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The Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative

TJ Seabrooks iFest Presentation

Addressing Trust & Security for xAPI Based Learning Systems

TJ Seabrooks

Tracking learning events from many disparate sources using xAPI provides opportunities for learning ecosystems to provide new functionality by connecting with systems external to the LMS. Complex learning systems are now able to share these xAPI statements across many systems, acting as the primary data source to provide new functionality such as certification, credentialing, recommendations, and reporting analytics.

In the case of high-stakes training, trust in the authority and provenance of xAPI statements can provide a higher level of confidence in the resulting learning data used to power these emerging learning ecosystems. This trust is provided by xAPI through a powerful, built-in mechanism for allowing Learning Record Providers (LRPs) to issue statements that can be validated for trustworthiness. This functionality is made available through xAPI’s optional statement signatures. Statement signatures allow the LRP to include a cryptographic signature when issuing a statement using existing public key infrastructure (PKI) technology. This signature can be used to verify the identity of the statement signer, providing confidence in the validity of an xAPI statement when received from an LRP or shared by an existing LRS.

During this presentation we will identify and review a set of rules for determining when using signed statements is appropriate and what it enables in your training. We will also demonstrate a prototype that inspects the signatures that have been applied to a set of xAPI statements to determine if those statements can be treated as a trusted source of data when awarding virtual credentials.


TJ Seabrooks has served as Rustici Software’s Director of Products since 2014. He is responsible for setting product direction for Rustici’s eLearning standards-based products as well as managing the software development team. TJ played an integral role in the contribution to two Broad Agency Announcements (BAA) awarded to Rustici Software by Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative (ADL) in 2015 and 2016. As a software developer, TJ was a key contributor to the xAPI specification beginning in 2012. TJ continues to shape the future of Rustici Software’s approach to the ever-changing eLearning landscape.


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