What is SCORM?
A complete user guide

What is SCORM?
A complete user guide
As corporate e-learning keeps growing and becoming more and more popular, there's an obvious necessity for one standard-based and LMS-compatible format for working with the courses and materials. And the one-for-all such standardized format became the Sharable Content Object Reference Model, also known as SCORM. In this article, we will take a closer look at the SCORM definition, the various types it has, and the positive sides of using corporate education in your organization. We will also go through the alternatives to SCORM and figure out how you can choose the SCORM-compliant learning management system (LMS) that is right for you.

Without further ado, let's dive in!

What is SCORM?

Let's go beyond the usual explanation of the SCORM meaning and try to understand the idea behind it. Think of it as a set of technical regulations for corporate training courses that are supported by most of the LMSs that companies implement to motivate and train their employees. SCORM is a globally accepted number of specs that define the structure, tech capabilities, and limitations of e-learning courses.
It's responsible for how:
  • Educational content is packaged and delivered
  • Learning progress is tracked and recorded
  • Course materials communicates with an LMS

Simply put, SCORM provides a common language between different distance learning systems so that you can work effectively with any of them. You can build a course once and then apply it across multiple learning management platforms, so you can make sure everything works seamlessly and with no errors. You can also easily play with the course customization and content to make it meet all your business objectives here and now.
Key takeaway:
“SCORM provides a common language between various distance learning systems so that you can work effectively with any of them.”

For example, a user can define the algorithm and rules for passing the course. It can be the possibility to go to the next lesson only after the previous one is finished, which might be very useful in some cases. Another option is to give access to theoretical material first and then to practical tasks.
Let's sum it up. The main advantages of SCORM are:

  • Cross-system functionality
  • Rich multimedia support
  • Customizable content

Today, there are two current versions of the SCORM standard — 1.2 and 2004. We will explain the difference between them later in this article. Keep on reading!

What is a SCORM file?

A SCORM file format is a container that consists of all the content that is necessary for a course. Such a file includes the course tasks, multimedia components and metadata. It is created by a specific authoring tool that typically allows course creators to build course content in a variety of formats such as HTML, Flash, or PDF.

Sure thing, files in SCORM format are designed with bearing in mind all of its standards. So you can make sure that the course will be able to run successfully using any SCORM-compliant LMS. It looks like a ZIP master file that contains another file that is responsible for the structure and other contents of the course.

What is a SCORM package?

A SCORM package is a set of files stored in a certain format due to the SCORM standard. A SCORM package consists of everything you need for a learning course, such as multimedia components, various kinds of evaluation tests, and other possible course tasks and content.

To create a SCORM package, users work with a specific authoring tool that enables them to work in a wide range of formats. Once a material is created, it can be exported whole as a package. The easiest way to test a SCORM package is to use a dedicated player or LMS to check if everything is correct.

What are the different SCORM formats?

Currently there are two main formats — SCORM 1.2, which is the older one, and a new one SCORM 2004. Version 1.2 was the very initial version of SCORM and you can see it widely used even today. Version 2004 is the newer one and has more features and functionality. For example, the older version only shows the percentage of the course that the student has completed, while the newer version also shows the number of points that the user has accumulated.

Overall, it's no surprise that SCORM 2004 includes significantly more features and functionality. It supports sequencing and navigation, allowing course creators to define how learners move through the course. It also includes support for more complex evaluation features, such as status separation, read-write functionality, and more advanced course builder with in-depth analytics and customization.

Let's take a deeper dive into this in the next section!

SCORM 1.2 vs 2004

So, which one to choose between SCORM 1.2 and 2004? If you just want the basic but proven functionality and want to report on learner outcomes, go with the older version. However, if you want some more advanced options such as complex navigation and sequencing, you should definitely go for SCORM 2004.

Advanced analytics for better customization. The older version has been around since 2001 with only one standard: write-only. This meant that a course creator couldn't read what they had written. It changed in 2004, when a new version was released, featuring a read-write functionality. In addition, SCORM 2004 allows authors to review past interactions, see the results, and create a learning path based on those results.

Status separation. One more drawback of the older version was a lesson status bar. It could indicate if the lesson is completed, incomplete, failed, passed, browsed, or not attempted. This was enough information for many authors, but others wanted more data: whether a learner completed a course, which questions a learner passed, and how many points they earned. And when SCORM 2004 came out, it was all there!

Advanced course logic. The final killer feature of the newer version that's worth mentioning is sequencing. It allows authors to add a logic that determines the order which learners access the task and content in. You can now set up specific paths that can be customized for each learner, while learners can save results mid-course and resume at a later time. Sequencing is available with SCORM 2004 only.

Once again, here's a list of the main advantages of SCORM 2004 over the older version:
  • Read-write interactions
  • Advanced analytics and customization
  • Status separation
  • New course logic with sequencing and navigation

So you're all set, and all you need to do is choose the right course builder and LMS to check if it's SCORM compliant. But what if you want something different from both older and newer versions? Are there other options? Let's find out together!

What are the alternatives to SCORM?

While SCORM is primarily used as a standard for e-learning content, there are several alternatives. What are two of the most popular alternatives to SCORM? The first one is Experience API (xAPI), and the next one is the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC) standards.


Experience API (xAPI) or Tin Can API is a newer standard for e-learning content that offers more flexibility and tracking capabilities than SCORM. It allows you to track a wider variety of learning experiences, including those that even happen beyond an LMS, such as social or informal learning.

