Minecraft and xAPIcraft (#xAPI)
Very possibly you have heard of Minecraft, or have children who are passionate about it! Search Youtube with “Minecraft” you will get about 84,000,000 results. Minecraft is a sandbox game similar to Lego that allows the user to create a world using blocks, which means it can be shaped or modified to almost any purpose the user sees fit. This popular multiplayer online game has also an educational version created by teachers for learning purposes. It is being used in America and around the world.
What’s the similarity between Minecraft and “xAPIcraft” — ok, we use this term because Experience API, xAPI, makes us think of the virtual world Minecraft. But xAPI is only a software specification to record and communicate learning experiences for interoperability, so xAPIcraft refers to solutions built based on xAPI.
In Minecraft, you mine and you craft(build, create). In xAPIcraft, you mine learning data – evidences of learning moments and connections of dots which make learning happens. And the purpose is to craft an effective learning experience for everyone, you are a learning architect! The Training and Learning Architecture (TLA) enabled by xAPI is the ultimate xAPIcraft.
Minecraft is very open, that’s why it’s so popular. Everyone can modify it and add additional features or experiences to it. xAPI has the openness as well, every statement is like a building block. There are four APIs that support applications and services to be built based on xAPI specification. The possibility of crafting is simply endless.
“The [Experience API].. is the most idealistic, futuristic and flexible of the APIs; its grammar is specifically designed so that developers can collect, move and report types of educational data that haven’t even been conceived of yet.” — from NY Edtech Meetup Showcases New APIs for Data Interoperability and Integration
Activity Streams is the specification from the collaboration between Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others. It’s already used in games to track group/guild activities, and for real time data gathering and analysis. xAPI is modeled after Activity Streams of web technology with modifications to serve community needs. The xAPI has many more defined constructs for tracking information pertinent for the learner. While the Activity Streams spec focuses on the publisher, the xAPI focuses on the learner with captured results such as “score”, “success”, “completion”, “attempt”, and “response”. Similar to Activity Streams, pretty much anything is extendable. Profiles would be created by communities of practice that enforce certain behaviors and taxonomies.
From George Siemens: “The future of systems such as business, government, and education will be data centric. Historically, humanity has made sense of the world through discourse, dialogue, artifacts, myth, story, and metaphor. While those sensemaking approaches won’t disappear, they will be augmented by data and analytics.” (continue to read his update on “Open Learning Analytic“)
xAPI allows collecting granular pieces of learning events from widely-diversified environments, so we can analyze and build learner’s profiles with better resolution, and build better connections to optimize learning for individuals — learning is effective connections of learners and contents, activities. With pedagogy design, it aims to transform learners.
So how can you use the xAPI?
“So some things get invented because it is suddenly possible to invent them.” — Vint Cerf
One example — Use Data Analytics
- Visualize large datasets and make informed decisions
- Plan your learning according to previously travelled “expert” paths
- Track user progress, analyze, and group users to personalize instruction
- Use live data to drive business decisions
- Report data which was not easily gathered previously
- GOAL: Increase PERFORMANCE