SCORM in instructional design

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SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It is a set of specifications and guidelines to meet the requirements for web-based learning content (e-learning) in the context of modern education and training practices.

In this post, I will be displaying a high-level visual model that captures the most prominent SCORM concepts that are relevant to instructional design practices.

One of the fundamental concepts in SCORM is that of the “Sharable Content Object (SCO)” which is a reusable, modular, piece of learning content which is kept, as far as possible, context-agnostic. Each SCO has at least one associated learning objective that the learner is capable of achieving, measured and monitored against, for example, through assessment data.

A SCO uses one of more “assets”, which are items like video files, text files, image files, sound files, HTML objects, assessment objects, etc.

SCORM supports the specification of “content aggregations”. A content aggregation could be a collection of a single or multiple SCOs and you can even aggregate content aggregations to specify more complex aggregation levels, i.e. hierarchies. Think of these aggregations as being sections of a course or the actual course in the case of the highest level of aggregation. In SCORM, the top-most level is sometimes referred to as an “organization” or “root aggregation”.

SCORM also defines what’s known as “rollup and sequencing rules”, which help to specify the flow of content aggregations and SCOs. In other words, sequencing allows for specifying ordering and branching of course elements.

Finally, these SCOs with the correct asset, wrapped in the correct content aggregation and with the proper sequencing specification are delivered via the Learning Management System (LMS) to the learner for a structured e-learning experience.


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