Huge organisations such as the US Department of Defense insist on using SCORM as one of the delivery methods for all of their content. In this blog, by Technical Manager Jon Sutton, we’ll explore why they choose SCORM, what SCORM actually is and why SCORM compliance standards are so important.
What is SCORM?
SCORM is an integral, powerful standard for training programs. Essentially, SCORM provides a set of definitions that allow content to be created once and used in lots of different SCORM compliant systems and situations without wholesale modifications in each instance.
SCORM helps us to provide digital learning content quickly, robustly and efficiently. Our sister company Rustici Software is the world’s leading authority on SCORM and invented its current iteration in 2011. Known as xAPI, it’s renowned for powerful tracking capabilities.
Why do we need SCORM compliance standards?
For businesses, SCORM compliance standards play an indispensable role in tracking, reporting and analysing training. They help L&D teams to monitor and carry out detailed checks on learner activities including, but not limited to:
- Answers to questions
The ramifications of failing to adhere to SCORM compliance standards can be severe. For example, businesses who do not use SCORM compliance standards or only remember to test them at the last moment stand a high risk of seeing their training courses fail to work properly on different systems and platforms. The implications for compliance training are potentially critical.
As an example of what we mean, let’s consider a banking enterprise that has hundreds of thousands of learners worldwide who need to complete compliance training.
The organisation’s L&D team needs to be able to guarantee that all of its training courses work in the same way across every platform. It also needs to be able to prove who took the training and when, individual course completions and the score each learner received. Crucially, of course, it needs to be able to automatically mark that a course has been completed by a learner on a system.
Chasing 100,000 people to complete a course in the run-up to a regulatory deadline is not a position the organisation would wish to find itself in. With the threat of heavy fines, licence withdrawals or other punishments for non-compliance, SCORM functionality becomes critical in this situation. It ensures that all the systems work together and training requirements are measurably met.
SCORM compliance standards: going the extra mile
Eukleia’s experts often tailor SCORM for our clients to add extra functionality where an LMS may require it and log additional information. For example, one LMS at an organisation we worked with would routinely log employees out of courses for a variety of different reasons, including once a certain amount of time had elapsed.
Learners were still able to see and proceed through courses, but their answers were not being logged and no learner data was being provided. In a high-consequence industry like financial services, this required an amendment to the SCORM compliance standards for that course, ensuring that it checked and detected these incidents.
In this scenario, SCORM compliance standards can also be altered so that a pop-up alert is shown to the learner, telling them that they have been logged out and assuring them that their progress has not been lost. A report can also be sent to learning managers to record that the learner was logged out.
This is a good example of how it is possible to go beyond normal SCORM compliance standards in order to protect completion data for reports. Additional logging can also play an important role in helping organisations to understand learner behaviour, provide detailed information to regulators and carry out quality checks on courses and assessments.
Tweaking SCORM compliance standards to work with specific LMS requirements
Eukleia can introduce bespoke SCORM elements according to the needs of an organisation and the LMS it uses.
When our clients move to a new LMS, we are able to advise and collaborate with them on any new functionality or problems their new system may have with their existing use of SCORM compliance standards.
SCORM compliance standards can also be changed to meet local requirements. For example, almost all of the organisations we work with around the world ask us to help them track as much information as they can. From assessment answers to making the right choices for audit purposes, we log a wide range of fields for them in high detail.
However, workplace law in Germany means that organisations operating there are largely prohibited from logging individual user activity. This calls for a completely different system in which we have to be incredibly mindful that nothing is tracked.
Working together to meet tough inspection standards
SCORM compliance standards play a critical role for organisations in high-consequence, highly-regulated industries. When the pressure is on to prove that people have taken learning, they ensure your systems are set up to allow you to meet the scrutiny and strict requirements of an auditor or regulator.
One of the main factors behind using SCORM compliance standards effectively is the level of collaboration involved. As long as there is a strong partnership between a solutions provider and an L&D team, even the most complex technical challenges can be solved – and any concerns about learning success and compliance reporting can be minimised.