The power of the xAPI.
For over 2 years CDSM’s LMS thinqi has been integrated with Learning Locker, an open source Learner Record Store (LRS). This is our preferred approach to providing our customers and their learners with meaningful insights not just into learning outcomes but also performance outcomes. As a learning technologies specialist, we’ve been working with customers across the automotive sector and public sector fine-tuning our utilisation of the xAPI standard in a way that other organisations may like to know and understand.
Reporting xAPI Statements to the LRS
An xAPI statement can be easily summarised as a statement that contains 3 key elements, an actor, a verb and an object. An example might be: On January 21st Kate read the article “How to Increase Sales” or On March 30th John started the course “General Induction”. The important point is that the verbs can be constructed for specific purposes and are not limited to the big four statements - Completion, Success, Score, and Total Time that were part and parcel of the previous SCORM standard.
L&D Impact and Input
For our customers the biggest realisation has been that adopting xAPI is an L&D discussion rather than a technical one. xAPI integration with an LRS, in terms of programming, is relatively straightforward, however the creation and composition of the right xAPI statements is a more complex task. So our L&D professionals have spent hours asking what statements have the most value and how can they be used to demonstrate learning in a meaningful way. CDSM has worked closely with L&D professionals (as those professionals who a) best understand the L&D business imperative and b) need to prove their success in meeting that imperative) in xAPI statement design. With our understanding of the technology and their understanding of their business, the partnership has been fundamental to the solution. It’s a journey with our customers, and we take it together.
The xAPI allows L&D professionals to construct specific statements that describe learning, learning outcomes and even performance outcomes tracking both formal and informal learning experiences. CDSM is working with some of the leading automotive manufacturers where we’re being as detailed as possible with the statement design in order to capture the learning procedures specific to the industry and thereby to identify, acknowledge and feedback on as many tangible learning experiences within that learning environment.
Reporting on the learner’s achievements remains critical under the xAPI. Under previous standards, this meant a statement similar to the following “Julie Davies completed General Induction with a score of 85%. This doesn’t take into account Julie’s individual learning journey, what else Julie read, watched or did, who Julie spoke to and with whom she collaborated. In effect ¾ of the learning experience was lost. With xAPI all that has changed and we’ve gained a set of human readable statements which paint a far richer picture of Julie and how, what and when she learns. We can capture collaborative learning, peer to peer review, event attendance, workshop performance, trainer interactions and all the informal learning that takes place naturally throughout the course of the working day. What’s not to like? After all ‘data-driven performance’ is the key to improving quality and increasing margins.
More excitingly, we can harness the “Internet of Things” and interact with wearable technology, augmented and virtual reality - all things that thinqi - our learning platform - can do. Consider this in the context of tracking a learner’s pathway from new starter to a fully compliant, competent member of staff. Organisations are no longer limited to binary statements around course completion but can instead draw upon statements from other sources from productivity tools, social media tools and even industry specific tools to create a personalised picture of the learning journey.
Huge Flexibility and Interoperability
So long as the learning content is xAPI compliant and the statements reported to the LRS have been captured, the data can essentially be used in any standard compliant LMS. There’s nothing to say that learning experiences cannot be shared with multiple LRSs. This also makes the data seamlessly transferable and provides learners with great comfort around the ownership of their learning.
There are many innovations that are going to transform e-learning and blended learning design and delivery. Artificial intelligence (AI), collective intelligence are those movements that promise radical transformation in the near future. Technologies that will only be constrained by our imaginations. It is clear to us that the xAPi standard has arrived and is already contributing to a more effective, more sophisticated learning and a development paradigm fit for 21st century learning organisation.