It also allows you to track more various data points:
  • Completion status
  • Scores
  • Time spent on a particular activity

Comparing SCORM and xAPI, the latter can even track learner engagement through mouse clicks, comments, and other on-screen actions, which organizations can use to make individualized recommendations for real-time performance improvement for each employee.

Overall, the difference between SCORM and xAPI is that the latter is a more modern standard that offers more flexibility.


Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee (AICC) is an older standard for e-learning content. AICC was the first e-learning standard, and it predates SCORM. AICC is still used today, but it's less common than SCORM.

AICC and SCORM are similar in many ways, but there are some key differences between the two. AICC doesn't provide as much tracking data as SCORM, and it's not as flexible as xAPI. However, AICC is still used in some industries, particularly in the aviation industry.

Overall, the difference between the AICC and SCORM standards is simply time, as the former was developed 10 years before the latter.

Benefits of using SCORM?

SCORM provides several benefits for developers of corporate training courses and LMS users. Some of the key benefits include:

Ability to save student progress. Before SCORM, online training courses could only be completed at one time, but now students can learn at their own pace and know that their progress is saved. Even if you lose your Internet connection, your progress will be uploaded to the program when you reconnect to the network.

Compatibility. You can make sure that your educational content is compatible with any SCORM-compliant LMS. It is possible to transfer the entire course or individual modules of it between different LMS.

Advanced analytics. You have a standardized way to track learner progress. Managers can see the progress of each of the students and provide personalized feedback. At the end of the course, each student can see the number of points they have earned.

Variety of supported formats. SCORM makes it possible to use different learning components in different formats and integrate them into a single course. You can create training courses using text, video, and audio elements and work with a wide variety of formats such as HTML, Flash, and PDF.

Standardization. You can use a common language between various learning management systems, so you can effectively deliver corporate training across all of them. And before you go live, you can share and test your course online using the SCORM Cloud, or simply run a SCORM player without an Internet connection.

SCORM training can also provide benefits for learners. For example, SCORM-compliant learning courses can be accessed from any SCORM-compliant LMS, making it easier for learners to access and complete courses. They can even continue studying on their smartphones while commuting home from work.

How to choose a SCORM-compliant learning management system

There are several things to consider when choosing a SCORM-compliant LMS. One of the most important factors is whether the LMS is compatible with the version of SCORM you're using.

You should also consider the LMS's ability to support the features you need, such as tracking, reporting, assessments, and the ability to provide feedback. Some LMSs are more flexible than others, and some offer more features and functionality than others.

Another factor to consider is whether the LMS has a SCORM converter. This tool allows you to transform non-SCORM content into a SCORM course, making it easier to use non-SCORM content with a SCORM-compliant LMS.

To help you choose an LMS that is right for you, we have prepared a handy checklist for choosing an LMS. Assess your current training processes, identify areas for improvement, and evaluate the features and capabilities of different LMS options. Download it now!

Best SCORM-compliant LMS

Basically, there are three types of tools you can use to build a SCORM-compliant online course. Make your choice depending on your budget, personal preferences, and business needs.

CleverLMS is an all-in-one cross-platform staff management enterprise solution.

You'll get a cross-platform SCORM-compliant LMS with KPI tracking and task management functionality which will help you cut costs by saving your money on various software programs and services.
1) Cloud services that have almost unlimited capacity and don't require installation on your smartphone or any other device.

2) Course authoring software that requires installation on the user's PC or laptop.

3) Applications and extensions that are built into the programs you use every day, such as PowerPoint.
Explore all Clever LMS features
For example, you get the following features right out of the box:
  • Messaging, feed, video calls, and live support chat
  • Your own corporate knowledge base and content library
  • Online meetings and webinars with attendance check
  • Feedback and rating system, leaderboard and awards

In all, there are over a hundred various course builders that you can use to design tests, tasks with interactive elements, videos, and lessons to include in an online course. Here's a short list with a few of them:
360 Learning
is a popular LMS that enables you to use both the old SCORM v1.2 and the new one v2004. The platform is pretty sensitive to adjustments and provides a wide range of features and functionalities. It uses AI and collaborative features to turn your internal experts into L&D collaborators.
Academy Of Mine
is another LMS you can use to work with both the old and the new SCORM versions. You can easily integrate the platform with various software apps and use it to let your employees enroll for any educational courses and corporate training.
supports both older and newer SCORM versions, ensuring full SCORM compliance. You can also create interactive courses and assessments without any technical knowledge.
is a cloud-based LMS that supports both SCORM standards. It is user friendly and provides a range of features, such as gamification, mobile and social learning.
When choosing a SCORM-compliant LMS, it's important to consider the specific features and functionalities according to your business objectives. You should also consider the LMS's ease of use and scalability, as well as its compatibility with your existing corporate educational and training content.

Key takeaways:

  • SCORM is the most common standard for e-learning content that delivers a standardized way to build educational materials and track learner progress. Basically, it is a common language between various distance learning systems that guarantees you to work effectively with any of them.
  • There are several SCORM-compliant LMSs on the market, each with its own unique characteristics and functionality. When choosing a SCORM-compliant LMS, it's important to consider factors such as compatibility, features, ease of use, and scalability.
  • While SCORM is a popular standard for e-learning content, you can find alternatives available, such as xAPI and AICC. xAPI provides more flexibility and tracking capabilities than SCORM, while AICC is 10 years older and is less widely used in the industry.
  • Overall, SCORM is a powerful tool for corporate educational content production and delivery. Learning how to use SCORM and choosing SCORM-compliant learning management systems that meet your business objectives is the key to creating engaging and effective training courses.

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Put SCORM courses to work with CleverLMS