Scale Up the Quality of Massive Open Learning Outcomes
The Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) is the regulator for the social service workforce in Scotland. They provide open source learning resources to the public and ensure the people of Scotland can count on social services being provided by a trusted, skilled and confident workforce.
The resources can be used on computers, tablets or smartphones. To recognize continuous and lifelong learning, SSSC uses Open Badges to certificate learners’ achievements obtained at their own pace. Now they are implementing Experience API (xAPI) to record learning experiences from their platform and other tools they are trying.
I had the pleasure to chat with Keith Quinn to understand their thoughts on using xAPI or data-driven L&D strategy.
Keith Quinn, the Digital Learning manager for the Scottish Social Services Council, has 30 years’ experience in the social-service sector, with 25 of those years spent in learning and development. Throughout his time at the Scottish Social Services Council, Keith has taken on the lead role for the development and implementation of technology-enhanced learning solutions to support workforce development. He has won a number of awards for his works. From his Linkedin page:
I developed the organization’s digital learning design framework and strategy and lead the development of a range of digital learning resources including, tablet and smartphone apps, multi-media online practice simulations etc. I initiated projects on the development of games-based learning products for the social service sector and initiated the development of strategies for the provision and promotion of Open Badges to accredit informal learning, and the release of our digital learning materials as open educational resources.
We have built a public learning portal, called Learning Zone, to whoever wants to develop their professionalism in social services, even in other countries. The learners we are serving are around 200,000. It’s free to use, and we’ve been utilizing and exploring different technologies. Technologies enable new ways to facilitate learning experience and possibilities, such as sound peer assessments and remote coaching through video recording and annotation. The diversified learning technologies (interactive video, digital storytelling, platforms…) demand a new approach to learning design and a new solution to track learning and that happens across applications.
Now we have started the preparation phase of xAPI implementation and will deploy it in a big way next year (2018). Our work usually set a demonstration effect for other organizations. We hope to influence more technology providers to adopt xAPI too.
The first reward of using xAPI is you will get evidence for learning. As a learning designer, I like to know both kinds of evidence of learning journey and behavior changes after learning – how learners apply what they learn, how that learning experience change their practice. xAPI tracking provides insightful data to prevent guesswork.
To evaluate a person’s competency, we need to know what you can do and what you have done. Learning records provide all the pieces of evidence too. We want to integrate xAPI technology and Open Badges for a standardized way to recognize competencies. We have National Occupational Standard with detailed specifications about different workforce skills and performances. We can use it as the best practice data to be integrated with xAPI implementation.
XAPI is one of the great technologies that help L&D achieve something that’s not possible before, and they need to develop new digital learning design strategy too.