The Experience API (xAPI)

xAPI tracks experiential data and solves problems created by standards.

The problem

ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) was one of the main contributors of learning content online, building industry standards and educating an online community surrounding learning data. A big problem faced by this community was the lack of universal connectivity with LMSs. This, in addition to wanting the versatility of learning data, created a goal in the community to focus on solving the problems that were created by previous standards. How can we track more information to see the data beyond scores? How can we track more than just web- based content?

Services Provided

  • API Development
  • Big Data
  • Compliance
  • Experience API (xAPI)
  • Software Engineering

The goals

The goal was not to solve this problem with another software product. We wanted to allow a worldwide market to be created on top of this learning technology system. We wanted to allow those who needed a custom information collection application to build a spec and an API into their data. Building an API layer over the data instead of just building one focused application creates the ability for multiple applications to be focused on different data. xAPI was created to track the invisible data that was not being collected. It was easy to see when someone receives a high score or passes an exam, but that isn't the only important data to collect. We wanted to track the data behind the score, such as how that person interacted with the testing simulation and levels of learner improvement. Learning content can be anything from sensors to virtual reality, and we wanted to solve the problems created by previous standards and provide compatibility with all learning content.

Our approach

The approach used to create xAPI utilized hundreds of people in an online open source community. With an overwhelming amount of support, several large requirement gathering efforts began. These efforts began to discover and define what people wanted and truly needed to solve the problem. The community wrote specs and our team built on top of those to test functionality. With plenty of refining and testing from everyone involved, the Experience API (xAPI) was finally built.

What is xAPI?

The Experience API (xAPI) lets applications share data about human performance. It lets you capture (big) data on human performance, along with associated instructional content or performance context information (experience). xAPI applies "activity streams" to tracking data and provides sub-APIs to access and store information about state and content. This enables nearly dynamic tracking of activities from any platform or software system—from traditional Learning Management Sys- tems to mobile devices, simulations, wearables, physical beacons, and more.

What can I track with xAPI?

  • Reading an article or interactive with an eBook
  • Watching a training video, stopping & starting it
  • Training data from a simulation
  • Performance in a mobile app
  • Chatting with a mentor
  • Physiological measures (such as heart- rate data)
  • Micro- interactions with e-learning content
  • Team performance in a multi-player serious game
  • Quiz scores and answer history by question
  • Real- world performance in an operational context
  • Anything!

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