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The E-coach Blog
Tracking E-Learning in a LMS: The role of SCORM
By Alison Bickford on December 2, 2012
Question from a client: How are e-learning courses tracked in a LMS?
Simply put, for e-learning courses to track in a LMS both the LMS and the e-learning course must be compliant to a standard. In Australia, the most common standard is SCORM 1.2. The value of using a standard is that e-learning courses can be (theoretically) published onto any LMS of the same standards. Having a LMS that subscribes to standards enables you to be flexible in relation to your e-learning suppliers and choice of authoring tool. Having a standard allows data values to transfer between the e-learning course and the LMS during learners interaction with the course (See FIGURE 1).
The common data values transferring from e-learning course to LMS include:
Progress – where is the learner up to in a course (the usual measure is screens, and the value give is percentage e.g. A learner who has clicked through 15 out of 30 screens is 50% progressed through the course).
Complete/Incomplete – whether the learner has clicked through all of the screens (completed) or only some of the screens (incomplete). ‘Progress’ and ‘complete/incomplete’ are inter-related values.
Pass/Fail – whether the learner has passed a final assessment or not, usually found at the end of the e-learning course. The pass mark value is set as part of the standard.
Duration – how long the learner has had the course open.
Number of times accessed – how many times the learner has launched the course.
Bookmark – Standards also enable the course to bookmark upon the learner leaving the course, so that, upon launching the course again, the learner is returned to the last screen they were viewing.
Completion versus assessment pass/fail
Generally speaking, e-learning courses can be set to track by progress (complete/incomplete) or by assessment (pass/fail). FIGURE 2 illustrates the tracking options.
What this means is that (again, generally speaking), e-learning designers need to decide whether they want to track a learner’s progress or track that they have passed the course assessment (see FIGURE 3). The standards don’t allow you to track both. However, you can author a course so that the functionality forces the learner to click on every screen in order to get to the assessment that will enable them to pass and thus close off the course as far as the LMS is concerned.
Has this blog post answered your SCORM question? Please don’t hesitate to contact me or write a comment if you have a question.Published on December 2, 2012 · Filed under: Learning Management Systems;
2 Responses to “Tracking E-Learning in a LMS: The role of SCORM”
John said on December 3rd, 2012 at 10:05 pm
The article is helpful. As for me the tracking/reporting system is the most confusing element of an LMS. Currently we are using JoomlaLMS solution for Joomla, and it seems that they have separate tracking of the elements created outside the system (like SCORMS) and those created inside the system (like learning paths or quizzes). And the tracking of SCORMs seems to depend on the settings applied to them while publishing in the authoring tool.
I’ll continue investigating this… Thanks for the article anyway!
Thank you so much for your comment. You are right that the tracking is dependent upon the setting you apply upon publishing. You also raise a good point about LMS that have their own quiz function, for example. in my experience, when building courseware with assessment, I have tried to use the same authoring tool for both the content and the assessment to help make the experience for the learner as congruent as possible (one learning object, with same look, feel and functionality). Also, any content or quiz built with the native LMS tool can’t easily be republished in a different LMS as it doesn’t comply with a ‘standard’ that works between LMS. This can be an issue if you want to move your courses to another LMS.
Thanks again for your contribution to the discussion. Best wishes in your endeavours. Alison.