The learning landscape today is vastly different to a decade ago, even just one or two years. There are many different ways in which monumental changes have been made and one of the most significant of these is how xAPI has influenced learning. The integration of xAPI (an e-learning software specification), for example has changed the way that we can learn and develop.
Learning with xAPI
xAPI enables learning content and systems to communicate with each other so that all types of learning experiences can be recorded and tracked. Effectively, what this creates is a personalised learning system that is detail rich, learner focused and learner led. This is a significant contrast to more traditional learning methods, such as a classroom, where learners have had a much more passive role that has often resulted in lower levels of engagement and success. So, what does xAPI learning actually look like?
An analogy of SCORM vs xAPI
If you can imagine that SCORM, the predecessor to xAPI, is a desk phone, then this can help to know the difference that xAPI makes. A desk phone is hardwired into a system, works exclusively within that system, and can only see, use and record information within this system. Should the system go down, then it can’t be used and would be considered offline.
xAPI, on the other hand, is more like a smartphone. You can choose which network you use it with, use it remotely and offline, depending on your requirements. Just as a smartphone can utilize apps for wider experience, xAPI allows learning within the LMS as well as external social learning resources and tools.
Benefits of xAPI
xAPI is flexible and presents the users with a wider variety of learning opportunities allowing users to decide which approach they would like to use. At the same time, it can enhance learning pace as it doesn’t rely on being at your computer all the time for development. The combination of these points means that it also addresses the different preferred learning styles users may have as well. xAPI can also be effective at helping learners to demonstrate better ROI through the volume and quality of information it sends back to the system for the administrator to report on and analyse. This is in comparison to SCORM which can only send one single, basic message.
For example, should a user take a test and achieve marks of 8/10, SCORM would send a simple message saying exactly that. xAPI would give more information such as the time taken to complete the test, which questions were answered correctly and incorrectly, the time started, the time finished, or any questions passed.
xAPI in the learning mix
There are many ways in which xAPI can enhance the learning mix. Without it, learning can be generic and difficult to engage with – in short, there is less of a return on investment because the impact is narrower. It enables different types of learning such as:
Classroom learning – ideal for the social elements of learning but difficult to personalise. Classroom learning can leave many feeling left behind and drop out rates may be high.
Video learning – an excellent choice where a more visual form of learning is likely to achieve better results. Can be public or private and learners can go at their own pace.
Learning via assessments and tests – some learners have a mental block when it comes to assessments and tests so this may not accommodate all learner types.
Virtual classrooms – much easier to administer than physical classrooms and costs can be kept low. Difficult to enable personalisation of learning content in the same way as xAPI learning.
Enterprise Study’s Learning Management System utilises all the benefits of xAPI learning to offer classroom, video, eLearning, webinars, coaching, mentoring, work based reflection logging, CPD management, for a true 70:20:10 approach to learning.