.

  • Future-Proofing: SCORM 2004 represents a more contemporary and advanced standard compared to SCORM 1.2. By adopting SCORM 2004, organizations can future-proof their e-learning initiatives, as it provides a more comprehensive framework for developing and delivering modern training content. It supports emerging technologies, learning approaches, and evolving industry requirements.

Understanding the Structure of SCORM 2004

The structure of SCORM 2004 can be understood by examining its key components:

Content Aggregation Model (CAM)

The CAM defines how learning resources are organized and packaged into units called content packages. These packages are self-contained units that include all the necessary files and metadata required for delivery and tracking. The CAM specifies the structure and rules for organizing the content within a package.

Content Packaging

Content Packaging is the process of assembling learning resources into a content package. A content package typically consists of XML-based manifest files that describe the structure and sequencing of the content, along with associated media files, assessments, and metadata. The manifest file, known as the imsmanifest.xml file, serves as the entry point for accessing the content.

Run-Time Environment

The Run-Time Environment (RTE) is responsible for launching and tracking the content package during runtime. It provides a set of services and communication protocols that enable the LMS to launch the content, track learner interactions, and report data back to the LMS. The RTE communicates with the content package using a JavaScript API known as the SCORM API or the ADL API.

Sequencing and Navigation

SCORM 2004 introduces a sequencing and navigation model that allows instructional designers to define rules for controlling the flow of content. It supports different types of navigation, such as linear, hierarchical, and adaptive navigation, enabling the creation of more complex and interactive learning experiences.

Data Model

The data model in SCORM 2004 specifies the structure and format for exchanging data between the content package and the LMS. It defines a set of data elements and rules for tracking learner interactions, such as completion status, score, and time spent. The data model is based on the IEEE LTSC (Learning Technology Standards Committee) Data Model, which uses a hierarchical structure with elements, attributes, and values.


The SCORM API (Application Programming Interface) provides a standardized set of functions that enable communication between the content package and the LMS. It allows the content to send and receive data related to learner interactions, such as bookmarking, completion status, and scoring. The API is implemented using JavaScript and is typically accessed through a JavaScript object called "API" or "SCORMAPI."

By following these specifications and guidelines, content developers can create SCORM 2004-compliant e-learning content that can be easily deployed and tracked within a compatible LMS.

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 course authoring software that enables 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 SCORM-compliant LMS for your corporate training program.

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

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