xAPI development plans for 2014
With 2014 rung in and winter break at an end, we at ADL Initiative want to start the new year out right. During 2013, several milestones were achieved for the Experience API (xAPI), and our goal is to make 2014 even better.
We are hitting the ground running on three areas of importance for our specification:
- Technical Stability
- Conformance Testing
These three go hand-in-hand, and we have laid out the high-level view of how we’ll address each area in the coming year.
xAPI Spec Group The technical stability of the Experience API specification, along with community engagement, are super important. Even though Version 1.0.1 has been out since October 2013, people still need time to adopt it. We're asking our community to continue to work with us to correct mistakes, make necessary clarifications, support desired features, and remove any barriers to implementation. Most of this effort will be accomplished through the spec community's great work with GitHub (https://github.com/adlnet/xAPI-Spec). Still, it's important for us to chat about this monthly, which we will do.
Our first meeting of 2014 was held on January 8; henceforth we will meet on the first Wednesday of every month.
Remember our group is an open forum and you can join our mailing list here: https://groups.google.com/a/adlnet.gov/forum/#!forum/xapi-spec.
xAPI Conformance Testing Group
EDIT – The presentation from this event can be found here.
At the core of a technical specification is conformance testing. Basically, conformance testing is determining who is and who isn't following the requirements of the specification. SCORM® accomplished this with a Conformance Test Suite, which allowed both content providers and systems to test themselves and each other to determine where the discrepancies were and how to work together to correct them. The xAPI also needs this type of tool, and we're going to learn from some of the shortcomings of the SCORM® Test Suite as we develop the new software.
We will have a webinar on 21 January to formally kick-off the project. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved on the ground floor. We need both technical expertise and practical advice. The spec group has laid some of the foundation for moving to a community-driven effort to establish a reliable and sustainable conformance testing tool, but we want to get more perspectives and support.
For those wanting to be extremely proactive, the group will be meeting the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of every month (except in January, when we will meet only on 29 January).
We are taking this approach to reserve slots in case we need to meet more or less frequently. While the Spec Group and Conformance Testing Group are separate in scope, maintaining a separate forum for each seems burdensome for those wanting to monitor both groups. Therefore, we are providing a single link to join the Conformance Testing and the Spec Group forum: https://groups.google.com/a/adlnet.gov/forum/#!forum/xapi-spec
xAPI Design Group 2nd Cohort
The xAPI Design Group explores the kinds of questions that go beyond "Does the code work?" and "Am I conformant to the spec?" The first 9-week cohort was a huge success, and we're hoping to build on that with a second group. Exploring use of verbs, testing types of media and experiences to track, building apps and important middleware, and creating data visualizations are some of the things we explored with the last group. If those or other topics are of interest to you, this is an opportunity to work together to not only further a community of practice around the xAPI spec, but also to shape what a learning experience should be.
Please attend the informational kickoff webinar on 30 January to get more details about the group. We'd love to have any of the cohort #1 participants back – either as full participants again or as mentors. New faces of all backgrounds and areas of expertise are welcomed.
Please stay tuned to GitHub and our website as we update them with findings and samples from the previous group's efforts. We will continue to use the group/mailing list at https://groups.google.com/a/adlnet.gov/forum/#!members/xapi-design for this cohort and all future cohorts.
I hope you are as excited as we are to advance the xAPI in this coming year. Thank you all for your support!