The Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) integrates a set of related technical standards, specifications, and guidelines designed to meet SCORM’s high-level requirements—accessible, interoperable, durable, and reusable content and systems. SCORM content can be delivered to your learners via any SCORM-conformant Learning Management System (LMS) using the same version of SCORM.

The SCORM capability supports the Next Generation Learning Environment of ADL’s overarching research and development strategies.

Implementing SCORM? It is highly recommended that you determine which version of SCORM you are implementing and choose the corresponding “Current Project” for more information.

We are currently in the process of completing a minor update to SCORM 2004 4th Edition that includes technical clarifications, document accessibility updates and minor edits.

**As a temporary fix to the SCORM Certified Products and SCORM Adopter forms and searchable databases, ADL has posted locked spreadsheets of the data until the forms return.

While the ADL Initiative is proud to work with our industry partners the ADL Initiative does not, in any manner, endorse or favor any specific commercial product, commodity or service provided by the organizations listed below.

SCORM Certified Products

SCORM Adopters

Research Summary


The SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is a collection and harmonization of specifications and standards that defines the interrelationship of content objects, data models and protocols such that objects are sharable across systems that conform to the same model. This specification promotes reusability and interoperability of learning content across Learning Management Systems (LMSs). The SCORM has releases dating back to 2000 with SCORM 1.0. SCORM 1.2, released in 2001 is the final version of SCORM before the integration of sequencing. Beginning in 2004, SCORM began to version with different editions of SCORM 2004. The most recent release (2009) is SCORM 2004 4th Edition. ADL supplies resources for SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004 3rd Edition, and SCORM 2004 4th Edition. Developers that are implementing other versions are encouraged to modify their work to be in accordance with one of these three specifications. ADL recommends use of SCORM 2004 4th Edition above all others, though, as it has over ten years of community feedback integrated into its design.

ADL Guidelines for Creating Reusable Content with SCORM 2004

The ADL SCORM Users Guides supplement the SCORM 2004 documentation suite; MIL-PRF-29612B Performance Specification, Training Data Products; and 1322.26 Development, Management, and Delivery of Distributed Learning. They provide guidance for instructional designers and programmers in implementing SCORM 2004-conformant content. These documents represent a major update to the ADL Guidelines for Creating Reusable Content with SCORM 2004 (For Public Comment). That document was revised through the funding of the Technical Support Working Group (TSWG), a program element under the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO), and through the efforts of Intelligent Automation, Inc. (IAI). The two documents – SCORM Users Guide for Instructional Designers and SCORM Users Guide for Programmers – were released in January 2012.


The ADL SCORM 2004 RELOAD Editor Version 1.1 is a content package and metadata editor. With RELOAD Editor, you can create, import, edit, and export SCORM-conformant content packages.

This version of RELOAD supports SCORM Version 1.2 and SCORM 2004 3rd and 4th Edition content packages. RELOAD Editor updates include:

  • Integration of the SCORM Learner Assessment Generator (SLAG): You can add a SLAG exam by right clicking the resources node and by choosing “Add Quiz”.
  • Support for Healthcare LOM metadata
  • Human-readable manifest files
  • Forcing the “.zip” file extension when zipping a content package
  • Support for additional character encodings


ADL has developed a course which explains special considerations about acquiring or procuring distributed learning systems and content that must conform with SCORM and other U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) requirements. It is targeted at acquisition and procurement personnel, program and project managers. Topics include: Acquisition Planning; The Components of SCORM; SCORM Conformance; Instructional Systems Design and SCORM; and Project Management. There are two versions of this course – an Interactive version and a traditional Slide presentation.


Certification is a stamp-of-approval for Learning Management Systems and learning content and is the highest level of conformance achievable. Please see the SCORM Certification area for more details.

SCORM Content Vulnerability

Several blogs, forums, and Web sites recently highlighted a SCORM content vulnerability. The vulnerability they highlight is not new, nor did it originate with SCORM. It exists within the SCORM Run-Time API, which is based on an IEEE Standard(1). Some version of an ECMAScript based API has existed in all versions of SCORM since SCORM 1.2 was released in 2001. Given the flexibility of ECMAScript within the browser environment, this vulnerability allows technologically advanced users to potentially interfere with learner tracking data communicated from content by directly overriding and/or setting various SCORM data model elements.

