Delivering workplace learning in 2023: SCORM, xAPI, curated video and everything in between

delivering workplace learning in 2021: SCORM, xAPI, curated video

In this article…

  1. Does SCORM still have a place?
  2. Jargon buster – xAPI vs SCORM
  3. Video – how to make it stick in your organisation
  4. Choosing the right content
  5. Video Arts bring both laughs and compliance

COVID has changed the workplace (or as we knew it) irreversibly. For some, it has brought forward long overdue hybrid working and a better work life balance. For others, it has made communication, recruitment and fostering a company culture that bit more challenging – not to mention homeschooling and zoom fatigue being thrown in for good measure!

In a recent survey, Fosway found that there has been an 82% increase in demand for digital learning from senior stakeholders internally. Learning professionals therefore face a greater spotlight, new trends and jargon to unpick and on top of all this, quite often, operating under budget cuts and/or stretched resources.

You may have an old clunky LMS, a new shiny LXP (like ours!) or are investigating delivering learning digitally for the first time – whatever position you are in, this blog will expertly guide you through the various workplace learning acronyms (new and old) so you can decide what will work in your organisation and engage your learners.

After all, we are celebrating our 50th anniversary next summer, so we do know a thing or two about adapting with the times…

The secret to effective learning experiences is engaging content.

The secret to effective learning experiences is engaging content.

Does SCORM still have a place?

What does SCORM stand for again?!

This admittedly daunting acronym stands for Searchable Content Object Reference Model – feel free to impress your friends at a dinner party with this – on second thought, perhaps that isn’t such a good idea…

SCORM allows for interoperability

The key idea behind SCORM is that any kind of learning content can be ‘SCORM compliant’, whether that be video, slides, knowledge checks or even podcasts! But remember, that doesn’t mean that any kind of SCORM compliant content is engaging… but more on that later.

The acronym represents a set of technical standards for online learning software products that allows for content “interoperability” and “trackability” of content adoption. In other words, any eLearning content that is SCORM compliant can easily be accessed and reused across different tools and platforms.

What about the learner experience?

The criticism increasingly levelled at SCORM e-learning courses is that they have traditionally consisted of ‘off the shelf’ solutions and are not geared to be the best learner experience. Think back to those ‘click next’ compliance courses you have no doubt suffered through!

The key is to use SCORM as part of your strategy, rather than it being your sole tool. It is excellent for compliance training or rolling out standardised digital training quickly and at scale. To increase personalisation though, organisations are increasingly using curated video (either from a specialist provider like Video Arts or filming their own) and plugging them into courses they build themselves with an authoring tool. More on that in a bit.

Pro tip: SCORM has two common versions – SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004. The former was the first adoption of the SCORM format, with 2004 being an update to improve design and assessment capabilities.

Jargon buster – SCORM vs xAPI

xAPI is increasingly becoming the new standard for e-learning after its inception in 2013. While the SCORM standard is not going anywhere soon and has its place (as proven above), xAPI can offer you a different delivery method for your training strategy.

What is xAPI?

xAPI is a new, modern e-learning standard with greater scope for tracking more personalised content. The big difference between xAPI and SCORM is while SCORM is limited to recording e-learning courses, xAPI can track almost any activity. The kinds of learning it can track mean it caters for a far greater depth of learning style, including:

  • Reading an article or blog (like this handy guide?!)
  • Attending a course
  • Joining a zoom call
  • Mentoring or coaching sessions
  • And more!

This allows xAPI to deliver a far more comprehensive view of learner progress and gives learning teams far richer data to spot trends and create tailored development plans.

Should I use xAPI?

Whether to implement xAPI, SCORM or both delivery methods depends on your training strategy and how learning fits into your company wide objectives. Many of our clients use a blended approach, offering learning at the point of need and through multiple mediums, such as an LXP/LMS, their CRM, SharePoint, HR/payroll system or on-the-job coaching.

