If You Are A Learning Architect (#xAPI)
If you are a learning architect, how will you design an ideal learning experience?
- Leveraging ubiquitous technologies for learning opportunities anytime, anywhere => you need “Mobile Learning” or “Seamless Learning”
- Learning-on-demand, Just-In-Time, and Just-For-Me => you need “Performance Support”
- Learning is …a state of play, an experience of flow => you need “Gamification or Game-Based Learning”
- Learning as conversations, connections and participations => you need “Connected Learning supported by Connectivism and Constructivism pedagogies”
- Learners as leaders in their learning journey, they control what they want to do in open learning settings and get advices for the next steps when they need them. => you envision a “Personal Assistant for Learning”
- Learners get different learning paths and remediations adapted to their interactions with the content => that’s so called “Adaptive Learning /Training”
- Everyone has different learning style and habits, learning should be personalized and options should be abundant.
According to a Futurelab report (Daanen & Facer, 2007), by 2020, digital technology will be embedded and distributed in most objects. Personal artefacts such as keys, clothes, shoes, notebooks and newspapers will have devices embedded within them, which can communicate with each other (Daanen & Facer, 2007). This will make learning more ubiquitous and pervasive.
The learning architect is responsible for creating an environment that maximizes the potential for learning for a target group of audience. The work that the learning architect does is strategic, while the learning designer, on the other hand, is more focused on a specific intervention. But both need to consider the whole architecture of learning and development.
IF we want to enhance personalized and diverse learning experiences(like listed above, only to name a few), the only way is to unlock the power of data to spur innovation and improve quality.
The latest learning standard – Experience API, xAPI – was initiated because of the following community needs: (from ADL Andy Johnson)
- Track diverse user learning experiences
- Move beyond the single-learner model
- Eliminate out-of-date technology practices
- Improve or eliminate the content sequencing
- Include tools, guides, and best practices
- Provide clearer instructions and more efficient testing
- Provide a means to expose user data
Although SCORM was successful in meeting the high-level requirements to solve the challenges within Web-based training systems, it was created prior to the widespread use of other learning environments and platforms such as mobile devices, intelligent tutoring systems, virtual worlds, games, and other social networking tools that augment the performance of today’s learner beyond formal training situations. Further, SCORM content was designed to be accessed and tracked via a learning management system (LMS). (comparison of xAPI vs SCORM)
The xAPI gives learners, instructional developers, and instructors the opportunity to track and access data that far exceeds the current capabilities afforded by the SCORM. Learners can learn informally and collaboratively, and also use social networks as part of the learning experience. Learning won’t be tied to an LMS anymore. As outlined on Wikipedia, the xAPI is a “software specification that allows learning content to speak to learning systems in a manner that records and tracks all types of learning experiences,” and not just those launched from an LMS or other isolated systems. The xAPI does not require a learning experience to take place in any particular medium (mobile, desktop, tablet), offline or online, or in any particular system. Often analogized as an open standard for plumbing of learning data, xAPI is only one part of a higher structure – Training and Learning Architecture(TLA).
But, the questions are just starting to emerge. What can you do with xAPI? The Experience API looks at data differently, and opens nearly limitless options in terms of what can be tracked. David Kelly had pointed out there are three gaps for xAPI adoption:
The Design Gap
The design skills of today’s instructional designer do not support building the types of experiences that the Experience API makes possible. Most designers build experiences where content is packaged and pushed to learners. The idea that experiences outside these structured courses have value is something most instructional designers might agree with conceptually, but have no idea where to start in terms of designing experiences or environments that support the full spectrum of learning.
The Technical Skills Gap
For the foreseeable future though, leveraging the power of the Experience API requires instructional designers to either develop coding skills themselves, or to partner with IT departments that may be able to write the code for them.
The Strategic Gap
Yes, the Experience API can track just about anything, but data without purpose is meaningless. The Experience API isn’t a plan; it’s a way that a plan can be better executed. It requires looking at data differently, and asking what types of data we want to collect, why we want to collect it, and what meaningful actions we plan to take based on the data. (To read more: Should Instructional Designers care about the Tin Can API? by David Kelly)
To give a brief remark at the end — “learning design” is an art, but it’s long been limited in a cell; now xAPI sets it free, not only in allowing what it can do and explore, but also in supporting its development with data and evidence so that it’s not flying in the dark.
On the other hand, technologies have changed our lives, our education and training programs, but most importantly, it should be used to give learners agency. Learners should not be a passive role in xAPI tracking plan, make them an active role in xAPI-enabled learning. After all what is absolutely needed isn’t necessarily teaching, but “learning“. That should be remembered by every learning designer.
This is an exciting moment in history.
Working on introducing xAPI to Chinese-speaking communities, Jessie has been working with ADL and xAPI Chinese CoP to plan a series of conversations called “X Talks“. It will connect between international xAPI communities. Before the end of this year there are 10 talks, the invited speakers come from ADL team, scholars, thought leaders and recognized consultants. Let’s talk! (visit xAPI Chinese CoP)
A clear and entertaining introduction for xAPI —