Most learning experiences (e.g., a classroom course, e-learning module, simulator-based scenario, training exercise) are disconnected from one another. Each typically treats incoming participants like “blank slates,” which limits how experiences can be tailored to individuals’ (or teams’) characteristics and needs. Ideally, learning experiences should be managed as part of a cohesive, career-long continuum that recognizes the learner’s history and acquired skills. This can be accomplished, in part, by sharing relevant data across different education and training management systems, and then leveraging those data at an enterprise level.
However, today’s education, training, and personnel management systems rely on spotty data, which are often locked in unreachable data silos. One way to open these silos is the Experience Application Programming Interface (xAPI) data specification, which enables interoperability among diverse education and training systems. xAPI allows applications to capture and share precise data on learner performance, along with associated instructional content or performance context information.
xAPI applies a human (and machine) readable “activity streams” approach to tracking data and provides sub-APIs to access and store information about context and state of the learner activities. This enables nearly dynamic tracking of activities from any platform or software system—from traditional Learning Management Systems to mobile devices, simulations, wearables, physical beacons, and more.
Here are some examples of xAPI-enabled tracking:
- Reading an article or interacting with an eBook
- Watching a training video, stopping and starting it
- Training progress data from a simulation
- Performance in a mobile app
- Chatting with a mentor
- Physiological measures, such as heart-rate data
- Micro-interactions with e-learning content
- Team performance in a multi-player serious game
- Quiz scores and answer history by question
- Real-world performance in an operational context
xAPI is 100% free, open source, lightweight, and adaptable. It can be used to augment almost any performance assessment situation. It is being used in an expanding array of learning systems, from LMSs and simulator systems to museums and emergency medical services.
xAPI is currently being standardized by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a process that should conclude in 2020. This will make xAPI a full technical standard, enforceable by law if appearing in a contractual requirement.
Since 2011, the ADL Initiative has worked with stakeholders including the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers on projects to continue the development of the xAPI specification and facilitate the enterprise-wide adoption of xAPI within the DoD.
ADL xAPI Learning Record Provider Professional Certification (FY16-FY19)
In partnership with Data Interoperability Standards Consortium, this project aimed to document xAPI and afford users better services and tools to further research and increase adoption. This includes software conformance requirements, analysis related to xAPI usage and tools, proof of concept tools, establishing competencies for working with xAPI, and testing programs for those working with xAPI.
Accredited Learner Record Store (FY20)
The DoD does not have a certified and accredited xAPI Learning Record Store (LRS) to run on its networks. This project aims to develop an LRS in support of the enterprise-wide adoption of xAPI across the DoD and as well as accompanying documentation including a security technical implementation guide. The project will manage the development of the LRS as well as the process for the LRS to be certified. In addition, best practices for accreditation of other xAPI-enabled systems will be developed from this project, as well as recommendations to make future xAPI system accreditation processes more cost and time efficient by clearly outlining the accreditation process.
ALIAS – xAPI Profile Server (FY20)
The Advancing Learning Interoperability Across Systems (ALIAS) effort aims to create an interoperable process for authoring, managing, and publishing profiles using a xAPI Profile Server. It involves establishing, encouraging and distributing best practices, and developing implementation guidance. This guidance focuses on managing and hosting xAPI Profiles on an xAPI Profile Server when individual profiles do not meet the requirements at scale, federating/connecting xAPI Servers, and providing governance to maintain xAPI Profiles. This project will build upon tools used to author individual xAPI Profiles currently available on GitHub. The xAPI Profile Server will support the curation of xAPI Profiles by service communities, branches, or other communities-of-practice, and empower different organizations to find xAPI Profiles specific to their needs. This will allow communities to self-organize and tailor profiles while providing the oversight to ensure best practices and conformance with the xAPI Profile specification and any future DoD data strategies.
More Granular Insight
Open Source Tools from ADL Initiative
- GitHub Tools
Content Examples & Profiles
Adding xAPI to SCORM®
- SCORM® to xAPI Wrapper
- xAPI SCORM® Profile
- SCORM® to TLA Roadmap
- Intro to Developing Web-based xAPI Content
Integrate with the xAPI Community
- xAPI Adoption Working Group
The purpose of this working group is to facilitate the enterprise-wide adoption of xAPI within the DoD by collaboratively identifying and addressing adoption roadblocks. There are approximately 200 members, comprised of 60 agencies including all military branches. The working Group meets third Wednesday of each month from 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EST. For information regarding attending meetings, contact Andy Johnson (contractor). Learn more about other communities and interest groups.
- P92741.1 xAPI Work Group
The purpose is to develop a standard to provide an interoperable means to store and retrieve learning experience data as required by modern, data-intensive learning technologies.
- xAPI Adopters
In response to the growing demand for reference implementations, the ADL Initiative has begun to collect case studies – stories of actual implementations – from adopting organizations. See xAPI Adopters.
- Design Cohort & Resources
An archive of xAPI resources developed by and for groups in the xAPI Design Cohorts.
- ADL xAPI Vocabulary
Vocabulary working group activity that investigates the use of semantic web technology for providing the meaning of xAPI verbs and activity.
- xAPI Profiles
The xAPI Profiles working group builds off of the previous work from the vocabulary working group, and is focused on formalizing the approach and processes for creating and publishing xAPI Profiles, and leveraging JSON-LD for representing profile data.
xAPI Conformance Research & Future Requirements
July 25, 2017
xAPI Profiles Working Group Kickoff Meeting Announcement
March 12, 2017
xAPI: A Year In Review
December 27, 2016