LMS, Learning Management System

3 Reasons Why Every LMS Needs Tin Can API Functionality

by Debbie Williams


Every social learning management system (LMS) needs Tin Can API functionality. The trouble is, most people don’t know what Tin Can API is or understand why it’s crucial to successful implementation of an LMS, also referred to as an eLearning system.

What exactly is this strange-sounding thing called Tin Can API? Let’s find out.

<img alt="future tin can LMS different devices"src="https://topyx.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/future.jpg"/>What Is Tin Can API?

According to the article What Is Tin Can API?, Tin Can API “is a brand new specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has (online and offline). This API captures data in a consistent format about a person or group’s activities from many technologies.” With Tin Can API, an LMS user’s learning experiences are recorded in a Learning Record Store (LRS), which can exist as part of an eLearning system, or apart from one.

What Does xAPI Have to Do with SCORM?

Tin Can API is interchangeable with the term “Experience API” or “xAPI.” xAPI is sometimes referred to as SCORM’s successor. (SCORM is an acronym for “Sharable Content Object Reference Model.”) “SCORM is a set of technical standards for e-learning software products. SCORM tells programmers how to write their code so that it can ‘play well’ with other e-learning software. It is the de facto industry standard for e-learning interoperability. Specifically, SCORM governs how online learning content and Learning Management Systems (LMSs) communicate with each other,” wrote a contributor to Rustici Software. Basically, SCORM ensures that any eLearning system can play any eLearning content. Experience API can do what SCORM can do, but has additional benefits. Wikipedia gives a thorough list of the benefits of Experience API:

“The new Experience API allows trainers to deploy several new capabilities that were not supported with SCORM, such as:

  • Taking e-learning outside of the web browser
  • E-learning in native mobile applications
  • More control over learning content
  • Solid security using Oauth
  • Platform transition; e.g. start e-learning on a mobile device, finish it on a computer
  • The ability to track games and simulations
  • The ability to track real-world performance
  • Team-based e-learning
  • Tracking learning plans and goals.”

 These benefits tell the tale that xAPI is superior to SCORM. However, it is a good idea to invest in an LMS that is SCORM certified and has Experience API functionality.

3 Reasons Why Every LMS Needs Tin Can API Functionality

Simply reading the above list of xAPI’s benefits will be enough to convince certain readers that Tin Can API is essential to the success of an LMS. However, others will need more proof.

Every LMS Needs Tin Can API functionality. Why? Because, Experience API…

Tracks learning experiences – Did you know that 90 percent of learning takes place informally, i.e. not through an eLearning system? It’s true. Tin Can API allows users to log their informal learning experiences in a way that nearly any system can comprehend. This helps managers and administrators implement changes that make training solutions far more effective.

Integrates systems seamlessly – Installing a learning management system without Tin Can API functionality can be a pain since xAPI is designed to seamlessly integrate systems. How Will Tin Can Benefit My Organization? stated, “Integrating systems is often a lot of work and cost, but integrating two Tin Can conformant systems can be considerably faster and cheaper. This includes migrating data from old learning systems to new ones.” Those who want an LMS installation and launch to be enjoyable and successful should make it a priority to invest in an eLearning system featuring Tin Can API.

Facilitates blended learning – Online learning is effective; blended learning is even more so. Blended learning fosters experiential knowledge and increases peer-to-peer interactions. It also tends to be more engaging that strictly online learning, thus increasing the chances of employees participating in the costly training their companies provide them with. Company leaders who want to facilitate blended learning should consider implementing xAPI. Tin Can API allows LMS users to record any learning experience—even those that take place on a mobile device, via textbook, or through watching a YouTube video. Any learning experience, traditional or non-traditional, can be tracked with xAPI. This facilitates blended learning in the workplace.

Not All Learning Management Systems Feature Experience API

It’s important to realize that not every LMS comes equipped with xAPI. This specification is relatively new to the world of technology, and not all learning management system developers have adopted it. When choosing an LMS, be sure to seek one that is full-featured and has xAPI functionality. This will ensure two things:

  • That your company’s training is highly effective
  •  That your employees will have a great experience with the learning management system of your choice.

Have you experienced Experience API? In what ways do you feel it is superior to SCORM?

Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing