Don’t Scorn SCORM. The President ordered it (Yes, the one from the White House)

While you might be well aware that SCORM is the technical standards for online learning software programs. Did you know that it was President Bill Clinton who actually requested for its initial development?

In what is surely an indication of the importance of getting workplace training right, the President signed the Presidential Executive Order 13111 in 1999, to ensure his government took full advantage of technological advances to acquire the skills and learning to succeed in the workplace.

A component of this Executive Order tasked Advanced Distributed Learning to:

  • establish guidelines on the use of standards and provide a mechanism to assist in the large-scale development, implementation, and assessment of interoperable and reusable learning systems.

Why was the necessity of standards so important, that it was ordered directly by the White House?

Cast your mind back to the 90s, a time when PowerPoint and Excel were all you needed to deliver workplace training and record attendance and when technology was on the rise but people were still figuring it all out.

Within the United States’ Department of Defence (a huge user of online training) each internal department had their own individual LMS system.

Provided by different vendors, each platform, was programmed to speak their own language with content required to be created specifically within each system and unable to be used in another. It was a time when suppliers pushed for vendor lock in.

So with each training program someone was required to create the training program in each department’s LMS.

From scratch.

Each and every time.

Obviously a complete and utter drain on resources – even recognised by the Oval Office.

Ordered by the government, ADL developed and released in 2001 the comprehensive reference model, SCORM.

At its most basic it stipulates that programmers must code their e-learning software to ‘get along’ with others. That content created in one SCORM certified LMS could be used in another SCORM certified LMS.

No matter the vendor. No matter the platform.

SCORM was quickly adopted by the US government, and today it has become the de-facto industry standard for e-learning systems worldwide.

The White House recognised the importance of SCORM, as did the industry and as should you.

So take the advice of President Clinton and learn from the US Department of Defence – if you are in the market for an LMS, ONLY consider those that are SCORM compliant – and run… run fast away from any with in-built authoring tools!

(If you want to know more about what you should look for in a Learning Management System download our whitepaper “How to choose an LMS for an SME”)

For more information on the Learning at Work platform contact us.