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Published on:
March 29, 2022

SCORM Compliant LMS Explained: Requirements, Benefits and More

You’re searching for a learning management system, and suddenly you see a strange acronym appear everywhere you look — SCORM.

Just what is this odd-sounding word, and what does it have to do with online learning environments? And what is SCORM compliant, anyways?

In this post, we’ll get down to the bottom of how SCORM compliance can be important for online course creation and employee learning, as well as help you determine how to choose the right one for your organization’s needs. 

What is SCORM Compliant Learning Management System?

If you’re reading this article, you probably are in the market for a learning management system. Maybe even a SCORM compliant learning management system.

But what does it even stand for in the first place?

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Though it might sound like the next blockbuster superhero movie, SCORM is actually an acronym that stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. The meaning breaks down into two parts.

SCO, or the Sharable Content Object part of SCORM, is the parts that together make up a larger training program or course, kind of like lessons or modules. 

The RM, or Reference Model, in SCORM, speaks to the fact that the group that created this set of standards didn’t invent it from the ground up. Instead, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), an initiative by the US government in the early 2000s, took what already existed in the industry and made a set of best practices that all course makers and developers could use to make sure courses worked well, and worked together properly. 

So that answers the question of what SCORM is, but what does it mean to be a SCORM compliant learning management system?

Well, you can think of it like this.

When you buy a USB drive, you can plug it into any computer with a USB port. It doesn’t matter if you bought the USB from one store or another or are plugging it into one brand of computer or another. It’s universal. That means a certain set of specifications were created and adopted for both USB drives and computer ports designed to receive them. The same idea applies to SCORM compliance. It’s a set of standards for all SCORMs to work with all LMSs who adhere to the standards. So any SCORM compliant content can play on a SCORM compliant LMS.

You need SCORM compliant learning management systems because they allow you to do the key tasks in online learning administration — analyzing, reporting, and tracking. 

When you’re an administrator of an online course, you need to keep tabs on:

  • Login credentials 
  • Answer keys
  • Assessment scores
  • Learner progress

SCORM is essential to ensure your course is going to work as you planned it to across platforms or outside of the environment you have created it in.

SCORM Compliance Requirements

SCORM Compliance Requirements

In order to maintain the set of standards set out by ADL, SCORM compliant learning management systems have to meet certain requirements, as you might expect.

Those requirements are pretty technical because they are designed to be used by developers. So to a regular person trying to build a course, these may seem confusing and complicated. That is why many LMSs like Tovuti offer tools to help you author a course with a little more ease.

That being said, it's important to understand what these requirements are, as they are the foundation of eLearning as we know it today. 

SCORM compliant learning requires all to follow consistent standards for:

  1. Content packaging
  2. Data run-time exchange 
  3. Sequencing

The first requirement, content packaging, tells us what rules exist for standardizing the transfer of SCOM content. This is outlined in the SCORM Content Aggregation Model (CAM). Ensuring data is packaged in a consistent manner, it will allow your material to become searchable and discoverable by your learners. It also allows the LMS to understand the details of the course and how it should be imported to become usable.

The second requirement speaks to how your course components ‘talk’ to an LMS, or how it interacts and functions while a user is engaging with the content. Consider this the tracking and delivery part of an online course’s functionality. That means that things like getting assessment scores and learner information are communicated from the content to the LMS in a sort of call and answer format. 

Finally, the sequencing aspect of SCORM compliance is needed to tell an LMS how to organize the order of SCOs and how learner activity should be interpreted. SCORM’s Sequence and Navigation book outlines these requirements and works with the Content Aggregation Model (CAM) to determine which content to serve learners and when.

Take a look at this example, detailed in the diagram below. It shows the logic and sequencing of how a course could look. An LMS needs specific instructions on how to process these steps. This is why sequencing is so important. Without it, your course is like a foreign language your LMS can’t understand!

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By ensuring your content meets this standard set of requirements. You can make sure the course you create can be executed as planned.

Benefits of SCORM Compliance

By implementing SCORM compliant LMS software for your organization, you can reap the benefits of consistent, well-formed online learning for your audience.

But what does that really mean for you?

Understanding exactly what aspects of SCORM compliance are valuable to your organization is one step closer to the seamless implementation of eLearning, so let’s get into it.

The table below outlines the benefits of SCORM compliant LMS software. 

Benefit of SCORM Compliance

How it Helps Your Organization 

Accessibility

Allowing your content to be created, administered, and delivered remotely means you can access learners far and wide, no matter their LMS or geographic location.

Adaptability

You can adapt and tailor learning to your business's specific needs and interests due to the standardized nature of SCORM compliance. It allows for one course to be adapted and modified by many organizations as they see fit.

Affordability 

By skipping the individual creation of an online course framework for your organization, you can save valuable time and money on both course development and delivery. 

Durability

Nothing is worse than sinking hours into a project, only to find out a few months later the platform your project is on has changed, and you’ll have to go back to the drawing board. SCORM compliance means the time and effort sunk into creating training materials will withstand changing technology without having to recode and redesign from scratch.

