Over the years, there have been various versions of SCORM. They include SCORM 1.0, SCORM 1.1, SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004 1st Edition, SCORM 2004 2nd Edition, SCORM 2004 3rd Edition, and SCORM 2004 4th Edition.
The type of content that your users have that need to be supported in your LMS dictate the version to be used. However, there are versions that are not widely adopted. These include SCORM 1.0 and SCORM 1.1. Nonetheless, for purposes of this article, we will discuss all of them.
Released in January 2010, this was the first-ever SCORM version. It was a draft outline of the SCORM framework and didn’t contain a fully implementable specification. It had core elements that later became the foundation for SCORM.
SCORM 1.0 introduced content packaging, how content should communicate with an LMS (run-time exchange), and how to describe content (metadata). However, this version is not relevant today. Also, there are no records of significant implementations of this version.
This was the first implementable version of SCORM. It was introduced in January 2001 and was an improvement of version 1.0. Commercial vendors began to adopt it revealing the fact that SCORM indeed was a valid idea.
Nonetheless, it failed to address many issues and was, thus, not widely implemented. Today, there are a few legacy implementations of SCORM 1.1.
SCORM became widely known after the release of SCORM 1.2 in October 2001. All the lessons learned from the previous versions were incorporated to create a robust and implementable standard.
This version featured increased content interoperability. In turn, this functionality dramatically saved costs for vendors who adopted it. SCORM 1.2 was massively adopted and remains the industry’s workhorse.
SCORM 2004 “1st Edition”
Released in January 2004, SCORM 2004 addressed some issues identified with SCORM 1.2. First, SCORM 1.2 lacked a sequencing and navigation feature that could allow vendors to describe how a learner would progress between SCOs. Hence, SCORM 1.2 content was produced as one rigid SCO (Shareable Content Object) instead of a series of reusable SCOs.
Note: An SCO is the most granular piece of training in the SCORM standard. It is also a reusable chunk of training.
SCORM 2004 introduced improved content packaging, run-time, and content metadata books. Sections that were derived from version 1.2 are very stable. In fact, the standards that make up SCORM 2004 are up to accreditable specifications.
SCORM 2004 also introduced sequencing and navigation, two elements that allow vendors to set rules on how learners can navigate through SCOs. For instance, the vendor may set a rule where a learner can only be allowed to take a test if they complete a certain course in full.
SCORM 2004 refers to all versions of the SCORM 2004 specification. Prior to its release, it was known as SCORM 1.3. However, that name is not in use officially. The words “1st Edition” are placed in quotes in this specification since initially, it was just known as SCORM 2004.
Despite its features, SCORM 2004 had some sequencing problems. As a result, it was not fully implementable.
SCORM 2004 2nd Edition
ADL released SCORM 2004 2nd Edition in 2004 to address issues that arose as a result of the massive adoption of SCORM 2004.
SCORM 2004 2nd Edition was widely adopted but did not match the adoption levels of SCORM 1.2. The core SCORM books of this specification are very stable. However, sequencing still remains a challenge.
SCORM 2004 3rd Edition
Sequencing and navigation were issues of concern with most early versions of SCORM, including the first two versions of SCORM 2004. SCORM 2004 3rd Edition was released in October 2006 to remove ambiguities and tighten the specification for improved interoperability.
Notably, this version introduced interface requirements for LMSs. Prior to this, LMSs had to determine their own interfaces. Also, a new language was added that required LMSs to provide certain user interface components that allowed sequencing and navigation to work consistently across systems.
Similar to the 2nd edition, SCORM 2004 3rd Edition was widely adopted. In fact, of all the SCORM 2004 specifications, the 3rd edition is the most widely used.
SCORM 2004 4th Edition
Besides removing further ambiguities relating to sequencing and navigation, the 4th edition added new features that provided broader options for content providers. It was released in March 2004 and is the last and most current SCORM version.
With its improved features, SCORM 2004 4th Edition made sequencing of content much simpler. Currently, ADL is working on a new certification process for SCORM 2004 4th Edition that will require LMSs to be continually retested. This will help to maintain their certification and ensure that compliance issues can be addressed on an ongoing basis.
SCORM 1.2 vs 2004
Currently, there are two versions of SCORM that you can work with; SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004. What is the difference between the two? The answer lies with the changes that were introduced by SCORM 2004 as discussed in the following section.
Since the introduction of SCORM 1.2 in 2001, content authors could only write. They could not read what they wrote. The read-write model was introduced in 2004 by SCORM 2004. Read-write helps with interactions and assists in reporting.
Besides, SCORM 2004 allows content creators to check older interactions, check results, and develop a plan based on that.
SCORM 1.2 only has one lesson status: “Lesson_Status.” The status can be completed, incomplete, passed, failed, not attempted, or browsed. Some authors find this to be enough information while others don’t; they want more data. For example, some may want information relating to whether a learner completed a course and what questions the learner passed.
SCORM 2004 allows authors to split the lesson status into completed/incomplete (completion_status) and passed/failed (success_status). Such splitting gives authors more data and insights which helps them to make improvements.
Earlier learning management systems did not support sequencing. In fact, no one thought it could be possible. Sequencing allows authors to define the order in which content can be accessed by learners.
Sequencing introduces specific paths that can be adapted for every learner and allows them to save their progress mid-course for continuation at a later point in time. Only SCORM 2004 can permit you to do sequencing.
SCORM 1.2 or 2004?
The question lies, which of the two versions should you choose? If you just need reports on learner activities, both versions will do. The reporting elements of the two are the same. However, if you want complex elements such as sequencing and navigation, then you must choose SCORM 2004. In this case, ensure that your LMS is SCORM-compliant.