The Lorman Blog

Where training professionals and lifelong learners come for industry news, insights, and continuing education resources.



Posted on 01/11/21 By Lorman Team

There are many factors to consider when shopping for eLearning content: What training topics should I choose? How will I distribute the training to employees? Should I buy SCORM or xAPI-compliant courses? 

In the eLearning world, SCORM and xAPI are the technical standards for eLearning that facilitate the sharing of content across learning management systems (LMS).

But the differences between SCORM vs. xAPI are not always clear, making it complicated for training and development leaders to choose.

What is SCORM?

Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) can be traced back to the year 1999. At that time, eLearning content was only designed for one system since different technologies could not be linked together. The SCORM protocol was designed to help track learning activity within an establishment.

The ability for the two to communicate, referred to as interoperability, is the reason behind the popularity of SCORM to this date. Because of this, most major LMS software is SCORM-compliant. 

So what are SCORM files?

A SCORM file is an XML file that contains all the information needed to transfer learning content to a learning management system. But remember, this only works if you have a SCORM-compliant LMS. 

What is xAPI?

Experience API (xAPI), also known as Tin Can, has taken LMS to a whole new level since its release in April 2013. What sets xAPI apart from SCORM is its ability to track learning in multiple contexts, meaning it can work in different contexts apart from popular LMS.

xAPI enables the tracking, recording, improving, and personalizing of eLearning offline and online. Developers tend to prefer Tin Can because it offers a clearer picture of the engagement of employees with blended learning experiences.

Although SCORM is widely used by different organizations, xAPI opens up new avenues for improving, tracking, and personalizing learning experiences. 

Choosing Between SCORM and xAPI

xAPI and SCORM files effect how courses interact with your learning management system. At the end of the day, the decision between SCORM vs. xAPI is dependent on a few factors. 

Now that you know what Tin Can and SCORM is, we can highlight what you need to consider when choosing between the two.

Is Your Content Provider xAPI or SCORM-Compliant?

If you already have an LMS, then this is the first question you need to ask when shopping for content. If you already have a content provider, then you need to find out if their LMS files are SCORM or xAPI-compliant.

Not all content providers offer both Tin Can and SCORM files, so it's important to establish if integration is possible with your vendors. 


Keep in mind that file types don't necessarily matter so long as you have an excellent content provider and LMS.

xAPI and SCORM do not alter how the course behaves or looks. Many people make the mistake of thinking that xAPI will somehow improve the content and appearance of the course itself, but that simply isn't true.

Whether you choose xAPI or SCORM will depend on the compatibility between your content provider and your LMS. 

Looking for a content provider for your employee training program? Learn more about Lorman's Team & Enterprise Training solutions.



Related Articles

Learning management systems (LMS) have become increasingly popular in workplaces as the eLearning industry continues to grow. But is an LMS worth the investment? Let's find out.

Posted on 02/22/21

Supporting your managers is essential to business success. Learn the best ways to support your managers to strengthen your company's internal structure and foster a culture of productive collaboration.

Posted on 04/26/23

Microlearning is a type of training strategy where information is broken up into bite-sized sections. Microlearning modules allow learners to study at their convenience, which is a huge advantage for those busy professionals with limited time.

Posted on 08/21/20