What is xAPI?

xAPI (or the Experience xAPI) is an IEEE approved standard (IEEE 9274.1.1-2023) 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.

Learning is happening everywhere. Collect the experiences that matter.

Previous specifications were difficult and had limitations (see xAPI vs SCORM), but xAPI is simple and flexible and 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 be recognized and communicated well.

It’s important to know that we don’t own xAPI. IEEE is the steward of the standard.

How does xAPI 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 xAPI.
  • 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 xAPI

  • Statement freedom: the structure of “statements” using nouns, verbs and objects lets you record almost any activity. Think: “I did this.”
  • History freedom: 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 xAPI 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 standard here.

xAPI 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:

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 xAPI 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.

Read more

Want to find out more? Use the links below to dig deeper…

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.