So, if you have these already in place and were to roll out an induction programme (for example) using xAPI to track manager check ins, team zoom calls, reading company policies could all be done on your LMS. However, to be compliant they may need to complete a DSE course and SCORM would be the best bet for this still.

xAPI is therefore a solution for collecting data from all of those environments in a consistent, useful way and depositing that data in one place. It may not be enough to wow your dinner party guests but it is a good starting point for your learning journey!

Video – how to make it stick in your organisation

The same post COVID 19 Fosway report found that video and curated content were the two most popular learning tools in 2021. Video is always near, if not top, of the list given how much we consume it in our daily lives. We all share TikToks or GIFs on those group WhatsApp chats right?

Video is what people enjoy watching outside of work, so when harnessed correctly in work (so it doesn’t descend into cat videos being watched at the desk) it can really engage your employees and be a powerful tool to drive positive behavioural change. Like any way of learning, delivery methods are also key as well as the quality of the video itself. So, get ready for some more jargon…

Curated video and iFrames

We casually dropped curated content in the conversation just now, so what is it? Video curation refers to the art of finding the best videos on a topic, compiling them, and sharing your findings with others. Given the power of social media, sharing content can be a great tactic for your learning strategy – especially given face-to-face anecdotes and stories may be lost with less office contact time.

In your organisation, curating content covers a few options depending on your goals, resources and budget:

  • Purchasing the best videos from content suppliers
    We often hear from clients, “why reinvent the wheel?” Especially with soft skills, if there are high-quality, bite-size videos you can plug into your learning then it can save you a lot of time. Dare we suggest there is no better place for this than Video Arts, given our TV-quality content…browse our catalogue here.
  • Creating video in-house
    If you have a bigger budget, you may wish to explore creating bespoke video. This can either be done with a supplier (we do this too) or in-house if you already have the expertise. This is great for personalised content like induction videos, but do consider the expected life of a video before presenting any cost benefit analysis to the wider team.
  • Sourcing the best free videos online
    There is a lot of great content on places like YouTube or in TED talks that can be a handy, cost-effective solution. Things to look out for are streaming quality – are they being filmed or originals – and to regularly check the links once embedded. The last thing you need is to build a video into a course and the link to no longer works!

Pro tip: iFrames can be a great way to embed Video Arts into your organisation. iFrames are essentially links you easily copy and paste into an authoring tool (software to build your own SCORM/xAPI courses). We can give you all of our videos meaning you can add your own branding and assessments around them and your learners will think you hired Robert Webb or Matt Lucas for your training – cool right?

🖥️  Watch our webinar for the latest tips on how to leverage virtual learning to drive engagement

QR codes and harnessing your intranet

QR codes are relatively new and pre COVID you may not have heard of them, but during the last 18 months, we have all had to ‘scan in’ to bars or the NHS app to get that slight taste of freedom…

Just like sending back your unwanted ASOS order, you too can add QR codes within our learning programme. You can link videos to the codes and house these on your internal intranet or social channels. It is a great way to create some curiosity and make learning feel like it does outside of work – whilst ensuring you offer learning on-demand, when staff need it most.

Pro tip: The focus is rightly often on your LMS, but remember your intranet will get more traffic – at least initially. Harness and embrace this and link out from it – include streaming links to videos, QR codes and links back to your LMS to move traffic around to boost learner usage.

