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Get an LRS

What is an LRS again?

The Learning Record Store (LRS) is the heart of any xAPI ecosystem — receiving, storing and returning data about learning experiences, achievements and job performance. You’ll need an LRS in order to do anything with xAPI. Every other tool which sends or retrieves learning activity data will interact with the LRS as the central store.
Read more about what an LRS is.

Buy or build?

It’s a lot of work to build your own LRS. This is because xAPI was designed to make it as easy as possible to develop products that interact with an LRS. As a result, all of the complexity of the specification has been put onto the LRS, much of which is hidden in the details of implementation. In fact, ADL’s LRS Test Suite includes more than 1000 individual LRS functionality tests.

Fortunately, there’s a whole range of commercial and open source LRSs available. There’s really no need for you to build your own. These LRSs come in lots of different flavors, so let’s explore some of the broad categories.

What type of LRS is right for me?

Learning Record Store (LRS) products can be categorized into three types. Some products might fulfil more than one role or do a little of everything.

  • Learning Analytics Platforms pull in learning and performance data from a range of sources to be analyzed to provide actionable insights.
  • Integratable LRSs are designed sit behind another application, like an LMS, to provide LRS functionality for that product.
  • Testing and Development LRSs provide detailed debugging information for developers working with xAPI.

What should I consider when choosing an LRS?

As well as thinking about what type of LRS you need, there are some other factors you should consider when choosing an LRS:

  • Conformance – Has the LRS passed the ADL LRS conformance test suite? This list includes those products that have passed the test.
  • Level of expertise required – Do you need a doctorate in statistics to understand the data or does the product make it simple?
  • Support – What help will you get when you’re getting started, when you have questions, or when things go wrong?
  • Security and reliability – Is your data safe? Is that platform reliable? These are relevant questions for whomever is hosting the product, you or the vendor.
  • In-house technical expertise – What in-house technical expertise is required? Do you have it or can you get it?
  • Cost and pricing model – What are the initial and ongoing financial costs? What initial and ongoing development time is required? If the cost is based on usage, how is that usage measured and what is your usage likely to be?

What LRSs are available?

Once you’ve decided which type of LRS you think you need and put together a list of questions to ask vendors, you should look at some specific products. There are a range of LRSs and products that include LRSs listed on the adopters list.

Rustici Software LRSs

We offer two LRS options, both having passed the ADL LRS Test Suite:

  • Engine is a locally-installed LRS that is integrated into other applications.
  • Cloud is a free, hosted LRS that can be used for testing and development as well as integrated into other products.

Ready to talk about an LRS?

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