Ultimate step by step guide to create SCORM  

In the field of online training, it is important to master various concepts and one of the most important is SCORM. Understanding the meaning of this term is essential for any professional who aspires to create interoperable and effective e-learning content. In this guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about SCORM, what it is for, why it is important and a step-by-step guide to create SCORM. Are you up for it? 

1. Understanding SCORM: What is it and why is it important? 

The word SCORM, an acronym for Sharable Content Object Reference Model, is a set of standards that ensure the compatibility and reuse of content in different learning management systems (LMS).  

When we talk about standards, we are referring to certain technical specifications designed to ensure that different e-learning platforms and content can work together, no matter who created them. Thus, SCORM is nothing more than a set of specifications that standardize the production of content in e-learning, allowing the creation of easily reusable content.  

The importance of SCORM lies in its ability to provide a consistent and seamless learning experience, regardless of the platform being used. It enables trainers and organizations to develop training courses and materials that can be easily imported, exported and used in a wide variety of learning management systems, thus maximizing their reach and effectiveness.  

The origins of SCORM 

The SCORM format was created out of a specific need: to improve military personnel’s access to training through online content. At the end of the 90s, Congress and the United States National Guard, through the ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) initiative, set out to develop a standard that would unify and improve the interoperability of educational content.  

In 1998, ADL introduced the first version of a standard that sought to unify different types of content such as AICC, IMS, ARIADNE, and IEEE. This effort was crucial in simplifying compatibility issues between learning platforms, solving the problem of working with different standards.  

In 2000, SCORM 1.0 was launched. This first version was the starting point for many other versions with a series of improvements and updates based on user feedback. Today the two main versions of this standard are SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 1.3 (SCORM 2004), the former known for its stability and ease of use, while the latter introduced features such as sequencing and more advanced navigation, to control the learning experience.  

The SCORM format and its components 

Knowing what SCORM is, it can be deduced that SCORM packages are a collection of compressed digital files (HTML, XML, multimedia, and more), usually in formats such as .zip. Each file contains the elements that make up an e-learning course and that we will then upload to our platform. The basic components of any SCORM package are:  

  • ASSET: These are the simplest and most basic objects within a SCORM package. They can include files of different formats such as images, videos, documents, etc.  
  • SCO (Sharable Content Object): These are the learning objects that indicate to the LMS the structure of the course and the relevant information about it. Although it may seem like a complex concept, it is a structure that organizes content in a way that training platforms can interpret it. Let’s see it with an example:  

Imagine you’re designing a course on Power Skills. You would start by defining the units of your course that can be:  

  1. Introduction to Power Skills. 
  2. Most relevant Power Skills. 
  3. Tools for the development of Power Skills. 
  4. Steps to develop a Power Skills training strategy. 

In SCORM language, this content is translated into 4 SCOs, one for each unit of the course:  

  • SCO 1: Introduction to Power Skills. 
  • SCO 2: Most relevant Power Skills. 
  • SCO 3: Tools for the development of Power Skills. 
  • SCO 4: Steps to develop a Power Skills training strategy. 

And within each unit, it would in turn contain more SCO subunits related to the specific elements of each module.  

2. Exploring SCORM file creation methods 

Now that you have an in-depth understanding of what SCORM is and its basic components, it’s time to learn how to create SCORM content. And to make it much easier for you, we will show you the three main ways to do it:  

Create SCORM from scratch with authoring tools 

Authoring tools allow you to create SCORM content efficiently and with a high degree of customization. Some of the best tools are easy to use and don’t require advanced technical knowledge. Let’s see the steps to follow:  

  • Step 1: Selecting the Author Tool 

The first step is to choose an authoring tool. This should be an easy-to-use tool, with an intuitive interface and value-adding productivity features such as auto-save and restore points, stock gallery and image editor, AI capabilities for translation generation, voice-overs, subtitles, games, and assessments, and automatic accessibility capabilities that allow for the integration of accessible and interactive games.  

Make sure the tool of your choice is SCORM compliant. If you’re not sure where to start when choosing your authoring tool, check out our Whitepaper: Step-by-Step to Choose Your Perfect Authoring Tool.  

  • Step 2: Design and development of course content 

Once you’ve chosen your authoring tool, you’ll need to design and develop your training content. Define your course title and description and structure your content so that it is easy to follow. Also be sure to incorporate multimedia elements and interactive activities that engage students. Images, audio, and videos will help you create more dynamic content; Q&A exercises, drag-and-drop, matching, or completing exercises will help you reinforce what you’ve learned, and the inclusion of games will improve student motivation.  

  • Step 3: Distribution of SCORM content 

Authoring tools often offer different ways to distribute your content. Some of the best ones such as isEazy Author offer you options to export the content in PDF format, share your course by direct link, export it as a micro-site to embed it in your intranet or website, and even share it from the same software through its integrated distribution platform isEazy Author Go. But the most common way to distribute your SCORM content is through an LMS.  

