A technology, format or method ratified by a respected authority
A standard is a recognized (nationally or internationally) technology, format or method, documented in detail, ratified by a respected authority such as ISO (International Standards Organisation), BSI (British Standards Institute), CEN (Centre Europeande Normalisation) or IEEE.
A standard is usually capable of being compliance-tested and officially certified (for example ISO9000, or the BSI kitemark).
So what's the difference between a standard and a specification?
A specification is an industry-produced "draft standard" that has not been ratified by such an official body but may be useful for achieving de facto standardisation in the interim between identifying an industry need, and standards being ratified by ISO, IEEE etc.
Currently, IMS produce specifications, not standards. SCORM is also a specification, not a standard. This doesn't mean they are useless, it just means that they are prone to changes and clarifications as the industry shifts to accommodate or challenge them. Eventually, there will be sufficient maturity and consensus in the specifications that they will be ratified by IEEE or ISO.
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