Why You Must Switch To An xAPI Enabled Learning Management System

Effective tracking of learners’ interaction with the course material is perhaps one of the most notable advantages of eLearning technology over traditional learning methods. 

The ability to track a learner’s progress and optimise the learning experience to maximise effectiveness truly revolutionised the way we learn.

All this was made possible with a system of standards and specifications known as SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model). In essence, SCORM is used to record everything that happens when a user takes an online course.

However, as with most aspects of technology, SCORM got old, quickly. The last “widely used” version of SCORM was the SCORM 2004 4th Edition that was released in March 2009.

SCORM is being replaced by a new (and of course, better) standard called the Experience API or xAPI or the TIN CAN API.

Tin Can API essentially does the same thing as SCORM but its data recording capabilities aren’t limited to online experiences.

Before we understand the benefits of this technology, let’s first understand (in brief) what it is:

What Is xAPI?

As mentioned earlier, xAPI records user activity to be used for later use. This is made possible with a Learning Record Store (LRS) where the information is stored. 

The unique thing about this information is that it is stored in the form of statements, each containing a noun, verb, and object. When a user connects to the internet, the information is relayed to the learning management system. 

The simpler vocabulary of xAPI allows information to be collected and shared between a number of very different systems.

This unique advantage of xAPI brings a number of benefits to the learners and course creators. 

Let’s talk about some of the benefits of using a TIN CAN API LMS:

The Tracking Capabilities Go Beyond The LMS

The abilities of SCORM were limited to tracking assessments and quiz scored. The case of xAPI is, however, different. As mentioned earlier, it can capture and keep a record of all learning activities, including those that don’t happen on the LMS, like accessing learning resources.

This data is stored in the LRS, and is shared with the LMS whenever the user logs into the LMS.

xAPI Empowers Learning Content Creators

Since the technology can track and record data outside the LMS, instructional designers are not bound to create learning material with technologies that are supported by the LMS (think, JavaScript).

Instead, learning content can take any form, like mobile-based games, and the LRS will record the learner’s interaction with the game.

No Internet? No Problem

One of the most beneficial advantages of TIN CAN API is that it does not require an internet connection to track learner activity.

The technology is designed to hold on to the learner activity data locally. Whenever the user connects to the internet, the data is then relayed to the LMS or LRS. 

This capability of xAPI is especially beneficial for learners that use mobile devices.

Cross-Device Support

Speaking of devices, xAPI can store information sourced from a number of devices. 

For instance, if a learner first does a task on their smartphone, and then logs on to the LMS through their desktop computer, xAPI will record their activity across these devices.

In simpler words, the learner’s progress and activity will be continually tracked, regardless of their choice of device to access course materials.

Conclusion

Essentially, xAPI is the improved version of SCORM. It adds advanced tracking features and helps blend eLearning to a wider training landscape, including informal training activities such as seminars and games.

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