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All about SCORM courses

What is SCORM?

Advanced Distributed Learning, the organisation behind the SCORM specification, defines SCORM as follows:

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 - adccessible, 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.

SCORM content is usually distributed as standalone ZIP packages that teachers can import into Fronter. For the students, SCORM content is available in the Course tool. The main value in SCORM is that it is a platform independent specification that allows the content author to create related assignments and quizzes for which the results can be transferred to the learning platform. For content not intending to transfer any results, other specifications and methods of content packaging and delivery are available.

How do I import a SCORM package/course?
  • Go to the course application in the room you wish to add the course to. If there is no course application in the room, one must be added via Customise room tool package.
  • Click Import Course Package at the top right of the screen.
  • Click Browse and select the location of the SCORM course you wish to import if it is under 100Mb. If it is over this, please use the multiple file uploader which has a limit of 1.5GB.
  • Next you can make some selections regarding the properties of the course (these can be edited later also)
    • Whether the content is to be opened in a new window (which is recommended) or within the main Fronter window. Please note: If you and your users/students are using Internet Explorer as a browser, SCORM courses always have to be openend in a new window.
    • Under SCORM templates you can optionally select to disable the player navigation GUI (some navigational elements from the SCORM player).
  • Click Save and the course will be imported into the room.

Please note that the SCORM course must be a valid SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004 package, with the content packaged in one single ZIP file. If the import stops with an error message about the message, please consult the content author.

How do I verify my SCORM course is valid?

Fronter supports SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 (up to the 3rd edition) versions. If you are having issues with either importing the course package or running it so it reports results to the Fronter portfolio, below are a few things to check.

The file you import must be a ZIP file, with among others a "imsmanifest.xml" file located directly within the root of the ZIP package. If you receive an error message upon importing about missing valid description files, the package is either corrupt or does not contain this file. You can check this by unzipping the package, and making sure the created folder contains this file directly, and not within a subfolder.

Other available resources for validating your SCORM course package include the following:

  • SCORM 1.2: Reload is a free cross-platform player that you can install locally on your PC
  • SCORM 2004: the ADL has made available a comprehensive test suite with which content providers can validate their content
What is reported into the Fronter portfolio?

The portfolio by default only displays results from users with student access to the room. For SCORM this means a teacher does not necessarily see his/her results in the tool.

The parameters that Fronter displays in the portfolio, if reported by the content, include the following:

  • Completion status (usually either Active or Completed)
  • Progress in percentage (on a scale of 0 to 100%)
  • Time spent on the course
  • Score
  • Individual interactions completed within the course

Note: What data is reported from the course is dependent on the content provider's choices and the course design.

What is the timeout for SCORM courses?

The current timeout for SCORM courses is 45 minutes after which the course window refreshes to a message informing the user of the content having timed out. 

This timeout is entirely based on server side actions, i.e. the content sending data to the Fronter SCORM server. Unfortunately, this may not be visible in the course interface as some content packages communicate e.g. progress data along the course session, invisible for the user, whereas some content packages send all data only at the end of the session. This depends on how the course provider has implemented the content and the SCORM API calls it employs.