If this is your case, you should choose a format that communicates with the platform and allows you to obtain a record of the actions carried out by the students. Our tool allows you to choose from several options, including SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004, and Tincan/xAP. Here are the two SCORM versions to be aware of: 

SCORM 1.2: This is the most common version that offers you two types of tracking. The first of them is the completion tracking that shows the percentage of view of the course; once all the content has been viewed, a status of “completed” is sent to the platform and if there is an evaluation, the user must complete it to send it, however, the grade will not be recorded. The second is the evaluative monitoring, in this case a minimum grade can be established to pass the course, and this will be recorded, in case you do not establish an evaluation, the course will behave like the completion monitoring. 

SCORM 2004: isEazy Author implements only the third edition of this version, as it is the most common. This option offers advanced settings for more targeted communication between the course and the LMS platform. Our recommendation is to use the standard settings to ensure the proper functioning of the course. 

  • Step 4: Testing and Adjustments 

The final step is to test and deploy the SCORM package in an LMS to make sure everything is working properly. Verify that content reproduces correctly, and that progress tracking and assessments are recorded as expected. If the course you have created is intended to be distributed through other methods mentioned above (PDF, direct link, embed, other distribution platforms), here’s an interesting article where you can expand the information. 

Advantages of this approach 

Creating SCORM courses from scratch with authoring tools allows designers and educators to build personalized learning experiences tailored specifically to their audiences. This method offers flexibility in design, improvements in productivity, and the ability to incorporate a variety of interactive and multimedia elements that enrich learning. 

In addition, it is possible to see the progress of students through course completion statuses and the establishment of cut-off marks for the LMS platform to consider pass or fail based on the results of the final assessment.  

Converting existing files into SCORM packages with authoring tools 

Converting existing files such as PowerPoint presentations into SCORM packages is possible by using authoring tools such as isEazy Author. You can import your project to create interactive courses that will allow you to take advantage of the content you already have documented in your presentation.  

It’s very easy. You just have to select the “upload PPT” option, choose the course you want to create and the design options that best fit your content (templates and color palettes). All the slides of your PowerPoint will be imported as image elements that you can complement thanks to the AI features of our tool, to automatically include interactives and games, generate in seconds a final evaluation with questions based on the content of the course, translate the entire project in just a couple of clicks, add voice-overs and automatic subtitles, and much more. That’s it, you can distribute it now! 

Advantages of this approach 

The advantages of using an authoring tool like isEazy Author to convert PowerPoint presentations into SCORM packages include leveraging existing content, ease of use, the ability to enrich content with interactive elements and games, generating automatic assessments, translations, voice-overs, and automatic subtitles, and most importantly LMS support. All this saves time and resources, optimizing the creation of interactive and engaging courses. 

Create SCORM without additional tools 

The third method to create SCORM is to do it without additional tools. This is a more complex process than the previous ones, which includes developing the training content using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, creating the manifest file that will define the structure of the course and the resources included, integrating the SCORM API into your content so that it can communicate with the LMS and writing the JavaScript code necessary for initialization, track progress, and end the learning session. 

You’ll then need to package the content, organize all the course files (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, imsmanifest.xml) into a suitable folder structure, compress the files into a ZIP package, and upload them to your LMS.  

Additional Resources for creating SCORMs without authoring tools 

There are resources that can make it easier to create SCORMs without authoring tools, such as SCORM converters, SCORM packagers, and SCORM players. Converters transform documents such as PDF and PPT into interactive SCORM modules. Packagers are used by programmers to make SCORM-compliant HTML content by adding SCORM API commands. SCORM players or testers are useful for reviewing and ensuring that a SCORM file is error-free before distributing it to your LMS. These resources are useful for those who prefer not to invest in new technologies. 

Advantages of this approach 

It is an ideal method for those who want to have full control over the creation process and are looking to avoid additional costs in specialized software. However, it takes time not only to carry it out, but also technical knowledge and it is still easy to make mistakes.  

3. Playback and testing of SCORM courses 

Playing and testing SCORM courses is an essential component in online course development. SCORM packages are usually large files and uploading them can take time, which is why it is recommended to test them to avoid errors and having to upload them several times. To do it you can follow these steps:  

  1. Package course content in a SCORM-compliant file, which you can do using authoring tools such as isEazy Author.  
  2. Import the SCORM package into the LMS where the course will be hosted. This process involves accessing the admin section of your LMS where you will have to look for an option that allows you to add new courses or training content. Then you will only have to select your SCORM file from the device and start uploading.  
  3. Test the course in the LMS to verify that it runs correctly and that all functionalities, such as navigation, interactivity, and tracking learner progress, are operating properly. 
  4. Make necessary adjustments and corrections to SCORM course content or settings as required. 
  5. Once your SCORM course is fine-tuned and tested, you can publish it and make it available to learners in your LMS. 

Uploading SCORM courses to your LMS is a process that, although it may seem technical at first, is essential to ensure a smooth and effective learning experience, and you can see that it is very easy! By following these steps, you can ensure that your content is not only compatible with your LMS, but also offers a rich and interactive learning experience for your learners.  

