Evaluating Tools to Your Learning Ecosystem – From Art Werkenthin, Megan Torrance

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Great!

You’ve made the decision and are prepared to move forward with xAPI. You’ve decided you need better information. You know that learning happens outside the LMS and you will need a way to monitor it. You think the analytics which xAPI can give you will improve the way you design and manage learning. You are ready to move forward and build your learning ecosystem. Now what?
You are going to require a learning document store (LRS) for all that xAPI data. Somehow you’ll need to incorporate the LRS along with different systems and possibly your HRIS or a functioning management system.
Unless you’re going to spin this yourself up, you are going to need a vendor or two (or longer ). Can you know that you can trust the answers?
In this article we will offer some help. We are going to give you questions to ask prospective vendors and describe what you ought to expect as a response. Let’s begin!
Question 1
Please describe the degree of your xAPI support. Please provide a system confirmation reference that explains your support.
Ask this?
They ought to have documentation of it, if a vendor has support. Be skeptical of answers like”We encourage all the APIs” or”We can add it if you really need it.”
Question 2
Can you show me some xAPI statements along with your product?
Ask this?
Any vendor that actually supports xAPI ought to be able to show you announcements either generated by their product (ex: authoring tools) or stored in their product (ex: LRS). If they can’t do that, you should walk away. You are in a position to evaluate the kinds of information, if they can. Can it be simplified like SCORM or does it offer a rich insight?
Question 3
What xAPI profiles have been supported by your product(s)?
Ask this?
XAPI profiles are simply a specified set of principles for utilizing statements that are xAPI . For example, if you would like to monitor consumption that is video by your pupils, you will utilize the xAPI Video Profile. Why is this providers? Employing a profile guarantees consistency across goods. If you provide videos from Vendor B from Vendor A and other people, you would like the very same data. This helps to guarantee analytics.
Data recipients (learning record stores) should be able to get data sent with any profile (or no profile at all), but they may have built-in reporting support for information sent with a profile.
Question 1
Do you have an LRS or do I need to have an LRS so as to utilize your abilities?
Ask this?
Some systems have an LRS embedded using the LMS. Because you have just one system, one spot to go for information, this can be a plus. But not everyone can run out and replace their LMS. Luckily there are LRSs available. The downside is that you have two areas.
Question 2
Has your LRS and the ADL conformance test passed?
Ask this?
The Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) is the team that brought us SCORM and xAPI. ADL has developed conformance tests for LRSs. ADL maintains a list of goods which have passed on the conformance tests. If the LRS of a vendor can not pass these tests, then they are not adapting to the specification that is xAPI. You may not need or desire full conformance, but it’s helpful to know this response so you have your expectations in line.
Question 3
Is the LRS data portable forwardable to a different LRS?
Ask this?
A conformant LRS should allow you to port your information to a different one. No point in using that info if it’s locked indoors and you can not get it out either now (for BI functions ) or later (when you move to a new system).
Question 4
How do you manage xAPI on a huge scale?
Ask this?
XAPI systems can make a good deal of information. Regrettably, xAPI is not the most efficient at large scale. So their response will give you insight to their thinking , providers which are doing more than simply experimenting with xAPI have had to deal with huge scale. Additionally you need limiters to accidentally request information that is so much they pull down the system.
Question 5
Are LMS activities recorded as xAPI info?
Ask this?
Some LMSs sending out that to an LRS and are recording all their information. When the LMS does not comprise an LRS, so that your information can be in one area for reporting, you’ll need to get one. You are going to have information in two areas if your LMS doesn’t send information about LMS activities to an LRS.
Question 1
Can printed for xAPI or Tin Can be found in the LMS?
Ask this?
Here is the most elementary level of support for xAPI. The answer should be”yes” because the launch will look very similar to a SCORM launch. Your LMS should support this launch if you have an LMS that doesn’t have an embedded LRS and the xAPI statements should be stored in your stand-alone LRS.
Question 2
Can your product create equivalent xAPI statements to the SCORM info, if I launch SCORM content?
Ask this?
Statements that are xAPI will be generated by some LMSs for SCORM content. Some will just create a”complete” announcement when the SCORM module is completed. However, if this is there isn’t a great deal of value to those offering. Systems will create statements for test questions embedded in your content, which is more useful information.
Question 3
If eLearning printed for xAPI or Tin May and found from the LMS sends back info that goes beyond average SCORM data, is it received and allowed by the LRS? (Example:”remarked”)
Ask this?
If all of the system can do is offer SCORM-equivalent xAPI, then there isn’t much purpose in using xAPI (unless you have an external LRS). The abundant data about what is going on inside the eLearning is one of those value propositions for xAPI. Some of the systems that encourage xAPI discount or (worse) reject information which isn’t on the brief list of verbs they’ll receive. By the way, this means they won’t be able to pass the ADL tests we discussed previously and are non-conformant.
Question 4
For eLearning courses do you utilize the profile?
Ask this?
Cmi5 is for using eLearning in an LMS using xAPI the gold standard. Few LMSs utilize it so don’t take a”no” as an automatic disqualification, but if they say”yes” then you at least know that the fundamental acts of xAPI-based eLearning is going to be managed properly in the LMS.
Question 1
Does the system take inbound xAPI info from sources outside the LMS, assuming they authenticated and are properly formatted?
Ask this?
This is a question for systems where LRS and the LMS are a single product. Among xAPI’s value propositions is the capacity to determine learning and performance activity from outside the LMS. This needs your LRS (where it is) to be able to accept that info.
Question 2
Does the system allow the usage of xAPI info by other learning and performance activities? For example, a performance support tool can determine what learning activities a user has already seen and reaches to the LRS.
Ask this?
Here is the inverse of the question above. Can I get it back if I write information to the LRS? There are many reasons for this particular question. First, so you can compare learning information with information from different 25, you might want to feed information. For example, wouldn’t it be nice to evaluate your learning information about sales training using information from Salesforce, all? Second, finally you’ll want to be able to personalize learning experiences based on information from performance information and additional learning in the LRS.
Question 3
Does the reporting function have access to data stored in the system? Is this limited to SCORM-like activity or can reports be conducted on information such as”commented?”
Ask this?
There’s no point if you can not report on it in storing the information.
Question 4
Can data stored in extensions be accessed from the reporting function?
Ask this?
There. . .but it can be tricky for an LMS to report on it (SCORM LMSs never needed to deal with this stuff). There’s no point if you can not report on it in storing the information.
Congratulations on your decision to proceed to xAPI! As you construct your learning ecosystem, you’ll begin getting better information. You will be able to monitor learning and you’ll get analytics to help improve the way you design and manage learning. We hope the questions and responses provided here will assist in picking the correct tools for your own ecosystem.

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