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How xAPI is going to bring "electricity" to learning !
(Presented at Seattle Meetup "vNext" Sept 15, 2015)
xAPI is an exciting new communication interoperability standard that will have a huge effect on all types of learning in the future. It is like bringing “electricity” into your “house of learning”! This presentation will provide an overview of what xAPI is, where it came from, and what it can do to enhance all kinds of learning experiences and outcomes. Topics will also include the underlying technology and features of xAPI and why they represent significant improvements.
How xAPI is going to bring "electricity" to learning !
How xAPI is going to bring
“electricity” to learning!
Sabashiro Beach, LLC
cmi5 Working Group Leader
• What is xAPI?
• Why is xAPI important to learning ?
• What you can do with xAPI
• Major components of xAPI
• Status of xAPI
What is xAPI?
• xAPI (“Experience API”) is a general purpose data
connectivity standard designed for tracking ANY kind of
• Game Consoles
• Workplace environment
• Individual and Group Activities
• In addition to “tracking” (recording), xAPI as can also
provide data to learning activities.
What is xAPI? (2)
• xAPI was developed as a key part the TLA (Training
& Learning Architecture) initiative
• TLA was created by the ADL, an group that supports
US DoD. (The same people who created “SCORM”)
• Facilitate, coordinate and lead the design of a new
model to support innovative learning experiences
What is xAPI? (3)
• There 2 basic parts to the xAPI.
• The Learning Activity and the Learning Record Store
The xAPI model
What is xAPI? (4)
• The LRS is like a database server. The “API” is how
the Learning Activity communicates with the LRS to
read and write data.
• This a “client/server” relationship. LRS is the
“server” and the Learning activity is the “client”.
• The LRS server can also connect with other LRS
What is xAPI? (5)
LRS to LRS communication
Why is xAPI important ?
So, why is xAPI important to
Why is xAPI important ? (2)
xAPI will provide “data
service” all learning
Imagine all the uses of
electricity. This data service
will be that flexible.
xAPI provides the means to
put all learning on the
same “grid” (only this grid
Image Credit: U.S. Department of Energy
Why is xAPI important ? (3)
• So why has this not been done before ? Well it has
BUT, it is rather expensive. (It requires lots of
custom, “one off” work)
• Having a flexible, data connectivity standard to do
this will lower the cost.
• More feature rich learning technology that you can
buy “off the shelf” will be one of the results of xAPI
Why is xAPI important ? (4)
• Imagine having detailed data on learner behavior
for ALL learning experiences in a central location
where you can do extensive analysis.
• Standards really matter ! They can create big
Major components of xAPI
• LRS – Learning Record Store. (The database server
for all learning). The LRS listens and responds to
API requests from the Learning activity.
• The Learning Activity – can pretty much be
anything – a web page, mobile app, or an entire
delivery system. The Learning activity
communicates with the LRS by making API
• Authentication – How clients log into the LRS.
• The API (Application Program Interface). The
commands, data structure, and transport used.
The “Geek Stuff”
And now for the “Geek Speak”….
• xAPI is a RESTful (Representational State Transfer) web
• xAPI allows for MIME binary attachments.
• For authentication, xAPI can use either oAuth or HTTP
And what does THAT mean ?
• It’s “good” (flexible, robust, scalable, and efficient)
• It works well most devices and operating systems
The different “APIs” in xAPI
Statement API – The “important part”. Where the
learning activity records “statements”. Statements
record what the learner did.
Document API’s – Support data for learning activities
• State API – Where the learning activity can record and
retrieve its “state” (anything it needs to “remember” like
• Activity Profile API – Where the learning activity can
record metadata about itself.
• Agent Profile API – Where the learning activity can store
things related to the learner like “preferences”.
The xAPI Statement – “I did this”
•Statements record what the learner(s)
• An xAPI statement has a very generalized
structure that can be extended for almost
any type of learning domain.
• xAPI statements are patterned after
• Imagine the learning activity sending out
“tweets” on Twitter.
The xAPI Statement – lots of room here !
• xAPI Statements follow an “actor-verb-object”
structure like an English sentence.
• Actor = Learner(s)
• Verb = Action Learner(s) performed
• Object = thing that the action was performed on.
• “John mastered fencing”
• “Henry read the operations manual”
(Some of) what’s in a an xAPI Statement
Actor - Who the Statement is about, the learner (or group of
learners). Represents the "I" in "I Did This".
Verb - Action of the learner(s). Represents the "Did" in "I Did
Object - Activity, Learner(s), or another Statement.
Represents the "This" in "I Did This".
Result - Result Object, further details (like score, etc.)
Context - Context that gives the Statement more meaning.
Attachments – MIME (“email type”) file attachments. (e.g.
photo, video, PDF or anything else)
• xAPI version 1.0 was released in 2013. (Current
version is 1.0.2 – minor errata)
• Communities of Practice (CoP) have been formed
to create “xAPI profiles”.
• This will define Verb vocabularies for specific use cases.
(and other things)
• More on this in the next presentation !
Examples of xAPI products
• Examples of vendors who offer currently offer LRS
• SaltBox (WaxLRS)
• Rustici Software (WaterShed LRS)
• Learning Locker (Open Source) http://learninglocker.net/
• Examples of Content Creation tools with xAPI
• Trivantis Lectora
• Articulate Storyline 2
• xAPI is a generalized data service for almost ANY
type of learning (in any domain).
• xAPI will provide the common “grid” that all
learning activities can connect to for centralized
• xAPI uses a set of technologies that robust,
efficient, scalable, and flexible for today’s varied