Formal learning experiences (i.e in-person lectures or online course modules) account for only about 10% of the ways students actually learn. The remainder of learning occurs through interactions with mentors and peers (about 20%) and experiential learning (about 70%).
Historically, this limitation has been a source of frustration. Now there’s a way businesses can track as much as 100% of learning experiences.
It’s called xAPI.
What is XAPI?
xAPI allows for deeper tracking of learning. This application is able to track the information learners seek whether that be through the elearning content provided by a company or outside information on the internet. xAPI also makes it easy for learning and development teams to see self-directed learning in action.
The “x” in xAPI stands for experience and represents this software’s ability to capture learning experiences which was not always possible. “API” is short for application programming interface which indicates that xAPI will seamlessly integrate with your learning management system.
xAPI, when integrated with your learning management system, provides a more comprehensive assessment of learning because it is able to track more than conventional AICC- and SCORM-based online experiences. Among other things, xAPI will enable you to track not only classroom learning, but also participation in online communities, the use of support tools, and performance assessment results.
How is xAPI different from SCORM?
SCORM, which stands for Sharable Content Object Reference Model, is a useful tool that enables e-learning courses to communicate directly with the LMS. The data it collects is useful for recording traditional learning activities such as whether learners completed courses, how much time they devoted to each course, and the scores they achieved.
However, SCORM is limited to the 10% of learning that formal learning can provide. xAPI adds in the other 90% of learning because it can track learning that occurs outside of an LMS. The substantially larger volume of data that xAPI provides gives a more comprehensive picture of what users actually learned.
What are the benefits of xAPI?
xAPI effectively tracks a wide range of online and offline learning. It substantially enhances your analytics capabilities, makes integration into any learning management system easy and intuitive, and supports more learning experiences, like gamified, social, and group learning.
Three important benefits to highlight, include:
1. Access a wider range of learning activities: xAPI allows for the interaction with a wide array of objects because it is not limited to tracking just elearning content within the LMS.
2. Enhance analytics capabilities: xAPI creates activity stream data, enabling deeper tracking capabilities. Due to tracking occurring both online and offline, more meaningful learning outcomes are produced and stronger eLearning courses are offered.
3. Track mobile learning: xAPI will track mobile learning experiences, including all learning stats and data. The ability to track mobile eLearning activities substantially enhances the scope of eLearning behaviors and outcomes.
How to use xAPI
Because xAPI has the ability to track a wide range of learning activities as well as collect important data, it is critical to understand how to correctly use xAPI.
Although there are many ways it can be implemented into your eLearning program, two important ways to use xAPI include:
- xAPI is able to track the information learners seek, whether that be through the elearning content provided by a company or outside information on the internet. XAPI makes it easy for Learning and Development teams to see self-directed learning in action.
- Example: A sales representative browses through LinkedIn and reads an interesting article about sales training. If their company is using an xAPI enabled LMS, then they can read the article and add it to their LMS learning records for their manager to see.
Assign external material
- Often, managers want employees to perform research and be up to date on new trends in their industry. xAPI allows for managers to track if their employees complete assignments and examine if anyone is going above and beyond their assigned tasks.
- Example: A marketing manager wants their team to research the latest product updates on competitors sites. With an xAPI enabled LMS, marketing team members can track their research and add it to their LMS for their manager to review later.