SCORM Shareable Content Objects (SCOs)
A Shareable Content Object (SCO) is a launchable learning object (resource) that communicates with the run-time environment that launched it. A SCO must be designed so that it can be launched in a standalone web window, or in a frame in a HTML frameset.
A SCO is special because when launched for a learner, in the learner's web-browser, it will communicate information back to the LMS that launched it, often a remote server. This communication allows the LMS to track information pertaining the learner's experience.
A SCO represents the lowest level of granularity of a learning resource that an LMS should track. SCORM does not impose any particular constraints on the size of a SCO. A SCO can be a single web page or a collection of web-pages (as long as the collection of pages can be considered a self-contained single unit).
Each SCO should be reusable and independent of its learning context. To achieve such reuse a SCO should be "self-contained" and not reference or link to other SCOs.
Launched SCOs may be launched in a browser frame or a popup window. A SCO should not close the window they are launched in unless it determines it "owns" the window.
Any "passive" asset can be converted to a SCO by declaring it as a SCO in the manifest file and ensuring it exhibits required SCO behaviors.
- Required SCO run-time behaviors:
- Find the RTE API instance provided by the LMS
- Use the API instance to initialize communication with the LMS
- Use the API instance to terminate communication with the LMS
- Recommended SCO behaviors:
- A SCO should be reusable in different learning contexts
- A SCO should be independent of visual constraints, such as window size
- A SCO should reliably transmit learner data so that it is not lost if closed unexpectedly
- A SCO should communicate its completion status
- A SCO should NOT launch new browser windows without closing them when done
- A SCO should NOT link to other files in the content package not listed as resource files of the SCO in the manifest
- Restricted SCO behaviors:
- A SCO may NOT interact with the run-time environment in any way other than the provided run-time API
- A SCO may NOT attempt to change the size or appearance of the run-time environment it is launched in
- A SCO may NOT close the top-level browser window it is launched in unless it is the only thing in the window
Typical SCO Lifecycle
- SCO is launched by a SCORM Run-Time Environment (RTE) (often an LMS)
- SCO finds RTE provided API
- SCO begins communication with the RTE API (via a call to Initialize())
- Learner begins interaction with the SCO
- SCO sends and retreives data via the RTE API (via calls to Get/SetValue())
- Learner ends interaction with the SCO
- SCO ends communication with the RTE API (via a call to Terminate())
Next, learn more about SCORM Run-Time Environment.