Professional dilemmas

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Q I keep hearing the term SCORM bandied around. I believe it’s a standard
but don’t really understand where it fits in. Could you explain its relevance
for a training manager like myself?

A When discussing e-learning you can soon find yourself bombarded by
acronyms. While few would dispute standards are a good thing, it can be
difficult to keep abreast of them all.

In order to explain how SCORM fits in, I’ll first give a bird’s eye view of
some of the other standards around.

AICC stands for the Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee. It
was among the first to establish standards for the way in which e-learning
content should communicate with a Learning Management System.

IMS was originally called Instructional Management Systems, but now likes to
be known simply as IMS. Working with the Institute of Electrical and
Electronics Engineers, Learning Technology Standards Council, Alliance of
Remote Instructional Authoring and Distribution Networks for Europe, and
others, they have focused mainly on the way in which the structure and
substance of learning content is defined – so that it can be more easily found
and shared.

SCORM is the good news. It stands for Sharable Content Object Reference
Model and it combines all the relevant e-learning standards into one reference

SCORM-compliant e-learning material should be easier to deploy within an
organisation, and your return on investment should be improved because this
model includes the idea that content should be re-usable, accessible, and durable.

But, SCORM is not a fully realised vision and it will continue to develop.
However, SCORM is a welcome unifying force and promises to make e-learning even
more economical and effective.

Response provided by Philip Smith, technical director of e-learning
specialists Cylix Limited.
For further information on SCORM, visit

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