If you’ve created an eLearning course, you’ll know that SCORM is a universal file format. Everyone in the eLearning industry should be familiar with SCORM, and content creators – even those creating business or sales content – should be comfortable navigating different versions.
But what is SCORM, and why is it important in an eLearning environment? This blog will offer a step-by-step guide to understanding SCORM and its influence on eLearning.
We’ll also show you why a learning management system (LMS) that’s SCORM-compliant is a must-have in effective eLearning delivery.
What is the SCORM format?
SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It’s a set of technical standards that tell eLearning developers how to write their code so that it plays nicely with other eLearning software. SCORM ensures that different eLearning software can communicate with each other. So, using SCORM, online courses developed on one LMS can be used on another LMS without any hiccups.
As a file format, SCORM files are shareable across multiple eLearning software, making it easy for content creators to build learning content that lots of learners can use. SCORM files are LMS-agnostic, so they can be uploaded and used on any SCORM-compliant LMS.
The challenge of PPT to SCORM conversions
A common problem for those who want to create and publish training materials is converting PowerPoint presentations into SCORM documents via SCORM conversion software.
Often, learning material is initially created as a PowerPoint slide deck. Later, the business decides to convert the PowerPoint slides into online courses and attempts to do so via third-party SCORM converters.
But SCORM converters are an imperfect solution. eLearning materials, even PowerPoint slides, often contain complex interactive elements like quizzes and video. With a PPT to SCORM converter, that complexity is often lost. And sometimes preserving the interactivity turns out to be so technically challenging that it’s ultimately not worth the time and effort involved.
What’s more, PowerPoint to SCORM converters may not interpret the original PowerPoint presentation accurately, creating a headache when it’s time to upload the SCORM file to an LMS.
When a SCORM package is updated, the PPT to SCORM files are often left behind. Patching them to match the updated SCORM package sometimes requires reconverting the original file – a clunky, time-consuming process.
PPT to SCORM conversions are deeply problematic, creating more hassle than help for instructional designers. A far more effective way to create interactive, engaging eLearning courses is to use a native solution like a SCORM-compliant LMS.
What is a SCORM-compliant LMS?
A SCORM-compliant LMS is a learning management system that seamlessly accepts any SCORM file. It can upload, display, and track eLearning content developed to the SCORM standard.
A quality LMS won’t simply retain all the interactive features that make engaging content like quizzes and video. It’ll also accept the SCORM package, which is the zip file containing instructions on content, structure, and metadata required for the SCORM file to run seamlessly.
A compliant LMS supports tracking and reporting. You can track learners’ progress as they work through the SCORM course, and the data is accessible and downloadable for administrators to analyse and create reports.
Plus, a SCORM-compliant LMS allows for versatile training modules and environments. Whether you’re creating course content for employee training or to onboard volunteers, an LMS has the flexibility to ensure each SCORM course loads correctly and retains its interactivity across all devices.
Advantages of using a SCORM-compliant LMS
When you choose a SCORM-compliant LMS, you can create engaging, interactive content without resorting to third-party authoring tools. And if you need to convert PowerPoint presentations or other premade online course material, a good LMS will upload and interpret the original file while preserving all its subfiles, layout, and interactive elements.
Using an LMS benefits your online courses by offering:
- Streamlined content integration
- Seamless tracking and reporting
- Enhanced user experience
- Time and cost savings
When you attempt to convert PowerPoint slides with a SCORM converter, you’re asking for high costs and hassle. Using a compliant LMS cuts through the noise with a native authoring tool for your online courses.
How to identify a SCORM-compliant LMS
Look for an LMS that touts its SCORM compliance, and then some! SCORM technology has evolved to include a host of other, related technical compliance standards like SCORM versions SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, xAPI, cmi5, LTI 1.1, LTI 1.3 and AICC.
Ask your LMS provider whether they support every SCORM version, plus the newer technical standards like the ones listed above.
You should also find out how the LMS handles content track and reporting. Your LMS must track learner-SCORM interactions accurately. Ensure the LMS tracks all data on learner interactions with the course material, like course completion numbers, answers to quiz questions, video watch rates, test scores, etc. Those metrics allow you to measure and report on learning outcomes, so make sure they’re recorded in your LMS.
Finally, ask your LMS provider for testimonials or case studies of clients using their SCORM content successfully. If possible, speak with those clients directly to hear about their experience. Understanding how your LMS supports SCORM compliance in different contexts and industries is essential.
Can an LMS act as a SCORM converter for PPT files?
If you’re stuck with PowerPoint files you’d like to repurpose as learning content, you can rebuild your PPT files using the LMS as your authoring tool.
The approach is simple: copy and paste your PPT material (text, images, video, everything) into your LMS’s content creation tool. Add some interactivity like quizzes or assignments to make it suitable for eLearning.
Then, click Publish! In an LMS, you can add your course to a learning journey or assign it to the learners who need it. You can download your course as a SCORM package zip file so that it’s shareable across any LMS.
Believe it or not, rebuilding your PPT content in the LMS is as effective as using a PPT to SCORM converter, because as we’ve discovered, conversion will cause you to lose interactive features anyway. By rebuilding your PPT, you gain SCORM-compliant eLearning materials that will integrate seamlessly on any LMS platform.
Why you should go with a native solution rather than a SCORM converter
Using an LMS to create SCORM files offers distinct advantages over a clunky attempt to convert PPT to SCORM:
- Seamless integration
- Efficient data tracking
- Intact interactivity
- Uses less time and fewer resources
An LMS (like LearnRight!) takes the guesswork out of content compatibility. Not only does LearnRight support all SCORM versions, but it’s also compatible with newer tech standards, like xAPI and AICC.
With LearnRight, you can easily import and integrate content from a wide variety of sources without time-sucking compatibility issues. You can shake off the shackles of proprietary formats and diversify your training methods.
Experience the freedom to use the best content available, regardless of its origin—take LearnRight for a spin!