If you are associated with elearning, I am sure you must have heard about Experience API (xAPI), the latest e-learning standard to have created ripples in the industry.

In my previous blog, I have mentioned what are elearning standards and what are their real benefits. So in this blog let me begin directly with, what is Experience API (xAPI)
and how did it evolve?

Back in 2010, SCORM was about 10 years old and ADL(Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative) the creators of SCORM, wanted to develop a new standard, the next generation of SCORM.

The responsibility was given to Rustici Software, who conducted a research under the codename “Project Tin Can” to develop the next elearning standard. The project concluded in 2011 and the result was Tin Can API learning standards.

I was rather curious to know how did the standard get the fancy name as Tin Can and what were the differences and benefits over SCORM. With a little digging around, I could put together that Tin Can API got its name because it was an interface meant for a two-way communication. It lets different software programs communicate and share information with each other. The official name of Tin Can API is xAPI where ‘x’ stands for Experience.

XAPI was created to track more information about the learning behavior of users than SCORM. For example, while SCORM requires an active internet connectivity and browser/s to access the e-learning, xAPI eliminates these requirements completely, as it is based on the principle that learning can happen anywhere.

In SCORM, learning could be tracked and identified only when a user logs in to the LMS and completes the course. In xAPI tracking of learning can happen outside the LMS as well.

Here I am listing down the major differences between xAPI and SCORM.

Differences                   SCORM           xAPI
Portability SCORM data can be tracked only via an LMS
and is non- portable.

XAPI records data as statements and is sent and stored in a Learning Record Store (LRS).

The LRS is not just designed to store these statements but is also capable of distributing
them to other systems that have support for the xAPI such as LRS, LMS, and other content
management systems.

Hence the biggest benefit is its ability to make learning tracking

Scope of Tracking SCORM can only track a limited number of parameters, i.e.completion/in-completion of an activity, total time spent in course, The pass or fail status and a single score. It gives complete flexibility to the course creators to track whatever data they wish to track i.e any action of the learner can be tracked including a click of a mouse, the answer to a knowledge check etc.
Scope of Tracking various Learning Activities As mentioned in the previous section, SCORM can track only the slides view and quiz pass and
fail parameters.
The biggest difference is the ability of xAPI to capture various learning activities be it simulations, game-based learning, game quizzes etc.
Multi Learner Tracking LMS is able to track details only for a single learner.

LRS is a record store and can track details for the entire team, thus making team-based learning much easier.

Is not possible in SCORM Is possible as the tracking is recorded in the cache and will be uploaded to the LRS when
there is an active internet connection.

With these features, xAPI looks like a very promising standard as it gives immense flexibility to the learners and the power to the course creators to deeply analyze and track the learner’s behavior.

Have you experienced xAPI? We would love to hear your views!