Some time ago someone asked me “Danny, what do you think of xAPI?”. My first reaction was  “How much time do you have?”, cause I can talk for hours on this topic. Suggested to stick to some bullet points, and to have an in-depth conversation later on (preferably over some beers). 

For L&D it’s time to take a closer look at xAPI but please look at it from a Learning & Development perspective and not from a technology perspective. Why would you start using xAPI and which benefits could it bring to your employees and as a result to your organization.  

The bullet points: 

  • You will gather more and detailed data about what learners are doing, how they consume content, the learning activities they take part at, what they are searching for and so on. 
  • The data can tell you which content is more or less accessed and how it’s consumed. The data can help you to improve you training programs. Why are some parts of the course not being looked at, heavily looked at, why does everyone complete the course with a 100% score etc. 
  • You will be able to ‘measure’ real engagement as you will have more data than just completions, time spent and score (like with SCORM). 
  • It will allow you to track learning that takes place outside of your learning system(s). I do need to make a side note here as this will depend on the LRS you will be using. You have stand-alone LRS’s but you also have HR/Learning system that have LRS functionalities embedded and not all of them allow you to receive external data from 3rd party systems. 

Some food for thought: 

  • Do your data homework. What type of data sets do you want to collect and for which purpose? 
  • Start to experiment, lots of LRS’s providers have a free version you can use. 
  • Don’t let IT take control of your xAPI project, at least not in the beginning. You can, no you should, involve them once you did your data homework and it’s clear what you want to achieve on the log term.  
  • Bear in mind that there are privacy regulations. Don’t just collect data for the sake of collecting data, define your purpose and communicate in full transparency on this. 
  • Make sure you have a data scientist in your team 

If you want to have an L&D – xAPI – LRS conversation feel free to reach out. For now we can do a virtual one but a soon as the pub’s or open and all is back to ‘normal’ we will definitely have the opportunity meet somewhere.