SCORM 101 and a Lectora How-To

blog-SCORM-101

One of the first things I remember Googling after my first encounter with eLearning was SCORM. It was this foreign word that had no meaning to me at the time. How quickly that has changed! This article will take a look at what SCORM is and how it applies to eLearning created in Lectora® and Lectora Online®.

What is SCORM?
Let’s start with the basics. SCORM stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model. It’s a technical standard established by the United States Department of Defense in January 1999. Its main use is for communicating content from an authoring tool (e.g. Lectora) into a learning management system or LMS (e.g. CourseMill). Throughout the years, SCORM has come in multiple versions:

SCORM 1.1

The first version was introduced in January 2001.

SCORM 1.2

The second version was introduced in October 2001 and is still the most widely used today.

SCORM 2004

The third version was introduced January 2004 but later updated. The most recent edition is SCORM 2004 (4th edition), which was introduced in March 2009.

Experience API (Tin Can or xAPI)

Experience API was introduced in April 2013 as a way of expanding SCORM capabilities. The basis is very similar; however, xAPI gives developers the ability to share, read, and write data with a data store, also known as a learning record store (LRS).

Specifications of SCORM

SCORM is composed into three categories–all of which must be met in order for content to be considered SCORM compliant. These categories include Content Packaging, Run-Time, and Sequencing.

Content Packaging

Content must be packaged into a self-contained directory or archive file format known as a ZIP.  Contained within this ZIP must be an XML file named imsmanifest.xml (the “manifest file”).  Within the manifest, the course must be divided into one or more parts called an SCO (Shareable Content Object). In Lectora/Lectora Online, the SCO is also known as an Assignable Unit (AU).

Run-Time

Content publishing to an LMS must be web deliverable and launched in a web browser (new window or frameset). Only one SCO may be launched at a time. Once the content has been launched it must communicate between the eLearning and LMS using JavaScript.

Sequencing

In general, sequencing determines navigation and performance. It can determine the navigation provided, specify prerequisites that are required, give you the ability to use weighted questions or question pools, and offer options for remediation.

How do I make my Lectora/Lectora Online courses SCORM compliant?

  1. Enable “AICC and SCORM for LMS” from the Title Options menu on the Design ribbon.

     SCORM File Type

2. Fill out the Assignable Units metadata on the Information ribbon.

     AU Properties

If the title has multiple AUs, for each one select any prerequisite AUs that must be completed. Of course, this is optional.

     Prereqs

3. Include an Exit title option. Typically this is an action on an “Exit” button or attached to a page in the title.

     Exit Title

4. Include a graded test or an action that passes a grade and completion status to the LMS.

a. Test

Grade the Test

b. Manual Score (Value is based on passing score).

AICC Score

c. To initiate manual completion, add an action that modifies the reserved variable AICC_Lesson_Status. Lectora and Lectora Online use a variable to communicate with a learning management system when publishing to SCORM or AICC. (Please note: Value varies based on what LMS you use; SCORM 2004 uses the Target CMI_Completion_Status). For more information, review the Information Center.

AICC Lesson Status

How do I publish my SCORM-compliant course?

  1. When publishing, specify the conformance level and choose the option to run the published course in its own window, instead of replacing the window in which the LMS is launched.

SCORM Options

6. Select the option to create a zip file on the HTML Options or zip the file after publishing.

HTML Options

Once your title is SCORM enabled, you will have access to a number of LMS-specific Reserved Variables, which you can use to get or send information to the LMS.

Variable Manager

To try Lectora yourself, sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Sources:

http://scorm.com/scorm-explained/technical-scorm/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharable_Content_Object_Reference_Model

http://www.slideshare.net/ThinkingCamp/scorm-a-beginners-guide

http://trivantis.com/help/Lectora/16.2/ENG/Lectora_Help/index.html#4830.html

http://trivantis.com/help/Lectora_Online/3.2/en/HelpHTMLs/index.html#cshid=4830.html

  • Thanks for this article, worth noting the scores for AICC_Lesson_status should be outputted as a percentage, otherwise scorm cloud kicks up a fuss.

  • Great Article.