ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning) is 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 could we track more information to see the data beyond scores? How could we track more than just web- based content?
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 Systems to mobile devices, simulations, wearables, physical beacons, and more.
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
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.
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.