Time: 2:00 – 2:30PM 4/19/2016 twitter.com
April’s Obsidian Chat topic was xAPI. We had xAPI expert Art Werkenthin from RISC, Inc., join us to share his knowledge and insight on the topic. Art is a member of the ADL CMI-5 committee, and is an expert on both xAPI and CMI-5. This has been, by far, my favorite Obsidian chat. xAPI is murky for a lot of folks, and the responses shared were extremely helpful in learning more about the topic.
Q1. What is the purpose of xAPI?
It’s not just to add another acronym to your professional vocabulary. xAPI has real world and real time value.
@AWerkenthin xAPI was designed to capture non-traditional learning activities. E.g. simulations, social learning, gaming, mentoring. You can of course also track traditional elearning with xAPI.
@StephenPVictor xAPI allows you track a lot more learning activities than SCORM does. For example: visiting a museum exhibit, watching a YouTube video, checking into a location. xAPI helps bridge the gap between formal and informal learning.
@DuncanWIV Being able to track any event, application use, control systems data etc provides new capability for predictiv analytics. xAPI data can also help identify just-in-time performance interventions while completing a task.
@JimDHarris To allow data about experiences from multiple sources to be expressed and queried through a standardis vocabulary.
Q2. When should you implement xAPI? When shouldn’t you?
If you haven’t had this meeting yet in your learning organization, you will. Organizations want to know if their learners are… well… learning. That means you should always use xAPI, right? Not necessarily. Sometimes too much data, is just too much data.
@briandusablon tweeted Use xAPI when you want to learn more from the learners than they learn from you.
He also shared this resource for the xAPI security protocol: xAPIsec: Towards an information security protocol for xAPI.
Generally speaking, your learners are going to pick up information from non-traditional learning daily. You can’t capture the results and impact of that learning unless you incorporate xAPI to track the data.
@AWerkenthin If you want to analyze all learning to improve performance, you need xAPI.”
@AWerkenthin also mentioned that you need to plan on which interactions to track, otherwise you are getting a very limited picture.
@DuncanWIV Consider what data you want to track and what you will do with it. Easy to over-collect data w/o considering its use. It’s important to have plan for WHY to collect the xAPI data you collect. Don’t want extraneous (unneeded) data.
Q3. What privacy concerns are there with xAPI?
Who isn’t concerned about their privacy these days? It’s true even when it comes to a learner’s records.
@mpsavage I think privacy rules become critical especially when we track nontraditional learning events. How do we disclose that?
@AWerkenthin explained that these concerns should be addressed, and that you may need sign-off from employees to use xAPI. Essentially, anytime you add new data to track, you should inform learners.
@DuncanWIV Disclosure is critical for success. Learners should be aware of the data being collected.
@willconstantine raised an excellent point as to
What might an organization consider “non-traditional learning” and the extent that it is valid?
Q4. What budget considerations should you have for #xAPI?
Ok, so now you know what xAPI is, when you should use it, and how to protect your learner’s records. But… can you afford it?
@AWerkenthin provided us with a very thorough response
Hopefully your LMS has a built-in Learning Record Store (LRS) or will soon. There are several “free” learning record stores (LRS). Can be hard to setup and may not have needed analytics. Can start w/free LRS and upgrade to paid one w/more reporting. Can copy #xAPI Statements from one LRS to another.
@willconstantine I think it’s also important to try out #xAPI with and LRS yourself so you understand the mechanics. Then share with others.
@DuncanWIV Consider an xAPI project with immediate valuable feedback – use of training materials, access to IoT devices, etc. Can start small & grow from there. Early success can drive future use, help L&D identify more opptys to use xAPI.
Q5. What tools are you currently using to implement #xAPI?
@AWerkenthin led the conversation for this question. We have an LRS built-in to our LMS. We generate xAPI statements in the LMS, as well as our PDF Annotator tool. Can also get xAPI statements from most major content tools now, but they don’t send the best statements. On xAPI Quarterly, can find articles with suggested best practices for content dev tools.
For those interested in our rapid authoring tool, Obsidian Black
@StephenPVictor ObsidianBlack puts courses in #xAPI wrapper. @AWerkenthin is advising us on features to enable building xAPI statements.
Other resources mentioned by our chat participants’ were:
- WordPress (plugins) https://wordpress.com/
- Zapier (@mrdownes ) https://zapier.com/
- Storyline https://www.articulate.com/
- Captivate http://www.adobe.com/products/captivate.html
- Lectora http://trivantis.com/
- @LearningLocker https://learninglocker.net/
- @waxlrs http://www.saltbox.com/
- Learn Dash http://www.learndash.com/
- GrassBlade http://www.nextsoftwaresolutions.com/grassblade-lrs-experience-api/
- SCORMCloud http://scorm.com/scorm-solved/scorm-cloud-features/
Q6: How has #xAPI changed the way you design courses?
Yes, you are going to have to think of how xAPI affects the design of your courses. There’s no avoiding it, but the end result is more measureable data. While many of our clients are not quite ready, it’s definitely something that we keep in mind.
@JimDHarris am starting to think of opportunities in blended/hybrid learning that combines physical & virtual interaction tracking.
@DuncanWIV In designing courses, key to good data is establishing good naming conventions for module ‘pages’ and interactions.
@briandusablon It made me restructure a branched course in Storyline because I wanted to know user path - only by slide title. xAPI allows us to think beyond the course. Beyond standard blended. Into real performance and better feedback loops.
@AWerkenthin reminded us that with xAPI, we can no longer think of courses as individual modules.
@AWerkenthin explained that RISC, Inc. is Def committed to #CMI5. Added to our LMS. We shared free source code showing how to send cmi5 statements from content. As far as I know no content dev tools that’ve released #CMI5 version yet. Several r working on cmi5 version. Also, @rusticisoftware is adding to #SCORM Cloud and their SCORM engine.
Art also provided resource links to read about the benefits of CMI-5:
@mpsavage posed the questions Isn’t #CMI5 too soon? we have not implemented #xAPI yet. What's the advantage? Do we go #xAPI or #CMI5 or both?
@DuncanWIV responded It’s #CMI5 block structure, ability to both read & write from/to LRS that's exciting for instructional design. xAPI has no reference to the LMS. xAPI alone doesn't provide any learning data to the LMS proper.
Q8. Where do you see xAPI and cmi5 heading in the future? Will we ever abandon SCORM and the LMS?
It’s always fun to see what the expert’s forsee happening, especially in this field. We were fortunate to get Art’s take on the future of xAPI and CMI-5.
@AWerkenthin xAPI use is growing at phenomenal rate. cmi5 should be released June 1 and I expect to see growth after that. SCORM is not dead by any means but cmi5 should gradually replace it as user experience is much better. And cmi5 works much better in mobile than SCORM!
We would like to thank everyone that participated in #ObsidianChat this month. This was one of best sessions yet, and we look like to extend a very sincere thank you to Art Werkenthin for lending his expertise.
We look forward to chatting with everyone for next month’s #ObsidianChat will be on May 17th from 2:00 – 3:00pm CST.If you are looking to learn more about xAPI, we invite you to take a look at RISC, Inc’s blog, as well as our blog post “XAPI, CMI-5, And Mobile Learning: What Do You Need To Know?”.
You can also find more information on xAPI at http://connectionsforum.com.