Interoperability

The standards set for communications mean your content can be used effectively by any SCORM compliant learning management system. The systems that are laid out in the SCORM documentation are designed to allow client-side content (your course and the materials you create) to “talk” to the LMS, no matter which one the course ends up being used on.

Reusability 

Sometimes, you have a great course for your employees or audience that you don’t want to toss out when you’re modernizing training plans. When you create SCORM compliant content, you can simply bring that older, already available content along with you, and reuse it again and again in your new LMS.

Table Source

The bottom line is that LMS standards & specifications compliance, like SCORM, create a gold standard that helps organizations. The reasons SCORM helps us can be numerous, and all of the reasons to do so are to your own benefit, whether it is because it will save you time, make you more money, or reach a broader audience through your content. Either way, consistency, and a standardized framework benefit us all, whether we are learners or course authors or somewhere in between.

SCORM-Compliant LMS Selection Criteria

SCORM-Compliant LMS Selection

So you know LMS SCORM compliance is something that can benefit your organization. 

You get the idea that many of its benefits stem from consistency and a framework that supports your organization as both your content and technology change. 

But how do you know which SCORM compliant learning management system to choose?

With dozens of options on the market, you need to consider which selection criteria are important to you and your organization. And while that may vary from organization to organization, we wanted to gather up a starting point that should help you find an LMS that is SCORM compliant.

Criteria #1: Features & Usability

There are many SCORM compliant LMSs on the market. That means you’ll have plenty of options to choose from and plenty of features to consider, too.

Features and usability are important to consider. You may need more than the basic options on the market can provide, or you may seek a SCORM compliant LMS that is simple to use and easy to get started with. Either way, you need to choose the right features for your business, not the most or the flashiest. 

You should take the time to consider what features are right for your organization. 

One way to determine what you may need is to consider your functional and technical needs:

  1. Functional Needs: This includes features like gamification, types of assessment tools, video conferencing tools, tracking and reporting tools, and other user and administrator features.
  2. Technical Needs: This includes whether or not the LMS is SCORM compliant and can have SCORM files uploaded and integrated with ease, as well as mobile-friendliness, APIs, integrations, and SSO, among others.

Once you have determined this, you will be able to sort through the stacks of SCORM compliant LMS options and find one with the right features for your team.

Criteria #2: Integrations

Integration with other software in your tech stack is something that you must consider before purchasing a SCORM compliant LMS. 

Just think of a scenario where your most-used software, say a payroll software or your email suite, can’t cooperate with your new SCORM compatible LMS — now what?

You end up wasting time trying to make things work together that simply don’t, or you’ll have to switch a core tool that you’ll need to get everyone on board for at the same time as a new SCORM compliant learning tool. It sounds like it could be messy.

Using a SCORM compatible LMS, like Tovuti, should provide you with access to a wide selection of integrations, so you don’t have to send your IT department into chaos. You’ll be able to check out a marketplace of integrations and check to make sure your essentials are compatible.

Criteria #3: Onboarding Time & Support

lack of onboarding time and support

Have you ever gotten a new tool in your hands and been super excited to get it working for your team, only to realize — you don’t even know where to start? And you can’t seem to find a way to get in touch with support?

We’ve been there. It’s not very fun or very productive for your business.

When you’re shopping around for a SCORM compliant learning management system, you’re going to want to make sure you take the time to see what kind of implementation program they offer, if any, and what support they offer you in your day-to-day use.

Support options for using your SCORM compliant LMS may include:

  • Telephone support
  • Online chat
  • Email 
  • Support ticketing

A SCORM compliant LMS should help you get your team online without the headaches and hassle of trying to guess the best way to set it up. An LMS like Tovuti offers you a team of implementation specialists to help get you started and are there to see you through from start to finish. 

Criteria #4: Cost

Often, the criteria for cost is seen as the easiest thing to rank SCORM compatible LMS for when in fact, it can be the hardest thing to rank. 

It’s not as simple as putting the cheapest option at the top and the most expensive option at the bottom of the list. 

Think about the unique needs of your business. Perhaps you need video conferencing and a SCORM certified option, but the cheapest option doesn’t offer that. If your needs aren’t being met, it’s not a good deal at all. The same goes for going too pricey. You may not need to have every single option available if you’re a small business with few employees. 

The wisest thing to do is to compare value and not cost. Value means you’re taking into account what the cost means to your needs and how it will ultimately benefit you. Also, consider if there is a free trial available to test features out and if you can save money by committing to an annual plan versus a month-to-month.

4 Popular SCORM Compliant LMS Software: Comparison and Review

Popular SCORM Compliant LMS Software

With so many SCORM LMS software options available, you’re bound to find at least a handful of options to consider. 

We’ve gathered up our top picks for SCORM compliant LMS software so you can shorten your search time and get your team training and learning online as fast as possible. 

