What’s the difference between MP4 and SCORM?

SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is the de facto file type for e-learning. In much the same way, so is an MP4 for video learning. Think of them just like all the other file types you come across, such as .doc, .ppt and .xml for Word, PowerPoint and Excel.

SCORM has been around for a while now and is the industry standard for creating an e-learning course. It actually comes in a few different versions, namely: SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004 and xAPI (which is just the latest version). By far and away the most common these days is SCORM 2004. Although you will find plenty of SCORM 1.2 out there as well. A lot of Suppliers still provide both, just to be on the safe side. xAPI or ‘Tin Can’ is seen as a potential replacement, although it’s take-up has been very slow.

What about MP4 then? It’s the most well-known file type for video. MPEG-4 or MP4 is basically a container used to hold video or audio, although you can find it used for other media too e.g. photos. If you’ve ever downloaded some audio off the internet, chances are it will be in MP4 format. It’s very common and all devices accept it for video.

Quite often, content providers will take the SCORM and also make it available in MP4 – because it’s a way for everyone to access the content, even without an LMS (which is a pre-requisite for running SCORM).