Why SCORM is bad for elearning

This post is in regards to the recent $2 billion dollars that the US gov’t has set aside for the creation of Open Educational Resources. A significant shot in the arm for OER’s, except for on small glitch – the content has to be developed to be SCORM compliant. This post rips apart how that little gotcha puts the whole idea of resuability at risk. A good trashing of the SCORM standard. It should be noted that the trashing is being done by a person who is involved in creating a competing standard, but these remain valid concerns with SCORM. But really, what about just developing to web standards and be done with it?

Amplify’d from www.imsglobal.org
1. SCORM is severely outdated and narrow in scope. The model upon which it is based is 15 years old and very focused on one specific need: self-paced computer-based training (CBT). It is also old in terms of the technology used to implement it. It is not web friendly. It was even kind of outdated when it first came into the market. Now it is ancient.
. SCORM does not provide reliable interoperability or reuse. SCORM is very complex and notorious for providing inconsistent interoperability even among products achieving the SCORM certification.
3. SCORM was not designed for and has NOT typically been used for cohort-based educational courses with teacher and professors involved.
4. SCORM is especially bad for customizing and remixing by regular teachers and professors. SCORM objects are generally a “black box.” They require complex authoring tools to create and edit SCORM content. Therefore, remixing and republishing by the users is extremely complex
5. SCORM has no concept of or support for assessment. At best SCORM can be set up to provide short quizzes or individual questions that are a black box.
6. SCORM has no concept of protecting access to content with license codes or any other protection mechanism.
7. SCORM has no concept of or support for existing in a wider Information Technology (IT) infrastructure in which there are administrative student systems. This means that SCORM does not think through how access to various content and resources is restricted to certain individuals, including cohorts of students for collaborative activities and courses, or how data gathered from the learning is reported to administrative systems
it is very difficult to find even a single higher education course that has been reused as a result of SCORM
So, why is SCORM a poor fit for education? SCORM may be part of the solution, but at best it only addresses 10% of the requirements, and unfortunately based on very outdated technology.
Social learning, collaborative learning? These were never even contemplated with SCORM.

Read more at www.imsglobal.org



Clint Lalonde

Just a guy writing some stuff, mostly for me these days on this particular blog. For my EdTech/OpenEd stuff, check out https://edtechfactotum.com/.


3 thoughts on “Why SCORM is bad for elearning

  1. Rather than spam you with my full commentary, I'll link to my long form post on the subject: http://scorm.com/blog/2011/01/obamas-award-and-mi

    SCORM is not the problem here, and Rob Abel's assertions about it are laced with several inaccuracies. I'm well aware that many have had frustrating experiences with SCORM over the course of time, but there are countless successes too, and SCORM is a viable option for interoperability. It has it's place, but that place isn't at the exclusion of other options.

    Frankly, the vitriol from Rob seems politically motivated, and does nothing to further elearning standards and their success. We can do better than that sort of an argument.

    1. Tim, thanks for your input here, and for balancing out the discourse. I am not fully briefed on the intricate details of SCORM or IMS or Common Cartridge. My persepctive is as an end user who has spent many frustrating hours working with the various implementations of standards across platforms, and finding it so disheartening that it ends up becoming more of a hassle and a barrier to sharing resources than an enabler. In effect, these standards as they are practically implemented in the products I use do exactly the opposite of what their intended purpose is. Now this probably has to do just as much with vendor implementations of these learning standards as it does with the standards themselves, but as someone who has tried to move content and courses from one platform to another, it's a bloody mess.

      Thanks for taking the time to link back to the post on your blog. I look forward to reading the other side of the argument.

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