xAPI Ecosystem and Tools

One of the goals of xAPI is to enable the collection of data on learning experiences where ever they happen.  This means that the idea of the LMS as the monolithic single source of learning data is going to be blow out of the water.  Ultimately, xAPI will enable organizations to build a learning ecosystem of existing and new tools which are united by a common data structure enabling an understanding of what and how our organizations learn.

NOTE: It is very difficult to talk about tools without mentioning vendors or particular products, so I’m not going to try to here.  Mention of a vendor or a product should not be considered an endorsement.  If a link is to a vendor’s website, it is here because I feel the content on the target page is valuable as a contribution to the understanding of xAPI or as an example.

diigo-logoThese links were created using Diigo, you’ll find my highlights on the pages when you click through using these links.  If you’d prefer, you can go to my original Diigo outliner where I’ve been doing the aggregation and curating of these links.

Impact of xAPI on Organization and Technical Infrastructure

One of the goals of xAPI is to enable data to be collected from various devices, platforms, and tools.  No longer will the LMS be the monolithic source of information on organizational learning.  In the xAPI ecosystem Activity Providers (LMSs, mobile devices, social media tools, on the job tools, training devices, etc.) create XAPI statements which are fed to an LRS.  Data in the LRS can be accessed by or exported to data analytics tools.  In many cases, current tools will be able to be incorporated into the xAPI ecosystem realtively easily.   The LRS is the only required new tool.

…in my Organization – Experience API
Step by step high-level guidelines for deciding how to implement xAPI in your organization. 

new-icon-littlexAPI Drives the Future of LMS: An Interview with Troy Tolle of DigitalChalk | DigitalChalk Blog
JAN 2017 – Great interview that espouses the power of using xAPI, when fully integerated, to enhance what LMSs currently do. So much emphasis with xAPI is on social and informal learning, but there is also a huge amount of information that can be unlocked in formal learning.


Making Future-Focused Platform Decisions with the xAPI
JAN 2017 – Rob Houck and Megan Torrance presented on how xAPI will enable learning organizations to make different choices in design and supporting technologies. All with the goal off better performance analytics. 

Life in a Post-SCORM World Part 2: Courseware Tools & LMS – xAPI Quarterly – Connections Forum
APR 2016 – Megan Torrance answers two questions that often come up regarding xAPI: 1) Can I do this with my current courseware development tools? 2) Can I do this with my current LMS? 

The Choosing Series – ADL Net
Guides to choosing xAPI enabled tools. Click the “Original Page” link right below the title above to go to the page where the link to download appear. There are three documents:

  • Choosing a Learning Management System (LMS)
  • Choosing a Learning Record Store (LRS)
  • Choosing Authoring Tools 

Course Authoring Tools

Trivantis has incorporated xAPI into its Lectora authoring tool very extensively.   Articulate and Adobe are providing xAPI support that reports data similar to SCORM.  To get a full set of xAPI statements from Articulate and Adobe, workarounds are required.  There are links to pages that outline the workarounds below.

new-icon-littleeLearning Authoring: Taking the Next Step with xAPI by Craig Wiggins, Peter Berking, Andy Johnson & Steve Foreman : Learning Solutions Magazine
AUG 2015 – A look at the possibilities of xAPI for authoring tools

xAPI and Lectora: An Introduction – Trivantis Community
A video on how xAPI and Lectora work together. 

Webinar 147: Lectora and xAPI | Trivantis
JUL 2014 – This webinar walks through some of the ways designers can build xAPI into the courses they are crafting in Lectora. 

Publishing Storyline 2 Courses for Tin Can API – Articulate Support
This is an FAQ about publishing xAPI courses from Articulate Storyline2. 

Implementing Tin Can API to Support Articulate Content – Articulate Support
This support article shows what Activity Types, Verbs, and Extensions Articulate supports. It also provides example statements and code for your techie folks to use for testing. 

Adobe Captivate 8.0 and 9.0 | Best Practices for xAPI – xAPI Quarterly – Connections Forum
SEP 2015 – Sean Putnam looks at what xAPI Captivate will publish out of the box and a set of workarounds that can be used to generate more granular xAPI data. 

Uploading an Adobe Captivate project to a Learning Management System
Publishing a course for xAPI is embedded in this article. (Thanks to Diigo you’ll find that content is highlighted if you use this link!) 

xAPI + Captivate (Part 1) – WILL CHINDA Blogs
OCT 2015 – Will Chinda discusses a workaround to make up for the fact that Captivate does not publish full xAPI. It’s complex. 