ADL contacted the IEEE LTSC about this issue to discuss what actions can be taken to update the current standard or develop a complementary standard that would better enforce data integrity for delivered content. Several SCORM LMS vendors are investigating ways to prevent or detect individuals who leverage this vulnerability. Please contact your vendor directly to determine the actions they are taking.

Like online banking or any other online activity that you want to be secure, you can increase security in your SCORM content, but there is no way to guarantee security. Un-proctored online assessments should be considered a form of “open-book exams” since learners may have technical manuals, books, job aids, Google, or other resources in front of them while they are taking tests.

Content developers who are concerned about SCORM data integrity can take some actions to mitigate this vulnerability. ADL provides examples these actions of Securing Assessments and Vulnerability Workarounds.

Cross-Domain Issues

When a launched SCO and its LMS-provided API Instance are hosted on different domains, browser security restrictions may prevent API calls, thus prohibiting communication. Through collaboration with several members of the ADL Community and internal prototyping efforts, the ADL Technical Team has tested several different solutions to this problem and is providing them to the ADL Community at large. This paper details the Cross-Domain Issue and presents several known and tested solutions


Recommended Resources:

All SCORM Resources:

» Presentations
» Research Papers & Studies
» Software Downloads
» Technical Documents
» Videos & Webinars


What is SCORM?

SCORM, the Sharable Content Object Reference Model, integrates a set of related technical standards, specifications, and guidelines designed to meet ADL’s functional requirements–accessibility, interoperability, durability, and reusability.

What is the main benefit of adopting SCORM?

There are numerous benefits to adopting SCORM, and all are related to ADL’s functional requirements for SCORM.

  • Accessibility: The ability to locate and access instructional components from multiple locations and deliver them to other locations. For example, a content author can search the ADL Registry and identify relevant content that has already been developed by another organization and deploy that content on any LMS that is conformant to the same version of SCORM to learners anywhere in the world.
  • Interoperability: The ability to take instructional components developed in one system and use them in another system. For example, content packaged for delivery in one SCORM-conformant LMS could be loaded into another LMS that is conformant to the same version of SCORM for delivery to learners.
  • Durability: The ability to withstand technology evolution and/or changes without costly redesign, reconfiguration, or recoding. For example, upgrading to a new computer operating system should have no impact on the delivery of content to learners.
  • Reusability: The flexibility to incorporate instructional components in multiple applications and contexts. For example, e-learning content designed for one organization can be redeployed, rearranged, repurposed, or rewritten by other organizations that have similar learning needs.
What are the “ilities?”

The “ilities”, typically benefits associated with SCORM are:

  • Accessibility: The ability to locate and access instructional components from multiple locations and deliver them to other locations.
  • Interoperability: The ability to take instructional components developed in one system and use them in another system.
  • Durability: The ability to withstand technology evolution and/or changes without costly redesign, reconfiguration, or recoding.
  • Reusability: The flexibility to incorporate instructional components in multiple applications and contexts.
Where did SCORM start?

The Department of Defense (DOD) established the ADL Initiative in 1997 to standardize and modernize training and education management and delivery. The Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (Readiness) oversees the ADL Initiative. The vision of the ADL Initiative is to provide access to the highest-quality learning and performance aiding that can be tailored to individual needs and delivered cost-effectively, anytime, and anywhere. The ADL Initiative developed SCORM and the ADL Registry to address ADL’s functional requirements–accessibility, interoperability, durability, and reusability (the “ilities”) within the DoD training, education, and performance support communities, as well as in government, academia, and industry.

What does SCORM contain?

