With the rise of the internet era, online learning has become more and more popular – with many different platforms and forums coming together to offer both course creators and prospective students alike the chance to engage with content and learn on their terms.
Accompanied by the irregularity of modern working hours, and the death of the traditional five-day working week, this means that people can up their prospects and get the qualifications they need in a manner that meets their specific schedules. But what exactly is LearnDash, and how to use Learndash with SCORM content?
What Is LearnDash?
LearnDash courses are online creation software that operates under the control of WordPress – allowing people to create their course content and then integrate it with their existing websites to offer the services to their followers.
LearnDash is a paid subscription service, offering monthly or yearly subscriptions, and comes with several different packages to suit the various needs of those interested – both individuals, businesses, and learning institutions.
Partnering with all manner of integrated plug-ins – including many established and popular business applications – this allows course creators to create a platform that is not only fluid and in keeping with their existing home setup but also works for them and their needs.
What Is SCORM?
With regards to the computing industry, SCORM refers to ‘sharable content online reference models’ – that is, collections of standards and specifications for web-based electronic educational technology. This might sound complicated, but the reality is much simpler when put in layman’s terms.
SCORM is all about creating units of online training material that can be used and shared across all linked (SCORM) operating systems. SCORM is the method of creating defined SCOs (or ‘sharable content objects’), which can then be reused time and time again, as well as across platforms and in different applications.
What Does ‘SCO’ Actually Mean?
About SCORM as a whole, an SCO would refer to the most basic, singular element of training within the system. The best way to think of an SCO would be as a singular page, chapter, or module within the larger book of SCORM itself.
The exact size of an SCO can vary drastically, but the important information to remember is that it is a small facet of the larger online education/training system.
What Does ‘Reference Model’ Mean?
The ‘reference model’ part of SCORM refers to the fact that these are not standard issues, and that as SCORM was being developed over years, the creators examined the existing practices and methods used within the industry, and based their ideal model around many of these points.
In this sense, the SCORM model became a tried and tested method before it was even created – as the evidence to suggest it would work was already there, and had actually been industry standard practices in their specific fields before this.
How Does SCORM Work?
The important thing to remember with SCORM is that – whatever form it takes – it serves two primary purposes: the packaging of content, and the exchange of data at ‘run time’.
The form that content should physically take is decided by the CAM (content aggregation model), which is determined by something called ‘is manifest’, which can be found at the very heart of SCORM.
The is manifest is a file containing every single piece of information about the learning management system, with the sole function to launch and operate the learning record store content without the need for human interaction.
This file contains detailed descriptions of how the structure of the course content should be (in terms of format and appearance), as well as what should be included by the student in question. Essentially, this document is an identifier, answering important diagnostic questions like ‘what is the name of this content?’.
Run Time Communication
When we talk about the run time of a computer program, we are talking about the final stage of the life cycle of a piece of code – wherein it is being run on the computer’s CPU (or ‘central processing unit’) as machine code.
This essentially means the point when the compiled code is implemented – or ‘run’ – on the actual system, where the theory is being put into practice. During this run time, there can be several events – such as ‘run time errors’ – wherein problems with the compiled code occur when it comes time to, essentially, test them out.
With regards to ‘run time communication’, this is how the content itself communicates with the learning management system whilst it is playing.
This process is also referred to as ‘delivery and tracking’ – consisting of two parts including the locating of the learning management system (LMS), and the communication itself, which occurs via a series of ‘get and set’ calls.
These ask for important information about the course and the student and ensure that they have been inputted and established on the system. These could be questions like ‘request the student’s name’, and ‘tell the Learndash LMS that the student scored ‘x%’ on this particular test’.
SCORM & Learning Management Systems
SCORM is pivotal to the learning industry, as it establishes the agreed-upon criteria for the chosen e-learning course content created (i.e. the look, the content, etc.), and then ensures that said content can not only be accessed by any LMS (learning management system) but also accepted and received by them too.
This establishment of a uniform model for the content is vital for the establishment of a Learndash course, and the ensured continuation of the back-and-forth of content between the course provider and the students.
How To Use LearnDash With SCORM?
However, when it comes to using SCORM to operate LearnDash, there are certain methods you can use to make the whole thing much more useful, compliant, and user-friendly. The most notable method is to adjust the settings of your eLearning content so that it is ‘SCORM-compliant’.
Once this has been done, you then just need to upload the SCORM-compliant content onto the learning management system, tweak a few settings, and then get your course up and running. When it comes to using SCORM with LearnDash, there are two basic options that users have: a course or an assessment.
Option one is an e-learning course following a page-by-page structure – wherein the students will need to progress through the content, completing each section as they go.
For the course to be completed, students will need to have completed every single page and made sure that all the boxes and interactive components have been checked and accounted for.
Option two is an assessment, wherein the student has to obtain a certain level or grade to be awarded either a pass or a failed outcome.
What Are The Benefits Of Using SCORM?
When it comes to LearnDash, there are numerous benefits to both the content creator and the students themselves.
Good For ROI
ROI stands for ‘return on investment’, and for the course creator, using SCORM for their course can make or break their whole business. By using SCORM, you are essentially ensuring that you have a quality product – one that your students can easily interact with and understand, and also one that works FOR you, instead of against you.
Having formatted, compliant content that works on all of your programs and machines, means that the hard, irritating work is eliminated, and only the teaching and running of the course remain. Similarly, it also means that the students have quality content that is easy to understand, access, transfer, and submit.
Good For Training
It is also good for compliance training – wherein you need to make sure that every student has read and completed every single page of the course.
As touched on above, this is done by making the completion of each page a necessity before they can continue – making sure that they are properly engaging with the content and getting the best outcome.
This is also beneficial for companies, such as restaurants and stores, who might need to have their staff complete food hygiene training, safety training, or any other form of compulsory, uniform qualification. If this is quick, time conscious, and simple to use, then even better.
Eliminates The Hard Work
This might seem too good to be true, but SCORM can be a useful tool for eliminating the hard work from your eLearning course – namely the repetitive, bureaucratic chores that can come with handling numerous students’ work.
By having every synced, compatible, and formatted against an established set of criteria, then all you need to do is mark their work, give feedback, and give them a grade if applicable.
Good For Future Proofing
Using SCORM is also good for future-proofing your course against potential updates that could derail your content – or indeed your students’ learning.
This is because SCORM is an industry-standard format – one that is consistently used by governments, businesses, hospitals, and all manner of other important entities – and as it is so popular, and does the job well, it thus far seems to be immune to obsolescence or constant updating.
SCORM is widely considered to be an outdated system – and one that has been used for years and years – but the number of large-scale, industrial proponents of the system have kept it widely used and ever-important.