Over the past couple months, I have been pursuing the creation of a new xAPI Profile: the Audio Profile! This Profile has recently been approved and merged into the ADL Profile Repository, which means it is ready for use within the xAPI community.
The Audio Profile – What is it?
The goal of this effort was to define a template for xAPI statements that describe interactions with audio learning content (such as .mp3 files). Since many of the concepts in the existing Video Profile could easily be applied to audio content (e.g. the idea of ‘play’ and ‘pause’, ‘seeking’, volume changes), the development of the Audio Profile structure relied heavily on this existing Video xAPI profile. However, using the Video profile for audio content would inaccurately indicate a content type of Video, and would open the possibility to valid, yet confusing statements (such as recording the ‘video-playback-size’ when changing the screen-size… for an audio file). What needed to change was the ‘object’ type in the “actor verb object” structure of an xAPI statement. The new profile enables this designation with a new ‘Audio’ Activity Type. You can read a bit more about the Activity Type property here.
Why go down this road?
The xAPI Audio Profile was created as part of the new support for media file content types in Rustici Engine. Early in the development stages, we recognized that the type of content (audio or video) should be expressed as part of the xAPI statements the Rustici Engine uses to track these content files. This designation would make it easier for our customers to filter and group statements about the media content, which would help them derive more value from the interactions. We determined that the best way to do this was to use xAPI Profiles, and required us to create the new Audio Profile.
In the same way, it was important to share this with the xAPI community. By writing and advocating for the Audio Profile, we were able to start a few conversations about how the xAPI community can better organize Profiles and what the future direction of ‘media-related’ xAPI Profiles should look like. Publishing this Profile also empowers other xAPI adopters to create a clearer picture of their learning experiences. At Rustici Software, we believe that by actively participating in the xAPI community, we can help make the eLearning standards the best that they can be.