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Why are we still talking xAPI?

September 3, 2019 Shankar Krishna elearning

Global E-Learning market industry is expected to grow from $176.12 billion in 2017 to $398.15 billion by 2026. That beats the GDP growth rates of many countries!

From videos to fully laid out courses, coaching, blogs, blended learning, mobile learning etc. alone made $46 billion USD last year, and that number is expected to increase 3% this year.

But with an exploding number of learning sources with an overwhelming Social media ,the need to harness the learning content from different sources became imperative.

What is xAPI?

According to  xAPi.com

“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.”

It is a game changer for those involved in the elearning industry. With this information, you are able to identify, measure impact and fix potential “errors” in order to deliver the highest effective content to your students or stakeholders.

With this easy access, you are able to track learner’s performance, analyze and personalize future learning content to be more focused and easier to imbibe.

Understanding how your custom learning content impacted your students’ performance and being able to take the data of interactions and experiences and reverse-engineer to improve it, is crucial.

So, as it is still critical, let’s do a quick primer on xAPI

Why choose xAPI?

With xAPI in online training, you can track any learning interventions happening in your online training environment. For instance, multiple test scores, pages viewed, time spent, games and simulations, detailed test results, to name a few.

xAPI captures data from conventional – such as online surveys and detailed data reports-  and non-conventional sources, on how employees have been interacting with the learning content. Having detailed data allows you to plan for future eLearning projects by analyzing what your employees know against what they need to know. This links your digital learning solutions to your desired business goals through greater employee engagement.

Analytics

Data is published in an LRS (Learning Record Store), It can either be built seamlessly in a Learning Management System (LMS) or be a standalone asset.

An LMS with a pre-built LRS offers support to xAPI online training content and also performs the functions of an LMS to manage learning delivery.

A Standalone LRS allows you to track all user experience API learning activities and record, but cannot perform the tasks of an LMS – for example, scheduling training sessions, providing certificates, managing notifications, etc.

Support

xAPI can also be used to provide support to your broader categories of modern-day online learning approaches such as social, collaborative and informal learning, mobile apps, etc.

Learning Data Anywhere Anytime

xAPI offers access to learning content whenever needed. It can be used to track and retrieve data of every aspect of learning activity accessed through tablets, smartphones, or apps. And online and offline.

Easy Integration

Integrating systems are often pricey and take a lot of work and xAPI allows learning technologies to connect to one another.

Effortless Versioning

When your eLearning content is updated and published, that new version gets immediately available on the linked LMS activity. With this, your learners do not have to re-upload or re-select content on the LMS.

xAPI, AICC, and SCORM

This is optional, and completely within the control of a user – they can choose not to auto-update the LMS activity.

Like AICC and SCORM, xAPI is an eLearning technology standard that allows tracking of learning activities for effective interventions. xAPI is gaining ground over its long-established predecessor, SCORM, which fails to address modern-day learning requirements such as tracking anywhere, anytime learning, and expansion of just-desktop-use.

xAPI enables tracking and capturing of learning in almost any context as well, not just in your Learning Management Systems (LMS).

Additionally, xAPI can be configured to make direct links between your employees’ learning experience and on-the-job performance.

With SCORM, the simple data extracted would only display insights such as “Learner Y has completed the course X,” single score, and pass/fail.

Whereas xAPI gives you the ability to track beyond what SCORM offers by capturing nuanced details across Interactive learning, offline learning, blended learning, social learning, mobile apps, team-based learning activities.

xAPI is more relevant now than ever. Greater employee engagement is what is going to drive productivity. With traditional modes of learning hitting a plateau and user ennui, the organization needs to understand and deliver content based on learner behavior, habits and in a form and manner most resonant with the learner. And in non-traditional places – learning happens.

How do you track and quantify it?

xAPI provides accurate information it will help you, in the long run, to optimize your content, in order to achieve a higher amount of success with it. But xAPI adoption rates are still fuzzy. There are still queries on how to connect with it. How do you interpret the volume of data and extrapolate it to create and understand? As with any new technology, there have been early adopters, the middle majority, who I call the- wait- and- watchers and the laggards who have not given it a thought.

But just as a sculptor can architect a piece of stone, the data available needs to be interpreted to make it useful….and that is where Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning comes in…..and that is a whole new topic !!

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