What is a Learning Record Store?

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 it as the central store.

The LRS, as defined by the xAPI standard, 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, it 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 its most basic function is to store and make the xAPI statements available.

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. It 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.

What is an integrated LRS?

An integrated, or sometimes called “headless” LRS, is simply an LRS where you store xAPI statements – there is no dashboard or reporting interface. One may be a good fit if you have statements that are coming from somewhere other than a traditional course, you want to build your own reporting interface or you want to send statements to a preferred BI tool.

Expanding 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. Learning Record Stores 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 a Learning Record Store 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 stored xAPI data.

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 integrable, 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.