4. Best practices when creating SCORM content 

Creating effective and engaging SCORM content is essential to ensure a successful and enriching online learning experience. To help you achieve this, we want to share with you some of the best practices for SCORM content creation focusing on the main features of this standard:  

Interoperability 

Interoperability allows SCORM content to be used on different learning platforms without presenting compatibility problems. To ensure interoperability:  

  • Use recognized tools and standards: Employ authoring tools that adhere to SCORM specifications.  
  • Select a good LMS: Check that your SCORM content is deployed and working correctly in your LMS.  

Reusability 

The reusability of SCORM content allows learning modules to be reused in different contexts and courses. To maximize this feature:  

  • Design standalone modules: Create content units that can be used independently in various courses, which will ensure you get the most out of resources.  
  • Tag correctly: Use descriptive metadata that makes it easier for you to find and reuse content.  

Durability 

Any SCORM content must maintain its relevance and functionality over time, even in the face of technological changes. To ensure durability:  

  • Adopt approved standards: Make sure your content complies with the latest versions of SCORM.  
  • Update regularly: Regularly review and update your content to keep it up to date with new technologies and learning methodologies.  

Accessibility 

Accessibility in e-learning is fundamental and is supervised by regulations such as the Web Accessibility Law in Spain, which is aligned with European Directive 2016/2102,Section 508 of the Workforce Rehabilitation Act in the United States, which requires companies to provide the same access to information to people with disabilities as to people without disabilities; and the Web Content criteria Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). 

These regulations urge educational institutions and organizations to ensure that their content is accessible to people with disabilities. The implementation of these standards is on the rise in Spain and globally, reflecting the growing importance of providing inclusive and equitable education. Meeting these standards is not only a legal obligation, but it also enhances the learning experience, ensuring that all users can access content, fully participate, and benefit from educational opportunities. To improve accessibility:  

  • Follow accessibility guidelines: Comply with standards such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) to make your content accessible. Using authoring tools like isEazy Author can greatly facilitate this process. Our tool allows you to create accessible courses without the need for advanced programming or design skills. In addition, it provides functionalities such as automatic accessibility and contextual help to the editor, which simplifies the creation of inclusive and high-quality content. Want to know more? Download our Whitepaper:  

Scalability 

Finally, scalability allows you to create SCORMs that accommodate different audience sizes and course expansion. To ensure scalability:  

  • Optimize performance: Make sure media files are optimized for fast load times.  
  • Design for growth: Create content that can be easily expanded or modified to add new lessons or modules without needing to redo the entire course.  

By following these best practices, you’ll be able to create SCORM content that not only meets technical standards, but also provides a rich and accessible learning experience for all users. The correct implementation of interoperability, reusability, durability, accessibility and scalability will ensure that your e-learning courses are effective and sustainable in the long term. 

5. Other tips for creating courses 

Knowing how to adapt the content to the objectives and needs of the students is very important for the success of any e-learning course. This includes considering the organization’s structure, resources, and overall goals. A good practice for this is to establish clear and well-defined learning objectives from the beginning, using the SMART formula (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based) to ensure the effectiveness of the course.  

Another important aspect when creating courses is that they are short but impactful, focusing the content on the aspects that are truly relevant to learning. Implementing short, recurring units, rather than lengthy sessions, allows students to review and consolidate what they have learned on an ongoing basis. If your courses are longer, you can break the content down into multiple objectives or create a series of short courses that hold attention and make it easier to assimilate.  

On the other hand, encouraging feedback is very important. Feedback is an integral part of the learning process, offering students the opportunity to understand their mistakes and learn how to improve them. Focus on providing specific, timely, and constructive feedback.  

Finally, the use of intuitive authoring tools, such as isEazy Author, can significantly simplify the process of creating e-learning content. These tools offer ready-to-use resources that allow users, regardless of their technical expertise, to create engaging and effective courses in a very short time.  

In addition, our tool also has functionalities for customization that allow you to adapt the courses to your corporate image and others for productivity such as the generation of translations, voice-overs, subtitles and final evaluations. All in a couple of clicks thanks to AI! What are you waiting for to request a demo? Discover the easiest authoring tool on the market.  

Frequently asked questions about create SCORM

Why use SCORM?

SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is very important for standardization and interoperability in the field of e-learning. It allows for the reuse and sharing of training content between different systems and platforms, thus facilitating the distribution and monitoring of online learning. 

Is SCORM still relevant?

Yes, SCORM is still relevant in the world of e-learning. Although new standards such as xAPI (Experience API) have emerged, SCORM is still widely used and supported by most learning management systems (LMS). 

Is it possible to update or modify a SCORM package after it has been created and uploaded to an LMS?

Yes, it is possible to update or modify a SCORM package after it has been created and uploaded to an LMS. However, it is important to ensure that any modifications made are compatible with the original SCORM format and that updates are properly implemented in the LMS. 

Can SCORM packages contain multimedia elements such as videos and interactive activities?

Of course! SCORM packages can contain a variety of multimedia elements, including videos, images, and interactive activities. These elements enrich the learning experience and improve knowledge retention. 

Elizabeth Aguiar Chacón
CONTENT CREATED BY:
Elizabeth Aguiar Chacón
Content Marketing Specialist at isEazy

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