SCORM: meaning and importance in e-learning

SCORM is a set of standards that structured e-learning pedagogical content must comply with in order for its behavior to...

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SCORM: meaning and importance in e-learning

SCORM is a set of standards that structured e-learning pedagogical content must comply with in order for its behavior to be the same on the different platforms in which it is inserted and to comply with principles that ensure the quality of the content. 

This treatment of your educational units allows you to easily import them into the most recognized learning management systems and thus enhance your training. 

If you are involved in dissemination, distance learning, or creating educational content, read on because you will learn what SCORM is, how it works, and why it is important for e-learning.

SCORM definition

SCORM is a set of technical specifications for creating, packaging and promoting structured educational objects that ensure that the behavior of the content is the same regardless of the learning platform on which they are used. 

Its name comes from Shareable Content Object Reference Model, and since the release of SCORM 1.1, two updates have been made: 1.2 and 2004. The latter introduced a part that describes a runtime API and a data model that allows communication between content objects and Learning Management systems (LMS).

In 2011, a new SCORM generation known originally as Tin Can API emerged, although it is currently easier to find it under the names xAPI or Experience API. 

This new system allows for tracking of activities performed offline, both inside and outside the LMS, and across any device, offering management that covers user behaviors between different applications.


Factors of Shareable Content Object Reference Model operation

SCORM focuses on the following factors, which we describe below:

Content Aggregation Model

Refers to the guidelines that must be respected in creating e-learning content so that they behave the same way on all platforms that integrate this dynamic. 

For example, it stipulates the characteristics a video file, an image, an HTML document, etc., must respect.

Run-time Environment

It includes the characteristics that must be met by learning management systems known as LMS so that they can import and track SCORM content. In other words, it stipulates how content communicates with the LMS system.

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What does the SCORM format consist of?

The SCORM format allows pedagogical content to be packaged whether it is a single unit or a complete course. 

The basic units of information of a SCORM package are called SCO (from Shareable Content Objects), logical learning units that can be related to other SCO. 

The packages are compressed into .zip files to avoid loss of quality and contain:

  • An XML file. It includes a description of the package content and the definition of the elements that make it up.
  • XSD/DTD files. This file defines the structure each element of the content described in XML must follow.
  • Resources. These educational elements may include images, videos, exercises, texts, etc.

Thanks to this structure, the SCORM package can inform users of the progress made, times, grades obtained, and any other variable available on the chosen platform for integration.

What is SCORM?

Importance of SCORM in e-learning

The importance of SCORM lies in cost-effectiveness and time management, as it allows the creation of content that you can share and use on various platforms without needing to adapt it to each of them. 

Additionally, its complementary advantages will be as practical as they are effective.


You do not need to make modifications or format adaptations to your content to upload it to different platforms.


By uploading the content to an LMS platform, both students and teachers can easily access it anywhere and under any circumstances, with just an internet connection.


This format allows you to track your student’s progress in a personalized way, but also for a large group accurately, and at the moment you want.


This feature allows you to optimize the time for creating training programs, being able to use them to translate them into other languages or to integrate units into other courses as if they were puzzle pieces.

Factors of Shareable Content Object Reference Model operation


You can get a lot of use out of your content for years, as you can continuously update it, constantly improving its quality. This way, you prevent not only its theoretical but also technological obsolescence.


The SCORM format facilitates the customization of content and courses so that you can offer a scalable and highly flexible pedagogical experience.

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