What is the Experience API?
The Experience API (or xAPI) is a new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has (online and offline). This API captures data in a consistent format about a person or group’s activities from many technologies. Very different systems are able to securely communicate by capturing and sharing this stream of activities using xAPI’s simple vocabulary.
Previous specifications were difficult and had limitations (see xAPI vs SCORM), but the Experience API is simple and flexible. It lifts many of the older restrictions. Mobile learning, simulations, virtual worlds, serious games, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning, and collaborative learning are just some of the things that can now be recognized and communicated well with the Experience API.
It’s important to know that we don’t own the Experience API. ADL is the steward of the specification. We just know this space so well that ADL asked us to help develop it. The Experience API is community-driven, and free to implement.
How does the Experience API work?
- People learn from interactions with other people, content, and beyond. These actions can happen anywhere and signal an event where learning could occur. All of these can be recorded with the Experience API.
- When an activity needs to be recorded, the application sends secure statements in the form of “Noun, verb, object” or “I did this” to a Learning Record Store (LRS.)
- Learning Record Stores record all of the statements made. An LRS can share these statements with other LRSs. An LRS can exist on its own, or inside an LMS.
The freedoms of the Experience API
- Statement freedom: the structure of “statements” using nouns, verbs and objects lets you record almost any activity. Think: “I did this.”
- History freedom: the Experience API allows LRSs to talk to each other. LRSs can share data and transcripts with one another, and your experiences can follow you from one LRS (or organization) to another. Learners can even have their own “personal data lockers” with their personal learning information inside them.
- Device freedom: any enabled device can send Experience API statements (mobile phones, simulations, games, a CPR dummy, the list goes on). A constant network connection isn’t necessary — occasional connectivity is fine.
- Workflow freedom: tracking learning events doesn’t have to start or end in an LMS, it can start wherever the learner is and on whatever device they choose to use. Your content isn’t tied to an LMS.
I want to dive deeper
And if you already know that you want to leverage the Experience API but need deeper technical assistance, our team is here to help. Ask us anything. Really. You can also view the full Experience API specification here.
The Experience API and Rustici Software
ADL, the keepers of SCORM, issued a BAA asking for ideas for the next generation of SCORM. We applied, and they asked us to research what the next-generation eLearning specification could/should look like. We then began gathering information about what the next evolution in the eLearning specification world should be into these main buckets:
- Our daily contact with Rustici Software customers
- The LETSI SCORM 2.0 white papers
- A list of existing ADL requests
We called this process Project Tin Can because it was meant to be a two-way conversation between us and the eLearning industry. We not only realized the standard, we wrote it. Now that it’s in the community’s hands and actively developed by many developers and businesses, we are more engaged than ever. See the evolution of the xAPI spec here.
We are helping people solve hard problems and working with the community to make the standard the best that it can be. Our minds are being blown daily, and we like it. We welcome the opportunity to make this better with you. If you have a question about xAPI, we can help.
Want to find out more about xAPI? Use the links below to dig deeper…
- “The Layers of the xAPI Onion” – What does xAPI let you do?
- Evolution – the evolution of Project Tin Can
- Webinar recordings – a collection of webinar recordings introducing xAPI
Or are you ready to move on and find out why you should adopt?
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.