Inspired by some of Rustici’s latest “xAPI Mastery” resources, the following guide will help you identify and make use of some tools available for teachers and practicioners of xAPI. The Experience API (another name for it) is a standardized way to refer and track Learning Events, which on the aggregate account for the learner’s Experience.
The basic component of the toolkit is the Learning Record Store, or LRS. It is the database where all Statements (sentences associated to the occurrence of a Learning Event) are collected, ready for analysis. From the perspective of the Data Lifecycle, the LRS is a recurring character.
Starting at the origin, it all starts with a question. Don’t just ask where the data will come from, but “Why are you doing this in the first place?” Attaining a more meaningful goal related to your long-term career or personal mission will keep you focused on what really matters. This will prevent you from “going down” with the ship, a valuable trait in the turbulent world of technology and unsettled discussions about the right student metrics.
Going forward, the story can take many paths, but their deviation can be stacked against the following episodes and tools involved:
Authoring. Moodle is the most popular authoring tool in the world. It can be enhanced with free, freemium and paid tools to cater the vast educational creation market. The challenge remains in the ability of the authoring tool to generate Statements that reflect the way a student accessed the content.
Intervening. Here is where the Open Source LMS truly shines. Moodle makes content accessible to over 100 million learners worldwide and counting. Arguably, it has the potential to make xAPI data generation a standard practice like any other.
Evaluating and Analyzing. The number of analytics tools is widespread (to the point of confusion), and yet Moodle shines again for its elegance at incorporating reporting dashboards. Some of Moodle’s most popular, like Intelliboard and Zoola, offers xAPI compatibility.
Tracking and Storing: Seen as the final stop should not make the LRS be seen as a data cemetery, but a “regroup” station. Evidence outcomes from each process must reflect the ongoing learning taking place from the xAPI-encoded data made available in the LRS.
Perhaps a final tool missing from the kit is not another piece of sofware, but an idea. xAPI is the strongest plea for a learning ecosystem where learning learning can take place anywhere, its evidence is gathered regardless of origin in a standardized format, and is put in the hands of users in an actionable fashion, thanks to intuitive apps that properly track and promote progress in the acquisition of basically any skill.