The benefits of SCORM

SCORM, or Sharable Content Object Reference Model, was developed by public- and private-sector organizations under the auspices of the Defense Department's Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative. The initiative began in 1997 to promote cooperation among government agencies, industry and academia to develop e-learning standardization.

SCORM is a compilation of technical specifications that enable interoperability, accessibility and reusability of Web-based learning content.

E-learning content and learning management systems built to the SCORM specification allow for sharing of courses across federal agencies and even with other entities, such as nongovernmental colleges and universities.

SCORM also allows for sharing of smaller pieces of e-learning courses, called learning objects. Learning objects include course modules, book chapters, videos or even smaller, discrete pieces of information.

The result will be faster, more personalized learning experiences, e-learning experts said. Those learning objects could also be easily incorporated into other e-learning courses.

SCORM also allows courses to be updated without starting over. Say, for example, the Supreme Court rules on a case about diversity, and an e-learning course must be changed to reflect that decision. If the course has been built to the SCORM specification, it's relatively inexpensive to change just the piece pertaining to the decision, said Elliott Masie, president of the Masie Center, a Saratoga Springs, N.Y., e-learning think tank.

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