Three eLearning Solutions to Pair With an LRS

The Experience API is on its way to replacing SCORM as the standard for tracking corporate learning. But it’s unlikely you’ve had the opportunity to use the Experience API (formerly known as "Tin Can") in your organization.

If you're using an LMS as a repository for most of your L&D data, you're limited to the tracking and reporting it offers. Experience API released version 1.0 in early 2013, but we're still waiting for widespread adoption of Experience API by LMS vendors—although the wheels will likely begin to turn in 2014.

How Is Experience API Different?

True to its name, xAPI (get used to seeing this abbreviation) allows you to track more granular learner experiences and make sense of them. Think big data meets L&D.

Individual actions like Mark watched the sales training video or Linda accessed the Just-in-Time resource PDF are tracked as "Statements" and reported to a Learning Record Store, or LRS. You can track data from all sorts of new solutions, such as mobile apps and games. The eLearning course is no longer the be-all, end-all.

The LRS will then link to your LMS, bringing the data you are used to seeing from your eLearning to its usual location. This is the missing link we are waiting on, as LMS’s must add xAPI support.

How Can I Use xAPI Today?

Two LRS vendors currently stand above the rest, offering a solution that allows organizations to start making use of Experience API: Wax LRS by Saltbox and Watershed LRS by Rustici Software. Both of these solutions offer easy connectivity to Experience API solutions, data reporting and visualization options to help you make sense of the rich data you collect, and easy implementation.

With an LRS, you can start taking advantage of new possibilities in your corporate learning curriculums. I spoke with Ali Shahrazad, co-founder of Saltbox, to learn about the tools Wax LRS customers are currently using with the Experience API. He provided me with a short list of vendors that are currently xAPI-ready.

Articulate Storyline: The popular eLearning authoring tool was one of the first to add Experience API output to its already impressive list of features. Saltbox provides an easy-to-use converter to take Storyline content and make it Experience API-ready.

Knowledge Guru: The game engine is an easy-to-use authoring and publishing tool for creating serious games. Instructional designers do not need to know about game design; they simply choose a game template and populate it with their content.

The games are all designed around three research-based learning principles to maximize acquisition of foundational knowledge, such as product facts and compliance info. The game engine was the first serious game vendor to add Experience API support, and connecting it to an LRS takes only a few minutes.

ZebraZapps: The popular authoring tool by Allen Interactions is a go-to solution for organizations still developing their learning in Flash. It’s a robust, "no code" tool that allows for the creation of courses, serious games, and more.

The tool allows for the creation of customized experiences with about the same know-how a graphic designer would have with Photoshop or Illustrator. Experience API output is, once again, easy to configure.