SCORM consists of four distinct “books” that contain the critical elements of SCORM:

  • The SCORM Overview book contains high-level conceptual information, the history, current status and future direction of ADL and SCORM and an introduction to key SCORM concepts.
  • The SCORM Content Aggregation Model (CAM) book describes the components used in a learning experience, how to package those components for exchange from system to system, how to describe those components to enable search and discovery and how to define sequencing rules for the components.
  • The SCORM Run-Time Environment (RTE) book describes the learning management system (LMS) requirements for managing the run-time environment (i.e., content launch process, standardized communication between content and LMSs, and standardized data model elements used for passing information relevant to the learner’s experience with the content). It also contains information about content (SCOs) and how they use the API and CMI Data Model to get and set values.
  • The SCORM Sequencing and Navigation (SN) book describes how SCORM-conformant content may be sequenced to the learner through an interoperable set of learner-initiated or system-initiated navigation events. The branching and flow of that content may be described by a predefined set of activities, typically defined at design time.
What is the SCORM Test Suite?

The SCORM Test Suite verifies conformance for LMSs, content packages, and Sharable Content Objects (SCOs). It produces a detailed log of each test outcome.

Who should use the SCORM Test Suite?

The SCORM Test Suite is available to anyone. Vendors should use it to self-test their products; developers should use it to test their content; program managers should use it to test content and products during the acquisition processes or for product acceptance.

How do I access the SCORM Test Suite, and how much does it cost?

The Test Suite and other ADL Tools are always free. You can find specific versions in the “Resources” section of each SCORM project or all of the versions in the SCORM Capability “Resources” section

What is the Sample Run-Time Environment (SRTE)?

The Sample Run-Time Environment (SRTE) is a prototype LMS that serves as a reference implementation of the LMS components of SCORM. It is an example of how SCORM’s LMS requirements may be implemented within an enterprise LMS. It is a test platform that can be used to view content as it may be displayed in a “real” LMS.

How do I access the Sample Run-Time Environment (SRTE), and how much does it cost?

The Sample RTE and other ADL Tools are always free. You can find specific versions in the “Resources” section of each SCORM project or all of the versions in the SCORM Capability “Resources” section

How does ADL work with other standards and specifications organizations?

The ADL Initiative created an international community to collaboratively develop a cost-effective distributed learning model that is consistent across national and organizational borders. To achieve this goal, ADL worked with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the Aviation Industry CBT (Computer-based Training) Committee (AICC), the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc., and the Alliance of Remote Instructional Authoring & Distribution Networks for Europe (ARIADNE). These organizations develop guidelines and specifications that make learning software accessible, interoperable, durable, and reusable. Whenever possible ADL adopts, clarifies, harmonizes, synchronizes, and applies the documentation that these standards organizations develop. ADL promotes the application of standards with reference implementations and tools to assess conformance to the requirements.

Did vendors resist the idea of standardized interoperability specifications?

Generally, vendors were pleased to have an organization like the ADL Initiative, through the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), leading this work. Vendors are integral to the success of SCORM. Vendors realized that an environment that enabled interoperable e-learning content, removed from the vagaries of hardware or software changes, would actually create a multitude of potential new business lines. ADL and SCORM vendors and implementers have proven that, regardless of the sector, content can be shared across organizational and functional lines.

What is the current status of SCORM?

The current version of SCORM is SCORM 2004 4th Edition. It is a stable document suite that is ready for implementation.

Do Federal agencies require most or all of their e-learning products to be SCORM-conformant? Are there any exemptions to these requirements?

Even though ADL cooperates and collaborates broadly across the federal government, ADL has no power or authority to mandate SCORM conformance for the federal government. However, many Federal agencies currently require their e-learning products to be SCORM-conformant when applicable. Within the U.S. Department of Defense, DoDI 1322.26, Development, Management, and Delivery of Distributed Learning, mandates the use of SCORM when applicable.

Are SCORM-conformant products available now?

Numerous SCORM-conformant products, including both systems and content, are widely available. Please see the SCORM Certification section for more details on Certified Products and SCORM Adopters

Does SCORM conformance guarantee that content will track all the learner data I need?

Not necessarily. Content is not required to track everything to be conformant. Check with your vendor to determine the level of tracking provided.

Does SCORM address Section 508 conformance?

A product that is SCORM conformant is not necessarily 508 compliant. However, does not hinder an authors ability to create 508 compliant materials.

