How to get Buy in

You’ve read about how xAPI will benefit your organization and now you need to get buy in. So what do you need to tell the key people in your organization about xAPI? In addition to the compelling case studies you’ve already read, this page offers direction and advice for your conversations with the key stakeholders in your organization.

What Learning and Development needs to know

Your manager and others with responsibility for learning in your organization will likely want to browse this website themselves. The Design section and Learning Strategy Impacts page should be of particular interest.

For L&D managers, measuring the impact of learning initiatives is important, but it’s not the end of the story. Be sure to take them through the Layers of the xAPI Onion and the capacity of xAPI to transform learning design. Emphasize how xAPI will enable you to create far more engaging, social and interactive learning experiences than were feasible during the SCORM era. Discuss the benefits of having all your learning and performance data in one place and one format. Talk about the benefits of being able to connect new systems into the ecosystem and get insight from them. xAPI isn’t just a new tracking specification, it’s a whole new mindset for digital and blended learning.

What executives need to know

Executives higher up in your organization may not be interested in the details of learning technologies. They will want to know how xAPI will affect the business of the organization. For many executives learning and development is a black box (or maybe a black hole) that costs the organization money with no clear evidence of the impact of that cost.

Experience API opens up this black box allowing your organization to see the measurable impact of your learning initiatives on the performance of your staff. When speaking with executives, discuss Kirkpatrick’s four levels of learning evaluation and the importance of levels three and four, then demonstrate how your current reporting only allows you to reach levels one and two at best.

Of course, evaluating changes in employee behavior and the impact on the business (levels three and four) aren’t just helpful metrics for reports. This information allows the Learning and Development team to see that impact and focus the L&D budget on the areas that genuinely contribute towards business goals. Talk to executives about how you plan to use xAPI to identify those opportunities and transform L&D from a mysterious cost centre into a strategic business partner.

What IT needs to know

Your IT department is likely to be most interested in security and performance of your xAPI solution. As a specification, xAPI was written with these issues in mind but ultimately security and performance are the responsibility of the products and programs that implement xAPI. If you’re buying xAPI powered products, be sure to ask about security and performance and if developing your own, make sure they are considerations.

It’s important to understand what you mean by security and think about the risks you’re trying to avoid. If the risk is the learner cheating in a learning activity, this may or may not be a genuine concern, particularly if the learning experiences are optional and the outcome carries no great consequence for the learner. Other risks such as loss of personal or confidential data will normally be more important to consider.

The biggest win xAPI brings to your IT department is the ability to more easily bring new technologies into the L&D ecosystem without costly integration projects. Integrating non-standards conformant tools with existing products often requires expensive custom work; integrating a xAPI conformant tool with your LRS (and therefore the rest of your ecosystem) is often as simple as completing a few configuration fields.

What Finance needs to know

Your Finance department will want to know about the cost of implementing xAPI. As an Open Source specification, xAPI itself is entirely free and open. What you’ll pay for is either xAPI powered products, your own internal xAPI development or a combination of the two.

You should talk to your vendor to understand pricing on any xAPI powered products and to understand how the metrics measured are likely to translate into costs for your business. Pricing models often vary for similar products from different vendors (or even the same vendor). For example an LRS might charge based on number of learners, number of analysts, number of statements or some combination. Be sure to find a pricing model that suits you.

Finance will also be interested in ways xAPI saves the organization money. By analyzing which learning initiatives actually work to improve performance, you can focus future spending on those kinds of initiatives, saving money on initiatives that are ineffective. At the same time, you can spend more money in the areas that are most effective and give the largest return on investment, something finance will love!

More questions?

If you’ve got further questions, we’d love to answer them! Please contact us.

If you’re ready to adopt, move on to the Get Started section to find out how.

Alternatively, you can read on and explore the emerging Enterprise Learning Ecosystem.

Get Started!