Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is an XML-based framework used to define and access information about learning objects so they can be easily shared among different learning management systems (LMSs). SCORM was developed in response to a United States Department of Defense (DoD) initiative to promote standardization in e-learning.
The DoD had been frustrated by problems they encountered when trying to share distance learning courses among different learning management systems used within the Department, so in 1997 they formed the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) specification group to create a way to make learning content portable across various systems. ADL created the first version of SCORM, which originally stood for Shareable Courseware Object Reference Model. It was designed to facilitate moving course content and related information (such as student records) from one platform to another, to make course content into modular objects that can be reused in other courses, and to enable any LMS to search others for usable course content.
The SCORM specifications, which are distributed through the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative Network, define an XML-based means of representing course structures, an application programming interface (API), a content-to-LMS data model, a content launch specification, and a specification for metadata records for all components of a system. The ADL specification group's next challenge is to motivate vendors to comply with SCORM specifications.