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10 April 2011
11 June 2012

Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is a collection of standards and specifications for web-based e-learning. It defines communications between client side content and a host system called the run-time environment, which is commonly supported by a learning management system.


SCORM is a specification of the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative, which comes out of the Office of the United States Secretary of Defense. A testing initiative was started in 1996. In December 2003, the US Department of Defense mandated that all its e-learning purchases must comply with SCORM standards.



The first production version. It used a Course Structure Format XML file based on the AICC specifications to describe content structure, but lacked a robust packaging manifest and support for metadata. Quickly abandoned in favor of version 1.2.


This was the first version that was widely used. It is still widely used and is supported by most Learning Management Systems today.

SCORM 2004

This is the current version. It is based on new standards for API and content object-to-runtime environment communication, with many ambiguities of previous versions resolved. Includes ability to specify adaptive sequencing of activities that use the content objects. Includes ability to share and use information about success status for multiple learning objectives or competencies across content objects and across courses for the same learner within the same learning management system. A more robust test suite helps ensure good interoperability.

SCORM 2004 editions

  • 3rd Edition (October 2006) — clarification of various conformance requirements and of the interaction between content objects and the runtime environment for sequencing; some new conformance requirements to improve interoperability.
  • 4th Edition Released (March 31, 2009) — more stringent interoperability requirements, more flexible data persistence.

SCORM 2004 specification books

  • Overview — introduces SCORM and describes how the other books relate
  • Content Aggregation Model — describes packaging of content and learning object
  • Run-Time Environment — describes runtime API and data model used for communication between content objects and learning management systems
  • Sequencing and Navigation — describes how sequencing between learning activities is defined and interpreted
  • Compliance Requirements — detailed list of the conformance requirements that are verified by the ADL SCORM conformance test suite.


  • January 1999 — Executive Order 13111 signed tasking the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to develop common specifications and standards for e-learning across both federal and private sectors;
  • January 2000 — SCORM Version 1.0;
  • January 2001 — SCORM Version 1.1;
  • October 2001 — SCORM Version 1.2;
  • January 2004 — SCORM 2004 (1st Edition);
  • July 2004 — SCORM 2004 (2nd Edition);
  • June 2006 — Department of Defense Instruction (DoDI) 1322.26 Requiring DoD Use of SCORM;
  • October 2006 — SCORM 2004 (3rd Edition);
  • March 2009 — SCORM 2004 (4th Edition).

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