Don’t forget video tagging and classroom training

Hopefully you are still with us and ready to chat SCORM, iFrames and xAPI to anyone who will listen…that may just be us, then. Moving on…

We have covered delivery methods, how and why to use different types of e-learning but there are few final, handy tips to remember when using video in the workplace:

  • Tagging content
    Content suppliers (us included) often have large libraries of content to support you. We, therefore, have to classify them, usually into collections or groups. Although, semantics can often cause confusion – e.g. what we call difficult conversations may be called courageous conversations in your organisation. So, when tagging videos to be searchable on your LMS/LXP, triple tag if needed to cater for misguided searches so good content isn’t lost into the ether!
  • Virtual classrooms
    We are sure, like our clients, you have been forced to adapt and become experts on virtual delivery during the pandemic. “Mike, you are on mute,” “Sorry my camera isn’t working”… ring any bells? Watch our webinar here on how to master the virtual classroom and plug our content into sessions to keep people engaged and smiling throughout…
  • Face-to-face training isn’t dead
    We are *touch wood* getting back to some form of normal, whatever that was. Classroom training and office working may not return to the same numbers but there will always be a place for it. Video is a great way to break up sessions, keep the room energised and avoid people wishing the free sandwiches would hurry up. All of our videos have PowerPoint and trainer guides to help you make the most of your sessions.
  • Mobile still matters
    Desktop is still overwhelmingly the main way to consume digital content at work but mobile will only increase over time. Ensure all content be it sourced, bought or made is mobile friendly and built using HTML5 for use across the board.

Choosing the right content

So, we have an overview of how to deliver content and the merits of different delivery solutions. The all-important question is how can you make workplace learning engaging? Short of incentivising the team with a bigger biscuit budget – you can make them laugh!

It is no secret that when you’re laughing you’re more engaged, more attentive and more likely to retain information. In fact, a study conducted by humour researchers Ori Amir and Irving Biederman showed that humour, when used effectively, generates an extortionate amount of activity in the neocortex. For those of us who aren’t neuroscience experts, that is the part of your brain associated with learning!

So, let’s take a look at some of the necessary components to consider when formulating your content strategy —

  • Use humour!
    We’re sorry to sound like a broken record, but this point cannot be stressed enough! Using humour in your learning videos can more easily grab the attention of your end-user, improve learning participation and enhance workplace interaction and relationships.
  • Include video content
    Video content gives learners the freedom to learn at their own pace by choosing how many videos to watch in each session. This allows them to stay focused and learn better. Plus, it’s easier to integrate humour into a video, than it is a dusty textbook. Did you know humans (you) process visual information far faster than written material, 60,000x faster!
  • Incorporate microlearning
    Individuals can engage in short bitesize learning processes as and when they want, ensuring they walk away having learnt something every time. For more on this though, we’ve created a blog to answer the question: why adopt microlearning. Spoiler: because it makes learning from the classroom to the desk 17% more efficient.
  • Don’t forget soft skills
    SCORM or xAPI compliant content isn’t just for the technical — although it certainly sounds this way. Soft skills learning content is just as important as wider workplace learning topics and should always be a part of your learning strategy.
  • Enable individual learning pathways
    Learning pathways are the antidote to bland, non-personalised learning solutions. They allow your learners to build their learning journey to suit them. This increases the chance of learning adoption as it gives the end-user more autonomy.

Pro tip: To generate the fabled ‘self-serve’ culture don’t be tempted to overwhelm learners or (understandably) get too excited when launching a new LMS and try to do too much at once. Keep it to three or four pieces of learning assigned to each learner at any time. Little and often wins the race – remember it needs to be fun and not so much that they use the classic line of “I don’t have time for training.”

Video Arts bring both laughs and compliance

If you are looking for award-winning content across all delivery methods: xAPI, SCORM, iFrames, QR codes, video streaming – you have come to the right place. That means we can support all of your training strategy or part of it, depending on where you are on your journey.

With 50+ years of experience and 250+ awards, Video Arts is the home of video learning. We can provide you and your team:

  • World-class learning video content that can integrate seamlessly into your existing LMS/LXP, intranet, SharePoint system or virtual classroom strategy.
  • Access to extensive workplace learning content that is humorous, engaging, and has the added hook of famous faces to get your learners engaged from the get-go.
  • Access to our entire collection of 400+ videos and 100+ interactive courses, freshly loaded with our brand new mental health collection.

Interested? Of course you are! Get in touch today to get started…


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