Well it's the end of 2019 and xAPI has been around for almost 10 years (started by Rustici Software as Project Tin Can) and was seen by some as the answer to the limitations of SCORM. So, what has happened in those ten years and why isn't xAPI bigger than it is?
What is xAPI anyway?
xAPI stands for experience API. It's a specification for tracking activities that people do, not just in formal training or elearning but through experiences outside the formal environment (the informal learning). For example you can capture anything that people do to improve their capabilities, like watching a Ted Talk or a YouTube video, reading a book on marketing, taking an offline course or any other interaction you can think of. The real power is how much more you can track besides just a completion of training, and the data analytics that can help shape your training solutions. Imagine, what you could achieve with data like this, shown below?
Data from Watershed LRS based on my own experiments with xAPI.
Why isn't xAPI popular?
I'm sure there are many out there who are using xAPI that would argue against my point here, but in my experience organisations just don't care enough about the data to make the investment in xAPI research, let alone the small fee for a LRS. When I have presented the possibilities of xAPI, many state their excitement and seem to be impressed with the idea of using it, but when hard pressed it's only providing informational learning or simple completion stats that they want.
So, are we getting a little bit lazy when it comes to providing the best outcome for our employees, or is it still just ticking that box and passing the audit, in place of truly improving capability. I, for one, would like to see xAPI overtake the learning landscape. Used in conjunction with AI, we could reshape the way learning and development works in all organisations... or maybe I'm just a dreamer.
For those using xAPI already or planning to in 2020, I'd really like to hear your opinions on this!
I'll be writing more about this topic throughout the year and sharing my personal xAPI experiences. If you don't know much about xAPI, get in touch and I'll point you in the right direction: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year!