This blog post is part of our “Ask Andy” series in which we publish Andy’s plain-spoken, straight shooting answers to common or uniquely interesting (eLearning) questions. If you have a question, you can always fill out this form and ask Andy too.

Hey Andy,

We are a startup company that plans to develop a learning platform that will be licensed for other organizations in the future. We are still in the early stages of development and are currently deciding if we should build versus buy the individual components (SCORM player, LRS, etc.) of our learning platform.

Could you provide any advice—such as solutions and the respective deployment options (on-premise, managed hosting, SaaS)—on things we should consider in our decision-making?

Struggling to decide

Hey Struggling to decide,

Thanks for reaching out. I’m happy to help, as developing a learning platform is not a trivial undertaking. The first step is to get an in-depth understanding of the components you want in your new application. When it comes to adding a SCORM player to your platform and integrating a learning record store (LRS), I’d recommend the following products.

Rustici Engine

Rustici Engine is a tightly integrated content player that becomes part of your application. When a user uploads an eLearning-standard based course into your platform, Engine offloads all of the importing, launching and tracking of a learner’s progress through that course. Rustici Engine supports SCORM 1.2, SCORM 2004 (2nd, 3rd and 4th Editions), xAPI, cmi5 and AICC. Video, PDF files and URLs can also be imported and store results alongside other data in Rustici Engine’s included LRS, making it easier to support microlearning and other learning formats.

Rustici Engine is offered via .Net or Java. The integration with your application is led by our development team and done via a modern REST API. When it comes to deployment, it can be deployed on your servers or privately hosted by us. If you’d like to learn more about the technical details of deploying Engine, check out our technical documentation.


SCORM Cloud is the SaaS version of our integrated content player with a hosted LRS. You can log in to the application online, but we also offer an API. Like Rustici Engine, SCORM Cloud can help your platform import, launch and track standards-based content. SCORM Cloud offers a free trial and the SCORM Cloud API documentation is here if you’d like to give it a try.

If you’re trying to ensure your platform is compliant with SCORM, xAPI, cmi5 and AICC, you could build it yourself or you could work with us. It’s estimated that adding support for all the standards will take 2-3 years. After the initial build, you must consider the time required for ongoing maintenance. Using our software, you’ll save time on setup and ongoing support, so your developers can focus on their most important work.

I hope this helps give you some ideas of how to get started on developing your learning platform. I’m happy to answer any other questions you might have about saving development time by working with us.


Andy joined our team to evangelize xAPI. Now he talks to people about all of the eLearning standards all day because he is considered a “salesperson.” He’s also our office jokester – he’s a punny guy.