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Posted by Tara Morey
Posted 11 April 2018
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.
Posted by Kirsty Hughan
Posted 7 March 2018
The eLearning Guild’s Learning Solutions event is coming up in just a few weeks. We’re counting down the days until the show for two reasons.
The first? We’re speaking! Chris Tompkins, Director of Contracts and xAPI Evangelist, will help you identify why you’d use xAPI so that you can understand how to build an RFP that best supports your goals. “Adding xAPI to Your RFPs: Rethinking Your Process” takes place March 28 at 1:00 p.m.
Speaking of xAPI, that leads to the second reason we’re excited to attend. We’ll be heading to xAPI Camp before the show begins. We attended xAPI Camp before DevLearn last October and were pleased by the breadth of examples we saw. This camp should be no different and will give us a good chance to refresh our xAPI know-how while diving into some more recent case studies.
Heading to Learning Solutions yourself and want to meet up? Shoot us an email. We’d love to catch up.
Posted by Tim Martin
Posted 29 January 2018
Just a quick note as I head from ATD TechKnowledge in San Jose to Learning Technologies in London…
TechKnowledge was a good event this year. I enjoyed presenting with Margaret Roth of Yet Analytics and Megan Torrance of Torrance Learning at the xAPI Showcase, where we shared examples of what people are doing with xAPI. We used xapiapps to survey the audience about our presentations and three different LRSs (Watershed, Yet and SCORM Cloud) to compile the survey data. That provided a good representation of how to connect different xAPI platforms and the differences between LRSs.
It was fascinating to see the variety of questions in the xAPI space these days. We had good questions about the basic players like, “What’s a learning record store and what’s a learning record provider?” And we had good questions about the underlying technologies employed by LRS vendors like, “Are they using NoSQL solutions or traditional databases? And what’s preferable?” On a continuum, these questions are at opposite ends. But they came within moments of each other. Trying to modulate the answers for an audience so diverse really keeps you on your toes.
My thoughts on these questions…
In regards to the difference between a learning record store (LRS) and learning record provider, who knew the word “store” would be so confusing? It makes sense to me now, particularly in the context of the “App Store” that we instinctively think of the learning record store as a place to buy things rather than a place to keep them.
As for the question about using NoSQL solutions or traditional databases, both kinds of data stores have their place. And some providers are actually using both. But there is no simple, clear, right answer as to which is better. And xAPI (the specification) shouldn’t have an answer to it. Technologists can though.
Overall, I really liked the slightly calmer vibe at TechKnowledge. There is a little more space for nuanced conversation with people and that was helpful to me.
Posted by Jeffrey Horne
Posted 11 June 2015
On June 2nd, 2015, we were part of a joint webinar presented by Bersin and CUES. As usual, the attendees had more questions than we could answer during the live webinar, so we’ve posted the questions and Andrew Downes’ answers here.
Name of Answerer: Andrew Downes
Answer: xAPI allows for learners to be identified by email address, Open ID or an account on some system, such as an LMS. For privacy reasons, a hashed version of the email address can also be used. In practice, most implementations either use email or an LMS account id. Activity Providers always need to know who a learner is in order to send the LRS data about that learner, which can either be done by having the learner log into the activity provider, or some kind of launch/single-sign-on process.
It’s possible that different Activity Providers might use different identifiers for the same person, for example accounts on different systems or different email addresses. In this case it’s important for the LRS to have a record of all the identifiers that relate to a single person. Activity Providers can request this information from the LRS if they need it (and if the LRS gives them permission).
Posted by Andrew Downes
Posted 13 April 2015
Everybody who’s anybody in e-learning has heard of either ‘Experience API’ or ‘Experience API’ and most of you have questions: What’s the impact on my learning design? What are some examples of real world projects? I’m sold; how do I get buy in from my boss? How do I practically get started and solve this particular problem?
At 6pm-7pm on May 18th during ATD ICE in Orlando Florida, five brave experts will band together in the Taverna Opa to chat, answer your questions and discuss solutions to your problems. You’ll chat with each expert in an informal setting during this free event at a conference you’re probably already in town for. How awesome is that?
There’s 60 spots available at the time of writing. Sign up happening via Eventbrite. There’s no cost for the event, but please do let us know as soon as you know if you book but then can’t attend so we can open up the spot for somebody else.
Which experts will you meet at this Greek-appetizer-furnished event? The list is below. Each expert has a specific area of expertise they’ll be ready to talk to you about, so think about the questions you’d like to ask each one. Come prepared to share your experiences and challenges.
Ali Shahrazad, Saltbox
CMO at Saltbox (Makers of Wax LRS). Ali is responsible for marketing, business development, customer success, and projects at Saltbox. He’s been deeply involved in dozens of large scale xAPI customer implementations involving Wax LRS for the last 3 years.
Ask Ali about: real world xAPI case studies.
Tim Martin, Watershed
Tim Martin is co-founder of Rustici Software, the leading provider of products and services to assist with Experience API and SCORM conformance. Today, Tim’s company is leading the world towards adoption of the Experience API. Tim defines product direction and manages operations for all branches of the organization. Under his leadership, Rustici Software received a Gold and Silver Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award for Best in Learning Technology Implementations in 2014.
Ask Tim about: Getting started, where to begin, and using xAPI to fix your problems.
Russell Duhon, Saltbox
CTO at Saltbox (Makers of Wax LRS) and major contributor to the Experience API specification. Russell’s background is in the quantitative social sciences. He’s an expert in machine learning and information visualization. He helps people tackle practical problems in principled ways.
Ask Russell about: xAPI spec, data science, learning & performance analytics, oh my!
Andy Whitaker, Watershed LRS
@tincandy works with Watershed customers and prospects to define their problems and imagine solutions. He helps put together a plan with the right mix of off-the-shelf products and bespoke development tasks to make those solutions a reality. He helps with building a business case and illustrating the benefits of a xAPI project over the costs.
Ask Andy about: Getting buy in from the boss.
Ian Huckabee, Weejee Learning
Ian is a digital strategist and technologist focusing on innovations in e-learning and specializes in digital and social strategy for learning as well as product and business innovation. His focus is on company-wide strategy, innovation, and key initiatives. Ian shares his thoughts on learning trends through Weejee, various blogs and publications, and through his teaching and speaking engagements.
Ask Ian about: How the xAPI enables better e-learning design