Why use the Experience API (Tin Can) instead of SCORM?

Previously, a learning activity was a very specific object that had to be packaged a certain way and had many limits to the data it could store, and by extension, what an LMS could report about it. In the past, the most common form of learning activity was a SCORM package, and to be fully compliant the content had to be packaged in a particular format so it could be uploaded to a Learning Management System (LMS).There’s no dispute that SCORM was a major improvement over the lawless content formats that came before it, but its rigidness resulted in a number of inhibiting restrictions:

  • Courses had to be accessed through a web browser, even though learning happens everywhere.
  • Courses had to be static, meaning content changes were performed manually then re-uploaded to the system.
  • Reporting was extremely limited, with most courses only reporting a completion status and grade.

Learning activities don’t have to exist on LMS

One of the big differences between the XAPI (Tin Can) and SCORM is the separation of content from the LMS. Placing content outside of the LMS allows us to develop courses with a variety of different technologies for a large number of devices and then only report back to the LMS when necessary.

Not only will package size limitations and server side restrictions be removed, but learning activities will be able to exist on external websites, your computer’s desktop, mobile devices, even the real world! Logically, anything from reading a textbook to attending a seminar is an activity where you learn things so the XAPI (Tin Can) provides a mechanism for tracking real-world activities as well.

A comprehensive view of all learning

For businesses, this means the Experience API (Tin Can) can be used to facilitate mobile learning, record offline training, track social learning as well as all other forms of traditional eLearning that you may already be familiar with. Imagine building a comprehensive record of an employee’s training, both formal and informal, then being able to report on it as a whole.

Imagine doing this for all employees in your organisation and then aggregating the data to build a comprehensive view of the skills and experience of your workforce. You can leverage the XAPI to take advantage of this, and you can do it right now.

Job performance correlation

The Experience API (Tin Can) gets extremely powerful when you take all the learning data above and correlate it with real-world job performance data. Before it was only ever possible to track and report on the progress of an eLearning course, but the openness of the XAPI (Tin Can) standard allows all kinds of data to be placed right alongside your training history.

It’s now all too possible to identify positive learning paths that lead to higher performance, or adversely, weaknesses in a training program that aren’t producing the benefits one might hope for.

This power is placed at the forefront of Clear View. After gathering as much data as possible from training and performance systems, complex calculations and data analytics are performed to highlight the most relevant information to trainers and managers.

LMS vs LRS?

A Learning Management System (LMS) is a central platform for managing all the training in an organisation or educational institution. It allows an administrator to enrol learners into courses, track their progress and generate reports.

The Tin Can API introduces the concept of a Learning Record Store (LRS), but it’s important to recognise the distinction between the two. LRS’ are not intended to replace LMS’, they are simply a subset of the LMS that handles storing & retrieving data recorded by learning activities.