Learning & Development

Why it Matters if Your LMS is SCORM Compliant

SCORM stands for “Sharable Content Object Reference Model.” The model set the standard for how programmers should create sharable content objects (SCOs) that can be reused in different learning management systems (LMSs). SCORM ensures code written for different learning objects (e.g. popups, quizzes, learning modules) is recognized by various e-learning software, and governs how online learning content and LMSs communicate with each other.


SCORM was created to:

  • Standardize physically how content is packaged and delivered. Every piece of information required by the LMS to import and launch content without human intervention is to be “packaged” in XML files.
  • Establish guidelines that require content to launch in a web browser either as a new window or a frameset.

SCORM has been around commercially since the early 2000s but is slowly becoming outdated. Tin Can API (Application Programming Interface) technology is replacing SCORM as the new go-to for delivering learning content in an LMS for a variety of reasons.
4 Reasons Tin Can API is Replacing SCORM

  • Tin Can is more reliable than SCORM. Since it’s a newer technology, it tends to be less susceptible to errors.
  • Tin Can is able to track a learner’s progress across mobile devices and other activities that aren’t located on the user’s desktop. SCORM is typically confined to tracking activity from courses taken on a desktop.
  • Tin Can allows you to access better reporting and richer data from the different activities it can track, and allows you to integrate your LMS with an LRS (Learning Record Store).
  • Tin Can is continuing to evolve while SCORM standards are becoming more stagnant and won’t be updated as frequently in the future.

Even though Tin Can is beginning to replace SCORM on a larger scale, there are still a few reasons SCORM can be desirable.
4 Reasons SCORM Still Works

  • Many SCORM-compliant authoring tools allow you to add engaging features that ensure learners will complete courses and actually retain what they’ve learned.
  • SCORM packages allow you to control the length of time a learner spends on a course before it’s marked as complete.
  • With SCORM, you can place an exam (timed or untimed) directly after the course content. Once the learner finishes the exam, the results are automatically returned back to your LMS.
  • Having SCORM compliant content typically makes it easier to migrate course content to a new LMS if you start using a new LMS vendor.

If your LMS is SCORM compliant, you might be missing out on things Tin Can is better at delivering, such as tracking mobile data and offering more substantial reporting. SCORM content authoring tools can also be more expensive. However, if you’re only interested in tracking learners’ progress within the LMS itself, you’ll be able to offer more engaging content that will most likely be easier to transfer from one LMS to another with SCORM.

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