What is a Learning Record Store (LRS)?

The LRS is the heart of any xAPI ecosystem, receiving, storing and returning xAPI statements. 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.

The LRS, as defined by the xAPI specification, is “a server (i.e. system capable of receiving and processing web requests) that is responsible for receiving, storing, and providing access to Learning Records.” Taking this a step farther, the LRS is designed to enable systems to store and retrieve xAPI statements, store xAPI state, and store various other xAPI metadata from other systems. When considering what an LRS actually is, it’s important to remember that the S stands for STORE, meaning that the most basic function of an LRS is to store and make available xAPI statements.

What does an LRS enable?

This is where things get interesting! The purpose of the LRS is to collect data from a range of experiences. An LRS enables modern tracking of a wide variety of learning experiences, which might include capturing real world activities, actions completed in mobile apps or even job performance. Data from these experiences is stored in the LRS and can be shared with other systems that offer advanced reporting or support adaptive learning experiences.

Expanding LRSs into Learning Analytics Platforms (LAPs)

Many LRSs have expanded beyond simply storing xAPI data and now include functionality that helps users make use of the xAPI data stored. Those expanded services go beyond the core definition of an LRS to enable a range of capabilities that might include reporting dashboards, learning analytics, recommendation engines and more. LRSs that do more than simply store data are oftentimes called “learning analytics platforms” or LAPs.”

Do I need an LRS?

When considering whether you need an LRS and what kind you might need, it’s important to have an understanding of your requirements and expectations. Do you want an application that has built-in reports and dashboards? Do you expect the LRS to provide insights to you and your learners? Do you want this application to provide analytics on the effectiveness of your learning and training efforts? Most importantly, what do you want to do with your data? Answering these questions will help you identify whether you need an LRS, LMS, LAP or other type of learning platform!

At the very least, if you have at least one source of xAPI data, then you will need an LRS to store the xAPI statements generated from that activity, but this LRS may be part of a larger system. For example, if an LMS supports xAPI it must include an LRS.

If you are considering building a new platform or application (think LMS, LXP, in-house learning portal) that makes use of xAPI data, you might find that using the most basically defined LRS is the right place to start because you’ll need to be able to store xAPI data. From there, you can then determine where and how you use the xAPI data stored in the LRS.

Get an LRS

We offer two options when it comes to LRSs. Not sure which is right for you? Reach out.

  • Rustici LRS

    Rustici LRS is integrated with your existing application via API. The Rustici LRS is an integratable, ADL-conformant learning record store designed to receive, store and return xAPI statements.

    Learn more
  • SCORM Cloud

    SCORM Cloud is a free, hosted LRS. Integrate SCORM Cloud with your existing application to add an LRS to your learning platform.

    Learn more

Questions? Ask us anything.

At Rustici Software, we help hundreds of people each month with their xAPI questions. Many aren’t sales prospects; they just have questions. We’re happy to help. You can ask us anything ‒ really.