Do AICC-conformant e-learning products work with SCORM-conformant products?

It depends. SCORM incorporates portions of the AICC specification via the IEEE Data Model and API Standards. LMS or content products that adhere to Appendix B of the AICC CMI001 specification may, in some cases, be able to work with products conformant to SCORM.

Can an e-learning product be both AICC and SCORM conformant?

Yes. LMSs and content can conform to both standards. Vendors can offer separate versions of their products for each standard, or can implement both standards in a single version. Conformance to one standard does not automatically imply conformance to the other.

How does SCORM handle formatting issues, such as layouts, fonts, color schemes, etc. while allowing for interoperability and reusability of learning products?

SCORM does not address formatting issues like layouts, fonts, and color schemes.

What hardware constraints, such as minimum requirements for operating features, might come into play for SCORM-conformant e-learning products?

SCORM and ADL generally refer to ‘web-based’ or ‘browser-based’ instruction that simply requires access to a web browser. An Internet connection is not always necessary. Most vendors address this issue independently since the more widely accessible their content and/or systems are, the more markets they are able to access.

What topics does SCORM address besides LMS/content exchange?

The launching of content and the exchange of data such as learner ID numbers and test scores between LMSs and content are among the most important topics addressed by SCORM. These areas are addressed by the SCORM Run-Time Environment (RTE). SCORM also covers other critical areas.

SCORM also addresses a standard way to structure and exchange learning content. This occurs through the application of the IMS Content Packaging specifications.

In addition, SCORM defines a method for representing the intended behavior of an authored learning experience such that any LMS will sequence discrete learning activities consistently. This is accomplished through the application of the IMS Simple Sequencing Specifications.

Will SCORM-conformant content and SCORM-conformant LMSs “plug-and play” with each other?

Probably, as long as the content and the LMS conform to the same version and edition of SCORM.

Does SCORM allow multiple ways for LMSs and courseware to exchange data?

No. SCORM requires use of the ECMAScript API defined in the SCORM RTE book.

Are there LMS specification standards?

SCORM does not standardize the implementation of LMSs. Although the standardized communication mechanism imposes some behavioral and functional requirements on the LMS, SCORM’s goal is to ensure that content runs and behaves the same on different LMSs.

What size must a learning resource (Sharable Content Object or Asset) be to conform to SCORM?

There are no SCORM-imposed requirements on the size of a learning resource. Size should be based on several considerations:

  • Reuse
  • Portability
  • Learner data tracking requirements
  • Learning objectives or pedagogical model
What is a Package Interchange File (PIF)?

A Package Interchange File (PIF) is a single file (such as a .zip file) that includes a top-level Manifest file named “imsmanifest.xml” and all other physical files as identified by the Manifest. A PIF is a concise web delivery format and a means of transporting related, structured information.

Do all content packages have to be packaged as PIFs?

There is no requirement to incorporate packages into a Package Interchange File (PIF). A package may also be distributed on a CD-ROM or other removable media without being compressed into a single file. An IMS Manifest file and any other required supporting XML files (e.g. XSD) must be at the root of the content directory structure.

Does learning content need to use the SCORM Application Programming Interface (API) to be SCORM-conformant?

If you need to track the learner’s experience with the content, then SCORM provides an API and data model that enable the interoperable tracking of performance data. If you do not need to track the learner’s experience your content is not required to use the SCORM API. SCORM considers content that does not use the SCORM API to be non-communicative, and refers to it in the SCORM Documentation Suite as an asset.

How do I use sub-manifests?

At this time, ADL does not recommend the use of sub-manifests. In SCORM 2004 4th Edition, SCORM designates any content that uses a sub-manifest as non-conformant.

Conformance? Compliance? What is the difference?

Conformance is the following of a functional requirement. The SCORM is a set of functional requirements, so if a product adheres to these requirements, it is conformant. Compliance is the following of a directive, law, or procedure. DoDI 1322.26 is a directive, so an organziation may comply with that directive. Certification is a procedure, a product would be compliant if Certified.

My question isn’t in this FAQ and I need an answer. How can I get help?

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