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Going with xAPI

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From our xAPI Camp at Amazon's Headquarters in Seattle, WA on July 21, 2015. The decision to go with xAPI is an exciting one, but a successful xAPI project hinges on an understanding of what success looks like. In this presentation, I share a number of questions one should ask of technology partners and your own team depending on different ways one might use xAPI.

Published in: Technology

Going with xAPI

  1. 1. Going with xAPI Aaron E. Silvers, Partner MakingBetter xAPI Camp - Amazon July 21, 2015 USE THE TWITTER!!!!! @aaronesilvers #xAPIcamp
  2. 2. (Batman?) Makin’ BAQON since 2008
  3. 3. What exactly is xAPI?
  4. 4. The Experience API is a standard way of talking about our experiences, using data.
  5. 5. The Experience API (xAPI) • Can track many different types of experiences — including things that people do on the web, in mobile applications, with wearables, in classrooms and in workplace environments • Moves beyond a web-based, didactic model • Promotes better design and technology practices • Makes integration with other systems and practices easier • Provides a way to gather and use more useful information.
  6. 6. It answers a lot of ‘How’ type questions… • How can I inform better business decisions? • How do I avoid locking us into a solution? • How can I make investments in learning development last longer and more future-proof? • How can I make sure what I evaluate today is useful in the future? • How will I connect a learner’s activities across multiple applications?
  7. 7. Someone Did Something “Observations” Noun Verb Object (To Someone) (Using Stuff) (With Some Result)
  8. 8. How Does Experience API Work? • People interact with “stuff” 
 (i.e. content, apps, business systems, etc.) • These interactions are observed and described as statements. • The “stuff” sends the statements to a Learning Record Store.
  9. 9. What is a Learning Record Store, or LRS? • It’s a database that stores activity statements - the “data” • LRSs can be software (even hardware) that stands on its own. • LRSs can be a part of data appliances, enterprise applications and learning management system (LMS)
  10. 10. LMS vs. LRS A Learning Record Store (LRS) addresses one capability of a typical 
 Learning Management System (LMS). User Management Learning Records Scheduling Course Management Statistics Grade Book Tracking eLearning Content Storage Search Assignments Sequencing Delivery Preferences Reports Assessment
  11. 11. How do I work with xAPI?
  12. 12. Competencies / Attitudes Systems Thinking Integration Facilitation A Maker Mindset Assume you have permission to tinker Make, maintain and grow useful connections Surface goals big & inviting enough to motivate action Be The Change Interrogate perceived boundary conditions Identify new paradigms supported by both sides of double-binds Inspire others, modeling how to navigate through shifting paradigms “Yes. And..” Augment rather than change discrete systems Seek connections and overlaps that add value beyond the immediate context Help others avoid negation
  13. 13. Who puts xAPI solutions together… • Technology Partners 
 (vendors, consultants, tool providers, etc) • Your Team 
 (stakeholders, team members…)
  14. 14. How xAPI solutions happen… • Use a tool that is built with xAPI, natively, from the ground-up ( “Native” ) • Leverage an existing data source that is modified, extended or translated into xAPI ( “Modified” ) • Build Your Own ( “BYO” )
  15. 15. Native Modified BYO Technology Partners xAPI from ground-up APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI Whatever
 You Want Your Team Balancing wants, needs and sustainability Creating & maintaining middleware Practices, Resourcing & Scaling
  16. 16. Native Modified BYO Technology Partners xAPI from ground-up APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI Whatever
 You Want Your Team Balancing wants, needs and sustainability Creating & maintaining middleware Practices, Resourcing & Scaling
  17. 17. Questions for technology partners If there’s support for xAPI from the ground-up… • What activities are designed?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

  18. 18. Common Needs Social Custom mobile applications Play existing courses Create new courses Track/report progress Off-the-shelf applications integration Testing Competency management See the learner’s journey See content usage Work activities Sensors Simulations Recruitment Compliance activity Reporting
  19. 19. Questions for technology partners If there’s support for xAPI from the ground-up… • What activities are designed? • How are activities tracked?
 
 
 
 
 

  20. 20. “Recipes” • Communities of Practice • Controlled Vocabularies • Domain Profiles
  21. 21. Questions for technology partners If there’s support for xAPI from the ground-up… • What activities are designed? • How are activities tracked? • What data points are in each statement?
 
 
 

  22. 22. Someone Did SomethingNoun Verb Object Context Result
  23. 23. Questions for technology partners If there’s support for xAPI from the ground-up… • What activities are designed? • How are activities tracked? • What data points are in each statement? • How do I input or change endpoint credentials?
 