SCORM LMS Software #1: Tovuti

tovuti

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Our number one choice for a SCORM compliant LMS has to be Tovuti. And while we may seem biased, you can take it from the reviews and client testimonials from real users of Tovuti that make this tool #1 ranked. 

Offering an easy-to-use, feature-rich experience, Tovuti offers you the ability to upload SCORM 1.2 and 2004 files for easy integration with existing content alongside a host of other features.

Tovuti is a SCORM compliant LMS that features:

  • Gamification
  • Collaborative learning environments
  • White labeling
  • Customizable assessments
  • Grading and progress reporting 
  • Course authoring
  • Video conferencing
  • Certification abilities
  • Mobile-friendly

This is just a sampling of what Tovuti has to offer you. Tovuti is both highly customizable and easy to use, so you can get the solution you need without the headaches. We help make sure you’re set up and ready to start sharing course content by connecting you with an implementation expert, and you’ll be able to reach out for support by email, support ticket, or phone after you’re set up to solve problems, is a breeze.

You can make sure you’ve got all the information needed to make your decision by scheduling a call with one of our representatives. 

SCORM LMS Software #2: Brightspace D2L

scorm LMS

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A popular choice for educators and large institutions, D2L Brightspace is SCORM compliant, allowing you to bring old content forward into the LMS with ease. Many reviews tout the functionality for learners, as well as the customization options within their courses to add events to a calendar, assess learners, and create discussion boards.

The drawback we can see from checking out what users have to say is that support seems to be lacking, and long response times can be an issue for a problem that needs to be solved fast, such as technical issues. So while it seems to offer good functionality, users who are new to using a SCORM compliant LMS may want to look for an option with better support. 

SCORM LMS Software #3: Docebo

scorm LMS

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Another option for those seeking a SCORM compliant LMS is Docebo. 

This LMS is designed for large enterprises and offers features including SCORM compliance, mobile functionality, a social learning environment, and integration with other software. Many reviewers have noted the wide range of features available and the level of customization.

Unfortunately, a ton of features may not be for everyone and can be overwhelming without the right support, as noted in some reviews. Also noted as a concern by users was the lack of administrative controls and some missing functionality there, such as the fact you cannot deactivate an outdated course.

SCORM LMS Software #4: Moodle

moodle

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Our final pick for a SCORM compliant LMS is Moodle. Moodle is highly customizable and offers tools for small, large, and enterprise-level businesses. Reviewers note the number of integrations and plug-ins as the tool is open source as being a highlight and allows them to create unique and engaging online learning experiences for their respective audiences. 

However, many of the reviewers noted that Moodle might not be the best option for those who are not tech-savvy or don’t have in-house IT and development expertise at their fingertips. Some reviewers noted its complexity and set-up challenges as hard to overcome, so you may want to consider what resources you have available if you select Moodle. 

Q&A About SCORM Compliant LMS

QA About SCORM Compliant LMS

What Is LMS SCORM 1.2? 

LMS SCORM 1.2 is simply a version of SCORM created in October 2001 that built and refined the success of SCORM 1.0 and 1.1. LMS SCORM 1.2 was followed by several editions of SCORM 2004 from January 2004 onwards. 

While these protocols and documentation were composed over 20 years ago, LMS SCORM 1.2 is the most widely used iteration of the guidelines. 

Is Tovuti LMS SCORM Compliant?

Yes, Tovuti is LMS SCORM compliant. When you choose Tovuti as your LMS, you can bring forward content you’ve already made. 

In the event that you have created content in another course authoring software and would like to import it into Tovuti, you can do so! Tovuti is compatible with SCORM 1.2 as well as 2004. 

What Is SCORM Compliance?

SCORM compliance means that the LMS you are using is able to read, upload, and use SCORM course content created in other environments. By complying with a core set of standards, you can universally apply content to any LMS, as long as they are SCORM compatible.

What Is SCORM Compliant Learning?

SCORM compliant learning is any online course content that meets the testing requirements for SCORM compliance and follows the standards outlined by the ADL. 

Final Thoughts

SCORM learning management system

It’s time to make the decision about which SCORM learning management system works best for your organization.

You know you need a learning management system SCORM compliance if you need to bring old course content forward or adopt an external training course. You have the information to compare and rank the most popular SCORM compliant LMSs, so you know you’re getting what you need to do the job right for your needs. 

You also understand that you need an LMS that you can quickly implement. With Tovuti's LMS, you get the perfect combination of features and ease of use, ensuring that your content is ready for your students as quickly as possible.

Find out how Tovuti makes SCORM compliant LMS painless by watching our demo or by checking out some FAQs.

Author:
Tyson Chaplin

Tyson Chaplin earned his Master of Educational Technology degree from Boise State University in 2014. He also earned a graduate certificate in Technology Integration and holds teaching certificates in online teaching, special education, and history.

Tyson is an Idaho native who is passionate about technology and how it can help all people learn and better themselves. He has worked in both public and private sectors. Tyson enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife, Malia, and restores vintage video game systems in his free time.

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