After attending a number of xAPI-focused sessions at Learning Solutions Conference plus attending xAPI Camp before LSCon kicked off, I was astounded to see such a clear theme emerge when it comes to the spec. For xAPI practitioners, the recommendation is to “crawl, walk, run.”
This was a theme echoed by RISC, HT2 Labs, TorranceLearning, Watershed, xapiapps, Riptide Software and our very own Chris Tompkins in his session, “xAPI in your RFP.” All of them recommended that to get started it is wise to start small. Begin by mapping out a few key data points you need to prove your success. The key is to align your L&D goals with your company’s overall business goals.
For example, the benefits of a sales training course could be proved by a resulting increase in revenue. To prove this true, you’ll need an ecosystem of tools such as a sales management application (like Salesforce), an LMS and a learning analytics platform or LRS. Connecting the dots between the tools using xAPI can allow you to correlate learning experiences to meaningful metrics in your organization. Once you’ve been able to start small and prove the value of using xAPI for your training, then you’ll be able to tackle adding additional integrations within your organization’s ecosystem such as an HRIS, customer support platform, etc.
TorranceLearning’s Megan Torrance had a great take away in regards to ecosystems, she said, “It’s unrealistic for you to expect one system to do it all.”
Similarly, Steve Forman at InfoMedia Designs remarked, “It’s no longer build vs. buy–it’s assemble. Your eLearning ecosystem will be designed specifically for your organization and use case model.”
Our own Chris Tompkins reminded us that even though it’s exciting to use xAPI because it’s new, you want to be sensitive to choosing the right tool for the job. He advised, “Don’t just assume you’ll need xAPI.” Each of the standards (SCORM, xAPI, cmi5 and AICC) has specific strengths, so it’s important to begin by identifying why you need xAPI and what you want to achieve using the standard.
Leaving Learning Solutions, I felt inspired and excited to see other attendees use an agile approach with xAPI to get started. Just remember: xAPI can be tough to kick off so be ready to test, fail and iterate.