The Evolution of Learning Specifications

SCORM and Learning Management Systems have been around for 20 years now, and serve a purpose in allowing data to be collected and reported on.

Over the last 10 years, further specifications have popped up and most notably, a specification called xAPI.

The purpose of this learning activity is to introduce you to the xAPI specification, what it is used for and why it may be considered as a replacement to SCORM.

xAPI started as Tin Can and essentially allows learning data to be collected from a wide variety of sources, outside of the traditional eLearning module sending interaction data to a Learning Management System via SCORM.

What is the Experience API?

The Experience API (or xAPI) is a new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has (online and offline).

eLearning Standards 101: SCORM, AICC, xAPI, cmi5, And IMS Cartridge

“If you’ve ever had something to do with eLearning, you’ve surely come across such notions as SCORM, AICC, or xAPI. This article will break down every single one of these acronyms, explain how they came about, and what they do.”

For example, when implemented, xAPI can report on how long a person spent reading a PDF, or watching a video, or reading an article on a website. Sounds great, and where can I sign up!?

The main problems I have found are; the technical knowledge required to implement xAPI, and the budget required to implement an extra platform called a Learning Record Store (LRS).

Organisations may have already invested heavily in a learning management system, formed long term contracts and partnerships with vendors, and may not have the budget, resources or time to properly explore the migration from a LMS to a LRS.

xAPI also prides itself on the amount of data that it can capture. For some organisations this amount of data can be overwhelming and the resources required to continuously interpret and report on the data can be an ongoing investment.

Some LMSs have evolved to allow the inclusion of xAPI data, so we are seeing these types of platforms merging into one.

All in all, I have seen xAPI and the LRS being adopted by large organisations that have the luxury of large budgets where this type of data can be used to make decisions around performance and productivity. Implementing this technology into smaller organisations can’t be justified due to the cost and resources involved.

The following video is a 41 minute webinar recording exploring these two specifications.

“eLearning standards” these two simple words can inspire dread in even the most experienced L&D professionals and instructional designers. There are a number of eLearning standards that are supported by various authoring platforms and learning management systems, and they all have pros and cons.

Hear Chris Tompkins and Andy Whitaker from Rustici Software, debate on the similarities and differences between each eLearning standard so you can make an informed choice for your content format, next RFP or product evaluation. You’ll hear opposing points of view from the argument that SCORM’s longevity has brought mass interoperability to the rebuttal that it doesn’t capture the entire picture of learning experiences.

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