Captivate Javascript xAPI Customization | Best Practices for xAPI – xAPI Quarterly – Connections Forum
JUL 2017 – Sean Putnam provides a workaround to add full xAPI capabilities to Adobe Captivate. Out of the box, Captivate only supports xAPI statements that match up to SCORM data. 


 The Learning Record Store

The centerpiece of an xAPI implementation is the Learning Record Store (LRS).  In its most basic form, an LRS can receive valid xAPI statements from any number of Activity Providers and/or other LRSs, store those statements, and feed some or all data to external data analysis tools or other LRSs.  LRSs can be free standing, embedded in a LMS, and/or include a learning analytics interface.

new-icon-littleThe Learning Record Store: The First Step Toward the Future of Learning 
MAR 2017 – Succinct thoughts on getting started with xAPI from Nick Washburn of Riptide Learning.

Get an LRS – Experience API
A quick overview of what considerations should influence your purchase of a Learning Records store. 

LRS – What you need to know – at Learning Solutions Conference
MAR 2016 – Megan Torrance and Rob Houck present on considerations on buying an LRS 

Life in a Post-SCORM World Part 3: When will you need an LRS? – xAPI Quarterly – Connections Forum
JUL 2016 – Megan Torrance steps through the process of deciding if/when you need an LRS and provides several lists of questions you should be asking in several scenarios. 

xAPI Test Suite
LRS vendors can validate that their LRS is conformant with the xAPI standard. Those who are looking for a conformant LRS will be able to browse for products here or to verify a certificate of conformance provided to them by a vendor.  

Extending the Learning Data Universe with xAPI

The talk of how we integrate and transition from the current state of learning technologies centered on Course Authoring Tools and Learning Management Systems is necessary.  But the real fun of xAPI is exploring how it will enable data collection from nearly any devices, tool. platform, or app.  Some tools are being built with xAPI incorporated in them.  Others have output data that can be converted easily to xAPI statements.  From mobile phones to Salesforce.com;  LMS to medical training cadaver dummies;  Twitter to Trello;  Slack to GPS tools xAPI brings them all into play in an extended learning data universe.  The following links provide a few examples of what is possible.

new-icon-littleExperience API and RSS News/Podcast Aggregators in Education – Ted Curran.net
FEB 2017 – An argument for RSS New Aggregators to incorporate xAPI in there products to better track learner reading activity.

Cracking The Mobile Learning Code: xAPI And Cmi5 – eLearning Industry
AUG 2016 – The impact of xAPI and cmi5 on Mobile Learning is significant. This article summarizes the details in a white paper by Obsidian Learning and RISC. 

Leveraging Existing Technology for xAPI Data – xAPI Quarterly – Connections Forum
JUL 2016 – Duncan Welder discusses ways you can begin to build xAPI data based on tools that you may already be using (Salesforce, WordPress, YouTube, blogs, your LMS!)

Your Performance Support Doesn’t Speak xAPI? 3 Reasons it Should – Ontuitive
OCT 2016 – Ontuitive says your EPSS should be xAPI capable. 

Zapier (Salesforce, Slack, Twitter, Github, Trello, MATRIX LMS etc.) – Watershed LRS
OCT 2016 – This guide to using Zapier to link to various tools is specific to Watershed, but I’ve included it in the Resource Center as an example of how easy it is to connect various “non-learning” tools to an LRS converting their data to xAPI so that it can be merged with learning data for analysis. Behavior tied to learning outcomes. YES!  

Real World xAPI: The PDF Annotator for the VTA LMS
DEC 2014 – RISC has created a PDF Annotation tool that can provide L&D with reports on student annotation of learning materials. It enables easier revisions and updating based on learner input. 

xAPI Making Sense of Industry and Practice
NOV 2015 – In this presentation, Aaron Silvers looks at the many facets of xAPI implementation. 

twitterI have created a Twitter List of people and organizations that tweet about xAPI.  Please follow it.  If there is someone or an organization that tweets regularly about xAPI, please send me your suggestions (Direct tweet me, use Contact page here at new eelearning, or email me if you have my email.)


Is there something you don’t understand about xAPI?  Questions about something said in one of the above resources? General thoughts on these resources?   Add a comment below.

If you have any ideas on resources you feel should be on this page or in this Resource Center, feel free to use the comment section below or contact me via the Contact page here at new eelearning.

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