Learning is happening everywhere, not just in traditional SCORM courses inside a traditional Learning Management System (LMS). How do we capture and record data for informal, mobile and social learning experiences that happen outside of the LMS?
Experience API (xAPI), previously know as Tin Can, is a new specification for learning technology that enables the collection of data about the wide range of learning experiences a learner has. These experiences can happen in an online environment as well as offline.
Traditional learning records such as scores and completions, as well as less traditional learning records such as reading an article, watching an educational video or submitting a proposal are tracked by the xAPI and stored in a Learning Records Store (LRS).
The LRS is simply a place to store learning records in the form of statements about the learner’s experience. As xAPI-enabled activities generate statements, they are sent to a LRS. Each statement is comprised of an actor (the learner), an action (what the learner did), and an object (what the learner interacted with).
- Actor – John Smith
- Action – completed
- Object – a simulation.
xAPI and the LMS
The LMS’s ability to track formal instruction is still important to many educational and corporate organisations. However, the LMS is not that useful when it comes to tracking learning experiences that happen outside of the LMS such as coaching, sharing of knowledge, networking and other work experiences.
This does not mean that you now need to replace your LMS. The LRS can be seamlessly built into a LMS or it can sit behind it or an eportfolio using the xAPI to allow other systems to add and retrieve statements.
xAPI and SCORM
SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) is the most widely used elearning standard for elearning software products. The SCORM standard makes sure that all elearning content and LMSs can work with each other. Being the industry standard for elearning interoperability, SCORM content can be played in any SCORM compliant LMS.
Unlike SCORM, xAPI is not limited to elearning courses or learning management systems. In addition to the types of tracking by SCORM, xAPI enables the tracking of multiple scores, detailed test results, mobile apps, games, simulations, informal learning, real world performance, offline learning, blended learning, team-based learning and long-term learning.
The xAPI is designed to support existing SCORM use cases so you can still use SCORM (and AICC) content in a xAPI, with an LRS.
Brightcookie is in the final stages of developing experience.at, a cloud-based datastore capable of collecting people’s learning experiences. This covers more formal learning experiences (such as results from a LMS) as well as having the capacity to store a large number of informal learning records such as participation in short courses, conferences, and other activities.
The datastore will allow for the easy adding of data from a variety of sources including:
Individual user input
- Mobile apps (for example, live streaming apps, conference apps)
Internet connected devices (for examples simulators, machines)
experience.at adheres to the schemas and rules set out in the xAPI documentation maintained officially by the ADL Consortium. The system design ensures that future additions to the xAPI standard can be implemented without loss to historic data.
experience.at will be made available under an Open Source License as well as potentially under a commercial license for commercial applications of xAPI available in addition to AGPL (Similar to other Open Source Models such as MySQL or Alfresco which have Community as well as Enterprise versions). Under such a licence a user may copy, distribute and modify the software as long as they track changes/dates in source files and keep modifications under GPL.