The remarkable growth of e-learning market in the past few years has contributed in a large way to the over-abundance of learning platforms and courses alike. This trend was unanimously hailed by e-learning experts, who contended that it had empowered customers to pick and choose, which was not the case a few years ago.
Though this was true, it confused e-learning virgins – who were even more in numbers back then – who did not know where to look, or what to look out for, while buying an e-learning solution. Also, companies that had already employed a solution to take care of their e-learning needs started struggling to integrate their existing systems with newer ones that assured of enhanced technological features over the former. This added to the reigning confusion.
It was high time a standard was set up to evaluate the features of various e-learning systems, when SCORM came to the rescue of perplexed buyers.
Definition of SCORM
An acronym of Sharable Content Object Reference Model, SCORM is a method that makes learning objects sharable within a single learning platform, regardless of what systems the platform uses. It typically registers information about learning objects, which, in turn, helps in standardizing the process of delivering an e-learning solution. All in all, SCORM is a standard that makes both the systems as well as courses interoperable, by allowing them to share data about access, progress and performance of the e-learning initiative.
So is SCORM really useful?
E learning comprises of
The courseware comprising of the actual e-learning programs.
The authoring software consisting of the software programs that are used to create the courseware
Learning management systems, which is developed to manage the e learning
Virtual learning environments, a variant of learning management systems.
In a SCORM compliant environment, each course module can work with each available LMS. A new course module, regardless of its designer, can be integrated into the LMS without hassles. This, precisely, is known as interoperability in the e-learning jargon. Apart from this, each course describes the elements that have been used in its formation. This makes it easier to locate elements a web page, an audio file or a video clip and use it in any other course. Thus a SCORM compliant LMS allows reusability of learning objects.
The benefits of SCORM
SCORM is a delivery standard for e-learning environments that benefits the vendors and buyers equally well. While perplexed buyers now know where they are investing money, vendors are happy about the enhanced marketability of their product because of its SCORM compliance.
LMS vendors who make SCORM compliant products can rest assured that integrating them with existing systems on the buyers end is now a cakewalk. They are also sure of the compatibility of their product with any futuristic system, which can entice clients into buying from them.
In a scenario where LMS are being integrated with e-learning environments left, right and centre, both the buyers and the vendors are at peace as far as compatibility issues are concerned, thanks to SCORM. With SCORM compliant learning modules, it is possible for the client to mix and match different learning platforms to make available a tailor made learning solution that exactly suits the needs of their organization. Vendors too have been complying with such standards to ensure the survival of their products in the cut-throat competition of the e-learning market.
A SCORM compatible LMS can be judged on the basis of following factors
Accessibility remote access to learning materials and course modules
Adaptability customized instruction for individual or organizational needs
Affordability in terms of pricing and time for development and delivery of content
Durability the tenacity of learning content in dynamic technological and pedagogical scenario
Interoperability access to the developed content must be possible from any location and with the help of any tools
Reusability the content must possess qualities that allow its re-use in varied contexts.
Moreover, SCORM is not simply a standard for the development of compatible e-learning products. It combines the standards mentioned by varied international bodies such as AICC and IEEE aand forms an integrated and homogeneous list of specifications that can be used by e-learning developers.
All said and done, the bottomline is that a SCORM compliant LMS can be infused with a SCORM compliant learning module without any integration hassles as such. While making your e-learning initiative more effective and user friendly, this will also provide peace of mind.