• International Workplace
  • 15 November 2017

SCORM is dead! Long live SCORM!

It’s been a great couple of months for the Development team at International Workplace. At the end of September, we discovered we’d been shortlisted for the Learning Technologies Awards 2017, for the development of our new IOSH Managing Safely v.5.0 eLearning course.

Last week, we were delighted to discover we’d been shortlisted as a finalist for the Technology in FM Award, the most notable technical accolade in the UK facilities management sector. Our submission for this award relates to SELMA 3.0, the learning platform upon which our new IOSH course is based.

It’s wonderful to receive these plaudits, and we still have our fingers crossed to pick up the ultimate prize when the winners are announced.

But despite effort and determination that went into developing these technologies, it’s the decisions that we made at the outset that are the real reason for our success. Or rather – more accurately put – the decisions we made after our initial decisions turned out to be the wrong ones!

I have said on many occasions that the market for learning technologies is immature. I am not in the slightest embarrassed to admit that we are feeling our own way forward, trying to create innovative products and services that meet the requirements of clients who sometimes find them hard to articulate. It must be very confusing for any organisation that is looking to achieve learning outcomes, but with legacy systems and suppliers that must be taken into account when making any decisions.

The two things we hear most from clients are that: a) they already have an LMS and don’t want to duplicate cost by investing in another one; and b) they are concerned that any integration with their existing LMS will require work from their IT providers, who are frequently outsourced and liable to charge for it.

Knowing this, we set out with our SELMA 3.0 learning platform to create a series of applications that would readily integrate with a company’s existing LMS, without the need for technical implementation client-side.

That would normally not be a problem, given that (in our experience) over 90% of the client LMSs that we come across are SCORM-based, despite the fact that this learning framework is now more than 15 years old. The very creation of SCORM was intended to ensure interoperability between systems and content: if an eLearning course was SCORM-conformant, it would work with any SCORM-based LMS.

The issue for us is that our next-generation courses are built for xAPI (also known as Tin Can), which is rapidly becoming the go-to protocol to track and report on all learning, both online and offline.

The advantages for employers and for learners of studying an xAPI-based course make it far superior to SCORM – but that’s no good to anyone if the course can’t talk to a client’s SCORM-based LMS in the first place.

After several months in development, we’ve now got a solution. We can now offer the richness in data and interactions that xAPI facilitates launched through a client’s SCORM LMS. As part of our SELMA 3.0 development, we’ve created an xAPI-SCORM integration module, that allows clients to import a SCORM file into their existing LMS, with no need for technical support, and which then launches a client-branded version of the full xAPI course on our platform. The experience is seamless for clients and for their learners, and the learner’s progress is output back to the client’s existing SCORM-based LMS.

SCORM is dead! Long live SCORM!

What that means is that clients can now plug our new IOSH Managing Safely v.5.0 course into their existing SCORM-based LMS, with no fuss, no admin, no technical input, and no additional cost.

This is another one of the many innovations that have seen us achieve awards success with our SELMA 3.0 platform. I hope we remain humble enough to recognise that it’s nevertheless still just a small step in the programme we are working on now, to make learning engaging and rewarding for learners, and cost-effective smooth for employers.

If you’d be interested in finding out more, please do get in touch.