Blog

How xAPI is changing learning as we know it

Tincan, xAPI

 

As learning becomes increasingly digitized, the need for a reliable interoperability standard and specification has never been so great. Enter Experience API (xAPI) – the standard that’s quickly occupying the space once held by SCORM. With xAPI, Project TinCan is creating a firm foundation for the future of e-learning. Now, professionals in the fields of HR, L&D and education have the option of capturing previously unthinkable volumes of data, along with highly effective analytics options that firmly connect learning with business outcomes. Let’s look at some of the ways in which this incredible new technology will continue to shake up e-learning in 2019 and beyond.

Back to business: Linking learning with business outcomes

For years, L&D and HR professionals have struggled to precisely define the value of various learning and e-learning activities in real business terms. While very few would argue that learning has no business value, it’s never been easy to say exactly what that value is in real monetary terms. With xAPI, we finally have some clarity and tangible facts to put this discussion to rest. xAPI pools data from across your company’s business process management systems (enterprise resource planning, HR management, property management, customer relations management, etc.), so you can see exactly where learning content is making an impact. Now, you can track where your learning activities are paying off in terms of real-life performance improvements.

We’ve always believed that there is a direct link between learning, behavioral change and business performance. Now, we can prove it and even put a dollar amount on it! xAPI lets you measure the true financial value of your company’s investment in learning. That way, you know exactly what your learning activities mean to your company’s business success.

Deep tracking: Learner behaviors and engagement

Before xAPI came along, SCORM gave us the option of tracking learners’ test scores, course completion rates, drop-out rates and other quantitative factors. This gave us a basic sense of how effective a course or piece of e-learning content was. However, xAPI provides a far deeper tracking experience. It gives educators the power to track every action a learner takes. xAPI shows us where learners are engaging with the content through mouse-clicks, comments and other onscreen actions. This enables us to tweak course design and present content in the most effective ways possible, based on the factors that are really driving learner engagement. On the business side of things, xAPI also gives the most realistic view of the cost-effectiveness and ROI of specific course design choices.

Beyond the screen: Tracking informal learning behavior

With xAPI, tracking doesn’t end as soon as the learner signs out of an e-learning course or exits the LMS. xAPI allows you to see what learners are engaging with even outside of the employer’s network. It tracks their online activity so that every interaction can be transferred to a learning record store (LRS). This opens up entirely new possibilities for L&D professionals to understand and cater to their learner's needs and preferences.