If you are new to eLearning, welcome to magical world of acronyms.

The two main terms you will hear a lot of: SCORM and xAPI.

But what are they, and why is it such a hot topic in education – and eLearning in particular?

Disquiet before the SCORM

The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) was signed into being by Bill Clinton (yes that one), who set up a task force on digital learning.  The aim was to encourage the take-up of digital learning tools, at a time when the Internet was gaining mass adoption.

Up to that point digital learning was delivered on CDs and DVDs, but they were stand-alone products with their own user interfaces and ways of presenting information. If education was set to flourish online, it would need to conform to an open, worldwide standard.

So SCORM defined the way in which information was stored, shared and presented. 

Although the first specification, 2000’s SCORM 1, was short-lived, the current standard has been in use since 2004, and was amended in 2009 to improve data portability and longevity.

Make the Experience Better

In 2011 the stewards of SCORM recognised the need for a newer standard.  After engagement with the eLearning community a project called “Tin Can” was initiated and in 2013 a working version of the Experience API was released, with the final version in 2016.

The names “Experience API”, “xAPI” and “Tin Can API” and are all interchangeable – but the standard is the same.

Expected to gradually replace SCORM, xAPI provides a greater level of benefits for today’s modern learners with more solid security, breaking away from the web browser onto native apps and offline training, and team-based learning capabilities.

Under the hood

By complying with the content standards, your structured training content can be ported between different learning platforms and can be accessed on any device; from a full-blown desktop computer, down to a smartphone.

Trainees can learn whenever and wherever is most convenient; they can pause and resume the course as required, they won’t be discouraged from dipping in and out when they have a few minutes to spare.

For the trainers, the standards enable you to track the user’s entire progress as they learn, and helps identify areas that might need individual attention.

SCORMing ahead

By working within these frameworks we are able to guarantee that the training programmes we develop will be compatible with any compliant Learning Management System, and that we – and our clients – will benefit from any improvements that its ongoing evolution brings about.

ORCKID like these standards, they free us up to create the most cutting-edge, engaging content possible for our clients, while taking advantage of best practice in elearning.

Thanks Bill.