Experience API: Will it sweep the eLearning nation?

AKA Tin Can

While at the Learning 3.0 conference I had the opportunity to speak with Michael Rochelle of Brandon Hall and Aaron Silvers of ADL on the new emerging Experience API (also known as Tin Can) and have been given great insight.  Experience API is coding that tracks a person’s learning activity even if that activity is housed outside an LMS. An example, would be learning activity game on a moblie phone.  This phenomenon is being talked about increasingly because of the need to track informal learning, especially learning effects taking place on tablets, phones and Internet sites like YouTube.  A big question exists, though, as to where all of these new, informal learning event records are going to be stored.  The ADL is suggesting the creation of a Learning Record Store (a database). This will not replace the Learning Management System (LMS) but it will generate a lot of action on the part of LMS companies.  Look for Learning Record Store (LRS) modules arriving soon.   The ADL is funded by the Department of Defense and was responsible for bringing us SCORM.  Although SCORM 2004 failed to fulfill its promises, SCORM 1.2 was widely adopted.  This time ADL has done it right by not leaving it up to the LMS companies to comply.  The base Learning Records Store code is accessible, thus diminishing the power of the LMS to obfuscate the standard.  Gone will be the battles between content producers and Learning Management companies on what compliance to SCORM means.  The fact that the Defense Department is behind this new interface standard means all managers must watch adoption of this new standard closely.   My caution to eLearning managers is that it will be easier to use the API from the content side than it will be to make sense of it from the storage and report side.  Your IT department will need to accept that the LRS will need plenty of custom programming and IT will need to be comfortable with a LAMP environment (Linux, Apache, My SQL, PHP).  Also, Tin Can or Experience API provides no advice on how you display the data, therefore, a lot of custom work will need to be done on the report side and dashboard side.  So keep in mind this is a very happy place in the future that should show more promise and acceptance than what we’ve seen in the past.

To listen to the full interview click below:

Managing eLearning is written by the Blog team at Web Courseworks which includes Jon Aleckson and Jillian Bichanich.  Ideas and concepts are originated and final copy reviewed by Jon Aleckson.

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  • http://twitter.com/fugu13 Russell Duhon (@fugu13)

    While the ADL’s open source LRS is going to be valuable educational piece of the options available when it is ready, I think it might be useful to mention that both Rustici and Saltbox have cloud Learning Record Stores that can be signed up for and receiving statements in minutes, for people who want to get started now. No knowledge of LAMP or programming required. Saltbox also provides automatic visualization and analysis of the data stored in your LRS, with a number of basic capabilities right now such as score distributions and geomaps, and more every week.

    The future is a wonderful place :)

    Russell Duhon, CTO Saltbox.

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