Realising the benefits of xAPI
Open badges enthusiast and Learning Pool customer Bob Price from Newport City Homes shares his take on Badgr and its importing capabilities.
The main advantage in supporting xAPI is that it allows us incredible flexibility in how we produce and host e-learning content, and in how we report on Learner activity.
One of our key technology objectives for the year, is to make the production, customisation, and sharing of content between the Learning Pool Authoring, the Catalogue and the LMS a seamless experience for our users, and here’s what we’re doing:
We are building a tracking plugin for Adapt courses and when this is available in Adapt Builder, we can then offer an additional publishing option (alongside the current .zip download), called “Publish for my Learning Pool LMS”. The user doesn’t need to download anything in this case, and will simply need to select their published module via the new LMS activity described below.
2. Our LMS
We will add a new “xAPI” activity to the LMS, which can be added to a topic outline in the same way as any other activity, but instead of uploading a .zip file, the user will be presented with an interface that allows them to search the modules they have published in the Adapt Builder, and simply click on it to add it to their LMS course.
The Catalogue is the piece of the puzzle that links the other two systems together. When publishing from Adapt Builder, the content will become available to that user’s personal subscription, but instead of storing a .zip package, the Catalogue will store a link to an online location where the content can be viewed. It is the Catalogue that the user will be interacting with when searching for their content from the LMS as described above.
Advantages that we’re excited to bring you
When content is updated within the builder and published, that new version will immediately be available on the linked LMS activity – the user will not have to visit their LMS and re-upload, or re-select their content. (This will be optional, and completely within the control of the user – they can choose not to auto-update the LMS activity).
Currently, we only track a few simple activities with our SCORM content. xAPI gives us the ability to track anything we want. We can track a learner’s individual answers to questions, the text they added to an open input question, their results from each and every quiz attempt, and anything else we can think of.
All of this user information is published to a Learning Record Store (LRS), which you can think of as a database of user activity. This is a standalone application and is separate from both the xAPI content and the LMS. Most LRSs have standardised dashboards and graphing of user activity, but beyond that, they have a sophisticated API, that will allow us to easily create things like Leaderboards (showing top scorers on assessments), and to generate learning plans/pathways based on how users performed on assessments, or user self-reporting.
Beyond everything else above, xAPI allows reporting on learning from anywhere, not just xAPI enabled courses. Learning from almost any source can be recorded on the LRS. The LRS can record that a user attended a classroom session, read a book, watched a video on YouTube, and many other things. This data can then be reported on alongside the formal xAPI content published from within the Adapt Builder. SCORM doesn’t go away, of course; it will still be an option for any of our customers who want to continue working that way. But, xAPI is another weapon in your arsenal to ensure that your learners get the best experience around.
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