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SCORM Best Practices Guide for Content Developers

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This is a best practices guide created specifically for content developers and instructional designers tasked with creating new instructional materials that comply with the Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) or converting existing instructional materials into SCORM-compliant materials. However, writers, programmers, and subject matter experts will also find the guide a useful companion to the SCORM documents.

The guide provides a systematic process for using the SCORM and tips to make your SCORM implementation easier. It is not intended to replace the SCORM documents, nor is it intended to be all-inclusive. The tips and techniques explained here will facilitate your entry into SCORM-compliant training, but through your own implementation, you will continue to learn more about the ways you can efficiently create effective SCORM-based instructional materials.

While SCORM claims to be pedagogically neutral, this guide focuses specifically on a single-user, self-paced e-learning pedagogy; that is, one learner interacting with the instruction. The guide's primary focus is for the training community; however, the SCORM definitions and strategies presented in the guide can easily be transferred to the educational community for a wide range of learners (including K-12 and higher education). The guide can also be applied to developing materials for distance education, computer-assisted instruction (CAI), and some forms of classroom instruction.

There has been considerable debate about what a sharable content object (SCO) is, how big it should be, and what it should contain (objectives, assessments, simulations, etc.). There are no concrete answers to any of these questions. In many cases you'll need to adapt your SCOs to fit your specific needs. This guide attempts to provide a somewhat flexible definition of a SCO while providing some best practices to help you create the types of SCOs that will best meet your organization's specific needs. It also provides sequencing templates and models to assist you in creating effective instructional design that complies with SCORM 1.3.

The SCORM Best Practices Guide was developed as part of an ADL Delivery Architecture program to prototype use of a content repository and specifications for the customized learning experience on-line. The Learning Systems Architecture Lab at Carnegie Mellon University developed the guide and offers its use to anyone interested in developing SCORM conformant curriculum. The Best Practices Guide is available for download on the Carnegie Mellon Learning Systems Architecture Lab website.

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