xAPI: 5 Reasons Why Your Business Should Be Using It

26 June 2018 by Libby Webb

We receive many queries asking about the differences between the [surprisingly still commonly adopted] SCORM and, its modern counterpart xAPI.

People often wonder why it is that they should be embracing the brave new world of xAPI and, dragging their learning initiatives [somewhat kicking and screaming] into 2018 and beyond.

Before xAPI there was SCORM

Sharable Content Object Reference Model includes a set of technical standards which ensure that eLearning content fully integrates with a Learning Management System [LMS].

The ‘Sharable Content Object’ part of SCORM shows that it is all about creating online learning materials which are easy to reuse, share and repurpose. As for the ‘Reference Model’ part, this indicates that SCORM isn’t really a standard. Instead, it references many other existing standards and, informs e-Learning designers how to use them together.

In a nutshell, xAPI can be considered SCORM’s shinier, more effective (and better looking) successor. Less error prone and far more au fait with modern learning ecosystems, xAPI offers a level of reliability, depth of analysis and future-proof application that cannot be delivered by the SCORM model.

What Are the Differences Between SCORM and xAPI?

Although SCORM and xAPI are both common specifications for eLearning content and share a lot of similarities, the features offered by SCORM are much more simplistic than those presented by xAPI.

With SCORM, users can:

  • Track completion
  • Track time taken
  • Track pass/fail
  • Report a single score

Whereas, xAPI does all of the above and then some, including:

  • Report multiple scores
  • Produce detailed test results
  • Work without the requirement of an Internet browser
  • Track informal learning
  • Track offline learning
  • Track mobile learning
  • Track team-based learning
  • Track adaptive learning

Following on from yesterday’s Week 2 summary from our current #LearnxAPI OLX, we wanted to get you thinking about xAPI from a less technical viewpoint and, instead, a more outcome-orientated approach.

The Benefits of Using xAPI for Proving Learning Effectiveness

Connecting Learning Outcomes to Business Objectives

In using SCORM, the data produced would provide you with the simple insight ‘User 1 Completed Task X’. In order to understand the actual impact of said learning task, xAPI enables you to create a strategic plan to collect data which will link learning solutions to business outcomes.

For instance, where can we see a direct link between a users learning journey and their progression within their organisation? What courses are proving to be the most beneficial? Where can you see the most engagement from learners?

It is only then, that your organisation can effectively update its learning content in order to improve both the quality of an employees learning journey but, also witness a bigger impact on business objectives.

Reducing Waiting Times

Regarding the data optimisation of analytics, there are three key processes that occur: Extraction, Transformation and Loading.

When using SCORM, there is often a lag between when a learning activity takes place, when data is created for said activity and, when said data is then accessed.

xAPI can put an end to this waiting game.

By creating a continuous feed to a Learning Record Store [LRS], storing xAPI statements concerning user activity, learning, behaviour and, performance has never been easier.

In turn, this collection of data can help your organisation to identify learning outcomes and thus, develop performance measures.

Facilitating “Learning Occurs Everywhere”

The modern learners wants access to their learning resources whenever and, wherever.

xAPI facilitates the current landscape where “learning occurs everywhere” by allowing users to access their learning platform whilst on the go.

Not only does this benefit the learner who wishes to complete a piece of learning whilst on the train home from work but now, managers can track every aspect of what, where and how modern learners are engaging in learning activity.

Additionally, this can occur without disrupting workflows or, requiring added effort on the part of the learner meaning this is a time effective way of learning and tracking learning activity.

Personalisation of Learning 

In L&D, the Personalisation of Learning offers a more concise experience for learners, enabling them to access readily available recommended content without first having to sift through a load of wholly irrelevant content.

This encourages learners to break free from formal training programmes and, engage with content they are interested in/is relevant to them and their role.

Learners can also personalise their LRS and organise a record of their learning journey exactly as they would like.

Simply put, by implementing personalisation into your users learning journey, you are handing the learning experience back to the learner.

The Reliable Approach

SCORM is now over 20 years old. We can thus consider xAPI to be the more efficient and, reliable approach for instance, xAPI is much less prone to error.

A strength of xAPI is the breadth and depth of the learning experiences it tracks. xAPI statements enable the user [and their organisation] to efficiently analyse the user journey.

Likewise, the xAPI data collected is straightforward enough to implement into the organisations LMS and, even easier to interpret and use the statements it produces.

By facilitating a more efficient and holistic learning learning experience for both administrators and learners, allowing users to engage and reflect on their learning journey , and organisations to closely track  learner progress xAPI has cemented itself as the new standard for forward-thinking organisations.

If you consider yourself a tech savvy individual and would like to learn more about what xAPI can do for you and your organisation, join our ‘Understanding Impact: The Final xAPI Frontier’ OLX.

Alternatively, if you less tech inclined but, still driven to understand the basics of xAPI, you can download our ‘The Learning Technology Managers Guide to xAPI’  for more information.

Libby Webb
Marketing Executive

Libby graduated from the University of Winchester in May 2018 with a degree in Media and Communication and soon after joined HT2 Labs as a Digital Communications Officer.

Following their acquisition in June 2019, Libby is now a Marketing Executive at Learning Pool and with a keen interest in content marketing, Libby’s day-to-day involves blog writing, press releases, case studies and more!

Outside of work, Libby enjoys all things health and fitness related, including long walks and morning swims. Having spent 9-weeks travelling Central and South America before University, Libby is a keen traveller and you’ll often find her planning her next trip with her partner.

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