This article deals with practical implementation, but as an introduction, there are 3 reasons I like this article: Provoking Deeper Thinking – Ryan Tracey
- It sequences the concept the right way round. Although we usually refer to it in the sequence 70:20:10, we generally acquire it the other way round, i.e. we start by learning something in a structured environment before moving on to experience and peer discussions.
- It explains the concepts well.
- It presents an honest and qualified view of the importance (or lack of importance) of focusing on the numbers.
So let’s assume we can put the numbers aside and agree that 70:20:10 works in today and our real question is about how to implement it. I’m sure this won’t surprise everyone, but we LMS vendors have less implementation experience than most of you do as L&D professionals, trainers and assessors.
So if its true that LMS vendors have less experience than you, why is an LMS vendor lecturing you about how to implement 70:20:10?
I think it’s less to do with experience and more to do with a different point of view. Making established processes work in cloud applications presents new ways to view and solve problems. Having said that, I’m not advocating a pure tech solution either. As I suggested in my last article, face-to-face training will always have a place. And to be honest, that’s how many of us want it.
The xAPI Approach
In eLearning terms xApi is the successor to SCORM, which is an eLearning platform that enables you to deliver electronic content, have the student interact with a quiz, bookmark their place in the course and transfer tracking and results to a compliant Learning management System (LMS).
Now for the big secret! The limitations of SCORM are the reasons so many of us are dissatisfied with eLearning.
- Interaction is only possible with online quizzes and menu actions that a computer can mark, e.g. multi-choice, fill-in-the blank etc. This greatly limits assessment capabilities.
- SCORM provides no mechanism for team / group activities. Learning is experienced and tracked at an individual level.
- SCORM doesn’t allow for learning experience across multiple platforms and modalities. Basically, you’d have to commence and complete your online course on a single device. And integrating face to face, webinar, social experiences would be excluded.
- Until fairly recently, ALL SCORM content had to be delivered in FLASH which made SCORM courses unsuitable for mobile devices. Today, almost all SCORM authoring tools support HTML 5 and offline mode (disconected from the internet).
Enter xAPI, or the Tin Can Project, as it was dubbed by Rustici Software, the developers of the new standard released in 2013. xAPI plugs many gaps in SCORM. In particular, xAPI can be used to track individual and group learning experiences on-line, face-to-face training and assessment, work-place training, tracks experience across multiple devices, all sorts of interactions.
Video Reference: Introduction to Tin Can API – GP Strategies
The main reason xAPI succeeds where SCORM failed is its ability to track and record learning experiences. LMS Vendors like Bluegem are able to use code in the form of “Statements” to track online, face-to-face, mentoring activities, group interactions, social learning and activities collected across multiple devices.
In short, anything you might want to achieve in a 70:20:10 program can potentially be fully tracked and recorded through xAPI, including the 20% interactivity phase with peers and colleagues, and most importantly the 70% experience component.
But what about Continuous Professional Development (CPD). For many industries this is a vital for a professional to maintain currency in a role or capability, e.g. for Public Safety officers in the fire and emergency services; Financial Planners, and Real Estate Agents, Medical Professionals, etc.
The good news is xAPI can be used to track, assess and verify ALL learning interactions and experiences. So when a learner attends a conference, participates in a refresher course, or is deployed to a significant incident, experiences an online course in LinkedIn; all these activities can be tracked and stored to build a complete picture of learning experiences across multiple contexts.
What about other approaches, non xAPI?
The key benefit of xAPI is that it delivers “interoperability”, the ability for multiple platforms to share in the collection and storage of learning experiences by adhering to a common set of protocols, i.e. xAPI. When the web browser that you use is capable of recording your browsing experiences, storing them as ‘incidental’ or ‘social’ learning on a new type of “LMS” called a Learning Records System (LRS).
Yes it is possible to design student management and learning management systems that can integrate and track both online, face-to-face and blended learning. As you probably know, Bluegem and other SMS/LMS vendors have had this capability for the past 4 or 5 years. These are monolithic systems.
Their limitation is that they only record what happens within the SMS/LMS context . Systems that collaborate on “interoperable standards” like xAPI can share learning experiences across multiple platforms to collate a more complete learner profiles.
But the advantage that xAPI brings is quantum leap ahead of what SCORM delivered in 2001, i.e. the ability of compliant systems and learning content to interoperate effectively across the internet.
So if SCORM could do it in 2001what’s this quantum leap?
SCORM content and learning management systems (LMS) could only interoperate in avery restricted eLearning context. But xAPI has no such limitations. Systems and content can use Tin CAN API Statements to communicate, track and verify ANY kind of learning experience.
Bluegem implements the Tin CAN API – Learning Records System (LRS) hosted by Rustici Software, the inventors of all things SCORM and xAPI
Try Bluegem for one Month | Contact us for a demo | Watch the video.