SCORM vs. Tin Can - Which One Is Better for Your eLearning Course?

The creation of eLearning courses has evolved over the years. In the past, you needed to follow consistent standards so your eLearning course would work with various LMS platforms. That is where SCORM and Tin Can come into play. But what’s the difference between SCORM and Tin Can, and do you even need them? 

What Are Scorm Tin Can? 

Whether you use SCORM or Tin Can, the programs are standards and specifications for creating eLearning courses. They are designed to make it easy to move your course across various LMS platforms. With these standards, you don’t have to design each LMS from scratch. Both SCORM and Tin Can are also designed to store data on learners. 

Differences between Scorm Tin Can

There are a few crucial differences between SCORM and Tin Can. Before getting into these differences, you may be interested to know that SCORM stands for “Shareable Content Object Reference Model.” But that’s not as important as what sets the two systems apart. 

A Decade vs. Two Decades

For starters, SCORM was created in 2001, and Tin Can was created in 2013. So, SCORM is over two decades old, and Tin Can is nearly a decade old. That gives you an idea that both may be missing specific features you may look for. It also tells you that Tin Can is more advanced. 

Not only is SCORM much older, but a new version hasn’t been introduced in a while. The fourth and most recent version was released back in 2004. 

Where They Are Designed For

Another big difference in this comparison between SCORM and Tin Can is where they were designed to be used. SCORM was built for computers and cannot be used on mobile devices. Your LMS and everything else must be used on a desktop or laptop. By contrast, Tin Can was created for use  “everywhere.” The creators of the program and standards intentionally made it limitless. You can use it on desktops, laptops, phones, tablets, or other similar devices. 

Offline Capabilities

Tin Can is already more versatile than SCORM because you can use it on any device, as opposed to using SCORM only on computers. On top of that, you need an internet connection to use SCORM, but you can access Tin Can offline. 

This offline accessibility is crucial when, for example, a construction worker needs to access an internal course at a job site. With SCORM, they’d have to bring their laptop, and the site would need internet access. With Tin Can, they can download the course on their phone ahead of time. They’ll have access to it on their phone, even on a remote construction site without internet or data access. 

Media Support

Both Tin Can and SCORM can support various types of media, including videos, images, and GIFs. However, SCORM can only handle a single piece of media at once, which isn’t practical for most modern courses. Tin Can handles multiple pieces of media simultaneously. 

Tin Can Record Store

Tin Can has an additional feature called Record Store, where the data of learners is stored. This means that Tin Can doesn’t actually need an LMS to function. 


Because SCORM is outdated, most people should choose Tin Can. Always do a cost-benefit analysis to decide if the program is worth it and provides the features you need. Still, you may not even need either. Programs like Tin Can are no longer a requirement for setting up eLearning courses. 

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