ELC 017: The Limitless Possibilities of xAPI (Tin Can)


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megan-boweAre you hearing buzz about the Tin Can API and wondering what it is and what it can do? Do you want to spread your wings and take advantage of modern technologies?

In this episode, Megan Bowe demystifies the Tin Can API (a.k.a. Experience API or xAPI) and discusses its potential for advancing the learning environment. Megan’s knack for explaining the Experience API helped it become the most successful and most quickly adopted learning technology innovation in the last thirty years. She worked hand-in-hand with innovators and early adopters implementing the specification at Rustici Software, teaciing others and designing products, early content and application prototypes.  In many ways, Megan invented much of what the emerging community of practice advocates around this learning technology. She continues the charge today at Making Better.


  • How SCORM started and it’s limitations
  • What the xAPI offers to designers and learners
  • What an API is and what it does
  • The beauty of the Learning Record Store (LRS)
  • Systems that can create and use xAPI data
  • Using xAPI for tracking and sharing your own learning or for creating a portfolio
  • Innovating with Learning Locker
  • Use cases for xAPI (getting insights in so different ways)
  • How to combine Tin Can and Open Badges
  • The big picture view
  • Getting started with xAPI

TIME: 33 minutes

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Download the ELC 017 Podcast Transcript


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  1. John Hoffer says

    Very informative. Loved hearing some of the practical application of xAPI. looking forward to visiting the sites mentioned and reading more about the innovation possibilities with the technology.

  2. Taras says

    The best immediate application would be in the opposite direction. Lesson creators can add feedback and conditional messages to understand how learners use their content. This will not only allow designers to improve lesson modules overall but, with help from LMS, also create real-time differentiated instruction logic beyond just modalities. A/B testing anyone?

    As with any API – the power comes from useful domain-specific functionality of an interface – not simply exposing raw data. Defining interesting verbs is where the value will be (REST vs SOAP approach in software for example). Assessment side of things is especially interesting here.

  3. John Hoffer says

    Tara, I agree. Implementors will have to find ways to leverage the data by planning ahead and capturing data in a useful way. Whether for improving eLearning or perhaps even tools usage as was discussed in the podcast, if all you do is capture some half thought out pieces of data, the whole concept will be of no real use.

  4. Dave U says

    Very informative for this relative newcomer to the online learning sector! Thanks Connie and Megan.


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