  24. 24. Prompt Hack Fixed You’ll have a prompt to input one or multiple LRS endpoint credentials. As an example, while there’s a default configuration, there’s JavaScript or other code as an interface that can be amended with knowledge of how the technology works. The technology is in a published or executable- only state (a .exe file, a .swf file — something server side) that makes it difficult if not impossible to change.
  25. 25. Questions for technology partners If there’s support for xAPI from the ground-up… • What activities are designed? • How are activities tracked? • What data points are in each statement? • How do I input or change endpoint credentials? • How does it rely on the LMS or other software applications?
  26. 26. Native Modified BYO Technology Partners xAPI from ground-up APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI Whatever
 You Want Your Team Balancing wants, needs and sustainability Creating & maintaining middleware Practices, Resourcing & Scaling
  27. 27. Questions for your team If considering a tool built with xAPI from the ground-up… • Is what’s baked-in going to be enough? • Does the right data align across tools? • If not… 
 can we support our own unbiased reporting, 
 knowing the caveats?
  28. 28. Data Alignment Example Storyline Lectora Uses a fixed vocabulary to describe a limited set of interactions with xAPI Allows for freedom of expression to describe any interaction (or operation) with an open vocabulary for xAPI.
  29. 29. Data Alignment Example Storyline Lectora “Mark experienced Slide 19.” “Mark read the contents of Slide 19 for 20 seconds.”
  30. 30. Native Modified BYO Technology Partners xAPI from ground-up APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI Whatever
 You Want Your Team Balancing wants, needs and sustainability Creating & maintaining middleware Practices, Resourcing & Scaling
  31. 31. Questions for technology partners If there’s support for APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI… • What APIs does the technology offer? • Of these…
 Can we capture the right activities?
  32. 32. Twitter maps easily, but… • Should we use hashtags for
 for context? • Is location important? • Do we need to track every
 tweet?
  33. 33. Questions for technology partners If there’s support for APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI… • What APIs does the technology offer? • Of these…
 Can we capture the right activities? • What data will fill in the gaps in information we need?
  34. 34. Native Modified BYO Technology Partners xAPI from ground-up APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI Whatever
 You Want Your Team Balancing wants, needs and sustainability Creating & maintaining middleware Practices, Resourcing & Scaling
  35. 35. Questions for your team If considering a tool built for APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI… • Can we get enough from this/these APIs? • How much value will we get from this system? • What resources will we have… • to do custom API development? • to keep up our code with the different specs, ongoing? • to build the translation layer?
  36. 36. Native Modified BYO Technology Partners xAPI from ground-up APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI Whatever
 You Want Your Team Balancing wants, needs and sustainability Creating & maintaining middleware Practices, Resourcing & Scaling
  37. 37. Questions for technology partners If your technology partner will build whatever you want… • What learning experience are you designing? • What interactions are needed to support the learning experience design?
  38. 38. Native Modified BYO Technology Partners xAPI from ground-up APIs or other data sources that can translate to xAPI Whatever
 You Want Your Team Balancing wants, needs and sustainability Creating & maintaining middleware Practices, Resourcing & Scaling
  39. 39. Questions for your team If you can build whatever you want… • What learning experience are you designing? • What interactions are needed to support the learning experience design? • What interactions are needed but don’t evidence or disprove the learning experience? • What recipes exist? • What is the data model and information architecture it should conform with? • What is our ability to support this at scale?
  40. 40. How do I vet technology partners for xAPI projects?
  41. 41. When considering technology partners… • Consider the know-how and investment of those who contribute to the actual spec
 (example: https://github.com/adlnet/xAPI-Spec/graphs/contributors)
  42. 42. When considering technology partners… • Consider the know-how and investment of those who contribute to the actual spec
 (example: https://github.com/adlnet/xAPI-Spec/graphs/contributors) • Consider who can demonstrate xAPI interoperability
 (example: http://tincanapi.com/2015/04/16/tale-three-lrss/)
  43. 43. When considering technology partners… • Consider the know-how and investment of those who contribute to the actual spec
 (example: https://github.com/adlnet/xAPI-Spec/graphs/contributors) • Consider those who can demonstrate xAPI interoperability
 (example: http://tincanapi.com/2015/04/16/tale-three-lrss/) • Consider those who stay current with the spec
 (example: https://github.com/aaronesilvers/IEEE/blob/master/ 2014_State_of_xAPI_Tools_Survey_Responses.csv)
  44. 44. When considering technology partners… • Consider the know-how and investment of those who contribute to the actual spec
 (example: https://github.com/adlnet/xAPI-Spec/graphs/contributors) • Consider those who can demonstrate xAPI interoperability
 (example: http://tincanapi.com/2015/04/16/tale-three-lrss/) • Consider those who stay current with the spec
 (example: https://github.com/aaronesilvers/IEEE/blob/master/ 2014_State_of_xAPI_Tools_Survey_Responses.csv) • Consider those who won’t lock you into one size fits all
 (example: http://connectionsforum.com/case-studies/)
  45. 45. What’s My Roadmap to Work With xAPI?
  46. 46. 1) Describe the Dream • What outcomes happen as a result? • How are people learning or working? • What problems are solved? • How far out is this future? • What might change beyond this?
  47. 47. 2) Define Gaps Between Today and the Ideal • What capabilities exist vs. what capabilities are needed? • What do people “do” vs. what they “need to do?” • How do today’s business requirements match with business goals for the ideal?
  48. 48. 3) Sketch It • What are the workflows? • How do existing tools support the workflows? • What new tools are needed? • How does this model fit with stakeholder expectations? • What are the critical paths and how are they prioritized? • How can this model be simplified/scaled/phased? • What dependencies are inherent? What dependencies are external?
  49. 49. 4) Put a Plan Together • What is the technical approach? • How will the system(s) and/or service(s) architecture work? • What do the interfaces look like? • How will success be defined? • What is the project plan?
  50. 50. 5) Reach Out #xAPIcamp @aaronesilvers aaron@makingbetter.us http://makingbetter.us/

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