What Is The Difference Between AICC And SCORM Compliant?

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What Is The Difference Between AICC And SCORM Compliant?

Updated February 14, 2020

Are you in the process of choosing an LMS and stuck at a crossroad when it comes to eLearning technical standards?

You’re probably familiar with the most widely used options which are AICC and SCORM. But there’s new players on the scene as well, xAPI and cmi5. What are they? What do they do? Which one do I need?

We’ll break it all down for you in easy terms so you’re armed with the right information and feel comfortable making a decision.

AICC, SCORM, xAPI, cmi5 Definitions...the pros and cons


Aviation Industry CBT Committee, or AICC as we know it, is the OG of technical standards and the first to foster communication between an existing learning management system (LMS) and course content.

The benefit of using AICC is that it’s more secure and has flexible deployment configurations. However, it isn’t able to track course progress and is quickly losing support.

The original AICC standard is still being used for legacy reasons, so it won’t disappear anytime soon, but for all intents and purposes, it’s a dead standard.


SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 are the most popular technical standards in the eLearning industry and with good reason. Making SCORM content is easy, widely supported and learner pace can be dictated.

A major bonus for using SCORM is that nearly all LMS vendors support SCORM content, which makes it easy to migrate courses from an old system to a new one. And, with companies changing LMS vendors on average every three to five years, this is an important point to remember.

It doesn’t come without a few disadvantages though.

  • Doesn’t support offline learning
  • Can only be tracked in an LMS
  • Is flash-based so doesn’t work well on mobile devices


Experience API or xAPI was developed in 2013 and is one of the newer standards. Its claim to fame is primarily around tracking learning that happens outside of the LMS— mobile learning, simulations, virtual reality, complex games, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning, and collaborative learning.

The biggest pros around xAPI is its ability to support learning outside of the LMS, no internet connection required, delivers true mobile learning and tracks richer data.

Of course it’s not without it downsides either.

  • Not widely supported yet
  • Difficult to set up performance metrics
  • Measuring impact of learning


cmi5 came about in 2016 and was created for the purpose of making it easier for standard LMS-oriented environments to adopt xAPI. cmi5 is essentially a bridge between SCORM and xAPI that takes the best of these two standards for LMSs.

From a technical standpoint, there are really no downsides to cmi5. From a functional perspective, the only negatives to this standard would be the result of legacy infrastructure and tools.

So, which eLearning standard should you choose?

Things are slowly shifting but the industry still very much depends on SCORM. This is a safe and solid option that you can’t go wrong with. And, for most companies, it will meet a large portion of training needs.

Now, is xAPI and cmi5 good options as well? Absolutely.

This is where doing due diligence is so important during the LMS selection process. You should be asking questions like,

  • Is your workforce dispersed and utilize mobile a lot?
  • Do workers need to be trained or certified out in the field?
  • Is shadowing and mentoring a big part of on-boarding processes?
  • Do you have a younger workforce that expects learning anytime, anywhere?

For instance, a ShareKnowledge client needed the ability to certify on-site whether or not an employee was qualified to work on a piece of equipment before they could start work. This process was expedited because managers could easily capture the information from wherever they were and it could be easily transferred into the LMS.

These are the types of use cases that a company must think about before choosing an LMS or technical standard.

Do you still have questions?




Key Consideration:
Sharepoint, Learning

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