Breaking Up With SCORM: It’s Not You, It’s Me

SCORM vs Experience API

Many organizations are ready for learners to stop clicking next to continue, but still need to track what formal training those learners have completed. They’re limited by the constraints of SCORM, so their L&D efforts start to look the same year after year.

These organizations know that a post-test score and completion certificate tell a small part of a learner’s story. They want to track more of what’s being learned… and take action based on the data.

In short, they just aren’t feeling the sparks anymore with SCORM. It’s time to break up, but how do they break the news?

The truth is, it’s really not SCORM’s fault that they need to move on. It’s the organizations that changed after all. They’re different people now! And by they, I mean we. The needs of all of us have changed in the workplace. It’s time for the training we complete to change, too.

What’s Wrong With SCORM?

Rather than rattle off the technical changes and benefits of the Experience API (we’ve done that in other posts over on the BLP website), let’s focus on the various needs and situations that would make an organization consider bagging SCORM.

SCORM can’t track activity completed in mobile apps: You’re mostly limited to a desktop computer, and you must have a continuous internet connection to track via SCORM. Organizations that are thinking about mobile learning are quickly discovering that the existing standard just won’t support them.

SCORM doesn’t take advantage of the granular data available in immersive solutions: You want to design a serious game and use it in your training…  and you want to take advantage of all the interactions learners will have in the game. There’s so much more to track even in a simple game (like Knowledge Guru) than just completion. Are learners earning badges? Scoring points? What sections are they completing? How many times are they returning to play? Basic data points like this are easier to track with the Experience API.

SCORM can’t help you make smart decisions: Because all you get is completion and post-test scores, it’s hard to make adjustments to an L&D program based on the results of a SCORM-conformant eLearning course. We end up repeating the same mistakes because we can’t collect the data that would justify a new approach.

The basic differences between SCORM and the Experience API are outlined here:


Tips for Breaking Up

If you’re used to tracking all of your eLearning with SCORM, it can be a pretty jarring thought to leave it behind or,  scandalously, leave data in a variety of decentralized places.

Here are a few tips for piloting a solution with Experience API… and starting the “break up” process:

Identify a learning challenge, and plan a pilot: What problem could you solve with a learning solution? What type of solution would you imagine is needed to solve the problem?

Pick a new tool: Find a technology solution that is Experience API-compliant. All the major eLearning authoring tools (Lectora, Captivate, Storyline) are Experience API-ready. ZebraZapps by Allen Interactions is also a good candidate. And yes, if you want to create a serious game, Knowledge Guru is Experience API compliant. All of these solutions are easy to set up with the Experience API.

Pick an LRS: WaxLRS by Saltbox and Watershed LRS by Rustici are two leaders in the market today. They both provide easy connectivity to the tool of your choice… and some impressive ways to visualize the data you generate.

Run a small pilot: Connect your tool of choice to the LRS and launch a small-scale solution to a limited number of learners. Spend enough time in the LRS you choose to set up some valuable data reports and see if you can narrow down the data that means something to you.

Tracking the learning with Knowledge Guru

Our eyes light up when a customer or potential customer asks us about the reporting capabilities of Knowledge Guru, because they’re pretty darn cool. You can see the success rate for every learning objective and question you create in the game… and you can also generate individualized reports for learners to see how they fared on the learning objective. Since all of the content in Knowledge Guru is carefully mapped to a learning objective, it’s easy to measure the real learning results of the solution.

And while the tracking dashboard is entirely self contained (you don’t need an LRS if you don’t want one), it plays very nice with LRS’s. See this tutorial for help connecting Knowledge Guru to an LRS.


Have a story about how you are beginning to break up with SCORM and move to new solutions? Let us know!