As eLearning continues to grow in popularity, it’s important to understand the standards that govern this type of training. eLearning standards provide a framework for creating effective and engaging online courses, and they ensure that courses are accessible and compatible across different platforms and devices. 

In this guide, we’ll explore eLearning standards and their significance in the world of online training and education.

What are eLearning standards?

eLearning standards are a set of guidelines and specifications that define how online courses should be designed, developed, and delivered. These standards ensure that eLearning courses are accessible, interoperable, and reusable across different platforms and devices. They cover a wide range of areas, including content structure, multimedia integration, accessibility, and tracking and reporting.

By following eLearning standards, course creators can ensure that their courses are effective, engaging, and accessible to all learners.

Types of eLearning standards

There are several types of eLearning standards, each with its own focus and purpose. The most well-known and widely used standards include:

  • SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model)
  • AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee)
  • Tin Can API (also known as Experience API or xAPI). 

SCORM is the most popular standard and is used to ensure that eLearning content is compatible with different learning management systems (LMSs). AICC is primarily used in the aviation industry, while Tin Can API is a newer standard that allows for more advanced tracking and reporting of learner progress and experiences. Other standards include IMS Global Learning Consortium and Common Cartridge.

Here’s an overview of the most common eLearning standards:

  • SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model): SCORM is a widely adopted standard for eLearning content that ensures interoperability between different eLearning systems. It specifies how eLearning content and learning management systems (LMSs) should communicate with each other.
  • Tin Can API (aka xAPI): Tin Can API or xAPI is a newer standard that allows eLearning content to track learner activities beyond the LMS. It enables tracking of learning experiences that occur outside of traditional eLearning courses, such as simulations, games, and social learning activities.
  • AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-based Training Committee): AICC was developed for the aviation industry but has since been adopted more widely. It specifies how eLearning content should communicate with the LMS and how learners should be tracked.
  • LTI (Learning Technology Integration): LTI allows different eLearning tools to be integrated into a single learning environment. It enables the integration of external tools such as video conferencing, virtual labs, and social media platforms into an LMS.
  • Common Cartridge: Common Cartridge specifies how eLearning content can be packaged and shared between different LMSs. It enables content creators to package their eLearning courses and share them with different LMSs without having to recreate the content for each system.
  • CMI5: CMI5 is a modern e-learning standard that aims to bridge the gap between traditional SCORM and the more flexible xAPI by providing a structured framework for tracking and exchanging learner data in a secure and interoperable manner. 

These standards play a crucial role in ensuring interoperability and compatibility between different eLearning systems and tools, and they help to create a more seamless and integrated eLearning experience for learners.

Benefits of using eLearning standards

Using eLearning standards can provide numerous benefits for both learners and course creators. Standards ensure that courses are compatible with different learning management systems, making it easier for learners to access and complete courses.

They also allow for more advanced tracking and reporting of learner progress and experiences, providing valuable data for course improvement and evaluation. Additionally, using standards can save time and resources for course creators, as they can create content that can be easily shared and reused across different platforms and systems.

Here are some of the benefits of using eLearning standards:

  • eLearning standards ensure that different eLearning systems and tools can communicate with each other, which makes it easier to integrate different systems and provide a seamless learning experience for learners.

Overall, eLearning standards provide a framework for creating, delivering, and tracking eLearning content and experiences that are effective, efficient, and consistent across different learning environments.

How to implement eLearning standards

Implementing eLearning standards can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. The first step is to choose the appropriate standard for your course. 

When choosing the right e-learning standard for your training program, it’s crucial to consider your specific needs and goals. SCORM, with its widespread adoption and compatibility, is a safe choice for traditional, linear courses that require basic tracking and reporting capabilities. If you’re looking for more advanced tracking options, such as capturing complex learning interactions and performance data, xAPI offers greater flexibility and adaptability.

For organizations seeking a balance between the structure of SCORM and the flexibility of xAPI, CMI5 can be a viable option. Additionally, consider factors such as your existing learning management system’s compatibility, technical capabilities, and the desired level of data interoperability with other systems. By assessing these factors, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your training program’s unique requirements and empowers you to deliver a more effective and engaging learning experience.

Once you have chosen a standard, you can begin creating your course content using tools and software that are compatible with that standard. It’s important to test your course to ensure that it is functioning properly and meeting the requirements of the chosen standard. Finally, you can upload your course to a learning management system that supports the chosen standard, making it accessible to learners.

Here are some tips for implementing e-learning standards effectively:

  1. Define your objectives: Clearly identify the learning goals and objectives of your training program to determine which e-learning standard aligns best with your needs.
  2. Assess technical requirements: Evaluate your existing learning management system (LMS) or technology infrastructure to ensure compatibility with the chosen e-learning standard. Consider factors like data storage, tracking capabilities, and reporting functionalities.
  3. Conduct a pilot test: Before fully implementing the e-learning standard, conduct a pilot test with a small group of learners to identify any technical or instructional issues. Use this feedback to refine your implementation strategy.
  4. Train your instructional design team: Provide comprehensive training to your instructional design team to familiarize them with the chosen e-learning standard. Ensure they understand how to develop content that complies with the standard’s specifications.
  5. Design for interoperability: If you anticipate integrating with other systems or sharing data across platforms, design your e-learning content and tracking mechanisms with interoperability in mind. This will enable seamless data exchange and system integration.
  6. Test and validate: Thoroughly test the e-learning content to ensure it functions correctly within the chosen e-learning standard. Validate the tracking and reporting mechanisms to ensure accurate data capture.
  7. Establish data security measures: Implement appropriate security protocols to safeguard learner data and protect sensitive information. Adhere to data privacy regulations and consider encryption, user authentication, and secure data transmission.
  8. Provide user support and training: Offer comprehensive user support and training materials to help learners navigate the e-learning platform effectively. Provide clear instructions on how to access, interact with, and track their progress within the e-learning system.
  9. Monitor and evaluate performance: Continuously monitor the effectiveness of your e-learning program by analyzing learner performance data. Use this data to make informed decisions and implement improvements to enhance the learning experience.
  10. Stay updated: Keep abreast of the latest developments and updates in e-learning standards. As technology evolves, new versions or standards may emerge, and staying informed will help you adapt and optimize your e-learning implementation.

By following these tips, you can successfully implement e-learning standards and create a seamless and impactful learning experience for your audience.

Future of eLearning standards

As technology continues to evolve, so do eLearning standards. One emerging standard is cmi5, which aims to provide a more flexible and modern approach to eLearning. It allows for more personalized learning experiences and better tracking of learner progress. Another trend is the use of microlearning, which involves delivering content in small, bite-sized pieces. 

This approach is becoming increasingly popular as learners seek more flexible and convenient ways to learn. As eLearning continues to grow and evolve, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest standards and trends to ensure that your courses are useful and interesting to your learners.

Ready to elevate your eLearning program with the right standards? Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and take your training to the next level.