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xAPI Design Cohort, Season 3 Kickoff

By Craig Wiggins • January 13, 2015


I think I can speak for all of ADL Initiative when I say that we’ve been waiting for some time to be able to say that the newest incarnation of the xAPI Design Cohort is almost ready to kickoff.

We’re excited. After the conclusion of last year’s very successful Season 2 – culminating in the xAPI BootCamp – we went back to the drawing board and tried to see if we could improve on what ADL Initiative started back in 2013. We’re hoping that you’ll come to our Design Cohort Season 3 Kickoff meeting later this month.

In the meantime, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Design Cohort – here are some answers.

What is the xAPI Design Cohort?

The xAPI Design Cohort is a 14-week collaborative experience with ADL Initiative. It is a chance for anyone interested in learning technology to get a chance to work on designing and developing for the Experience API (xAPI).

Over a period of 14 weeks, participants work in (primarily virtual) teams use the xAPI to tackle a variety of learning and performance problems. Past design cohorts groups have worked on a variety of problems including:

  • Tracking social media platform interactions (xAPI meets Twitter)
  • xAPI-enabled e-book project (leading to the the on-going IEEE ADB project)
  • Recording learning results of an HTML-based learning module experience (World of xAPICraft)
  • Analyzing expert vs novice software user behavior

…and much more. The entire experience ends with an xAPI BootCamp, where participants meet in person to present their projects to their peers. (Check out the wrap-up from last year’s xAPI BootCamp event.)

Why would I want to do this?

The xAPI is a pretty new specification that provides a new paradigm for tracking and considering learning and performance support events. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of discussion of the specification, but not many hands-on examples and learning experiences for designers and tinkerers. ADL Initiative started the xAPI Design Cohort program to create a low-stakes, low-stress, high-yield environment for people to explore the possibilities of the xAPI.

When/how long does it happen?

The entire experience will take place over 14 weeks. The entire cohort will meet virtually at least once a week, and individual project teams will meet and work at their own pace outside of those meetings. (Usually teams meet virtually at least once a week, but that is up to them. No pressure.)

Is this free?

Yep. ADL Initiative is a U.S. government initiative (meaning we couldn’t take your money even if we wanted to).

What does ADL Initiative get out of this?

So, it’s no exaggeration to say that we think that the xAPI the best thing since sliced bread. That said, we know that a few folks sitting in rooms in Alexandria and Orlando are not going to change the world – well, at least not alone. We need your help. We need your creativity and your insight. More importantly, we want to make sure that the xAPI remains true to its roots as an answer to demands from the learning and development community.

Do I have to know how to develop code?

Nope. We welcome all levels of instructional design and development expertise. The primary aspect of all of this is design.

Let’s say I do know how to develop code, will I have any assistance?
ADL Initiative has a variety of templates and examples available on GitHub that you can pull from (again, for free).

Do I get to keep my work?

Yes, you do. ADL Initiative does not and will not hold any rights to your work. (We may possibly ask you very nicely at some future time if you would like to present your work at an ADL Initiative event, but what you work on is yours to keep and do with as you will.)

How do I get started?

The informational kickoff meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 30 at noon EST. Registration for the cohort will begin that day, and a date for the first group meeting will be set shortly thereafter.

The meeting has concluded, but the Design Cohort is just getting started. Register before Thursday, February 5, 2015!

Can I get some of my co-workers together to form our own team?

Absolutely! While we love to get people to mix it up with other members of the ADL community, working the Design Cohort with colleagues is a good way to get things done that are relevant to your organization.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact me.

Like I said, we’re pretty psyched.