A Mobile Device’s Story

I am a mobile device. E-learning and I, well we have a sordid past. Those who have tried to make us work together have often been disappointed. But here’s the thing — it’s not my fault — the e-learning standards of the past have had too many requirements.

Older specifications had to run learning and training in an LMS that opened up in my web browser. This always limited the way that content or activities would display on my screen. It was also a problem when someone wanted to download a chunk of learning activities all at once and use them later, which leads to my second point…

Older e-learning standards required a constant network connection. If you wanted to use me in a place that didn’t have a solid and constant network connection, then forget about it. Road warriors couldn’t use me for trackable learning. You couldn’t do your training while on the red-eye flight out to a job site. You couldn’t use me to do learning or training while being out “in the field” or in a country where you might not have a constant network connection.

Enter the Experience API.

All xAPI needs is an occasional internet connection. xAPI statements are stored on the mobile device as activities are experienced. When there is a network connection, the collected statements are sent to an LRS (or several LRSs). And because there’s no need for a browser, activity creators can now use native apps for trackable learning. Some people are already doing it, and yes, it’s really that awesome.

With the Experience API, activity creators can design native apps that download lots of activities to an app when there is a connection, store them on the device, record xAPI statements as learning activities are performed, and later deliver the results to an LRS when there is a network connection. And because learning is happening in a native app, activity creators have complete control over the user experience.

Learners can even start activities on a computer and then finish them on a mobile device. They can pick up right where they left off.

You know those apps that are used for learning already? Like the one your niece plays on her mother’s phone? The one where whenever she answers a few addition and subtraction problems correctly she gets a new fancy accessory to adorn her fake princess avatar with? It’s really easy to make those apps start generating xAPI statements and trackable learning data.

With xAPI, activity creators can take advantage of all of my features. Accelerometers, GPS, cameras, compasses, gyroscopes, push notifications, you name it, to enhance learning experiences.

Finally someone sees my real potential.