Where SCORM Ends and xAPI Starts

If you are involved in the elearning industry then you are well aware of SCORM.

Heck, even people who are not working with elearning and learning management systems seem to know about SCORM.

For years and years SCORM was the be-all, end-all for data recording and reporting with regards to elearning.

However, most elearning professionals agree that it is outdated.

For many (perhaps myself included) it has worn out its welcome.

Tin Can API (also known as xAPI) is the new standard we all need to care about. It’s like SCORM, but better.

The question for today’s elearning professional is when to use Tin Can API and when to use SCORM. The short answer is to always use Tin Can API as it can do the same things as SCORM and then some.

This is not to say that Tin Can API doesn’t have its own set of hurdles to address. Most noticeable is that it has been slow to gain momuntum (although the past year has seen some great strides in this area).

And perhaps the one area that irks me the most: what do we call it?

I’ll refrain from ranting about this again as my thoughts are already well documented on the matter.

One significant advantage to switching to Tin Can API from SCORM is that it opens up the doors for platforms like WordPress to deliver elearning content for organizations that used to use (or require) the data that SCORM provides.

If you haven’t already you should really look into Tin Can API – it opens up many possibilities from a reporting and learning standpoint.

Image credited to Torrance Learning.


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Let's Talk! | Twitter

4 Responses

  1. Hi Justin, thank you for your insight in the matter. It is still unclear however, whether Grassblade / will allow me to upload a SCORM package into LearnDash. As much as we love Tin Can and are resolute to use it, as you know, we still must deal with course providers who publish their content as SCORM packages. One of the reasons we opted for LearnDash was that it assured us we could import SCORM packages with the Grassblade but there is no mention of SCORM anywhere on the link. Could you help please?

      1. Thank you Justin. Although Uncanny Owl plugin does support SCORM, it also specifies that the SCORM files must have been published with specific tools https://www.uncannyowl.com/knowledge-base/authoring-tools-supported/?ref=2 or am I wrong in my understanding? What do we do if the SCORM packages were produced with tools that are not listed (which for us is the case)? I am confused about the fact that packages under an interoperability standard need to be produced by specific tools… unless of course I misunderstood the page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *