- Get Started
- Write Code
Posted by Tim Martin
Posted 20 August 2015
On August 13th, 2015, we launched a heavily revised version of tincanapi.com. Andrew Downes has been working away, as he does, creating new content. Rather than direct it all at the blog, though, he’s been rethinking and restructuring the core site and sharing his insights for first-timers, learning designers, learning product vendors, and organizations. There are countless other updates laid out below. Please spend some time with them.
Many readers of the site, though, will likely notice a significant change to our handling of the name… tincanapi.com. Years ago, Mike shared our perspective on the name, that we were going to call it Tin Can API. For some, this has been a contentious issue. With the new site, we’ve made the site behave as we have been personally for a long time. We call it whatever you call it.
On the site, you’ll notice a toggle in the upper left. If you prefer to call it Tin Can, do so. If you prefer xAPI, that’s great too. Whether you visit tincanapi.com or experienceapi.com, the site will present everything to you using your prefered name.
It comes down to this: arguing about an API’s name simply isn’t productive. We have far more important things to accomplish together.
So please, enjoy the new content. Go build a brilliant activity provider. Make some statements. Or ask us for help if you need it.
Here are the new sections of the site:
The existing Tin Can Explained page gives a really helpful introduction to Tin Can if you’ve never heard of it. We’ve brought this section up to date a little and added some pages around the different components of the new enterprise learning ecosystem that Tin Can enables. We’ve also added pages targeted specifically at organizations, learning product vendors and vendors of products outside L&D.
By now, if you haven’t heard of Tin Can and got a basic understanding, you’ve probably been living on mars. These days, the question we get asked most isn’t “what’s Tin Can?” but “how do I get started?” If that’s your question, then good news – we’ve created a new section just for you!
The get started section includes pages targeted at product vendors, content authors and organizations. It includes guides to help you see Tin Can in action, get a Learning Record Store (LRS) and run a pilot project in your organization. There’s a collection of pages to help you think about moving on from SCORM, too.
We already had a bunch of resources for developers, but not much really aimed at learning designers. We’ve added a page outlining the impact of Tin Can on learning design, including reflections on a handful of learning models and theories in the light of Tin Can. If you’re thinking more at the strategy level, we’ve got a page on incorporating Tin Can into your learning strategy, too.
The developers section was already crammed full of resources. We’ve tidied these up to make them easier to find and created an interactive statement explorer page to help you understand the structure of the statement.
The statement generator we created a few years ago was due for an update and ADL recently published a new more comprehensive statement generator. We don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, so we’ve taken the ADL tool, made it orange and included it on the site.
To help you put all these resources into practice, we’ve created a series of challenges for developers to try out writing code for Tin Can.
The previous webinar list contained embedded YouTube videos for all our webinars. We’ve got so many webinar recordings now that it was getting hard to find webinars on specific topics so we’ve created a new categorized webinar list. Each of the webinars is now on its own page, making it easier to share the recording with other people.
Posted by Jeffrey Horne
Posted 11 June 2015
On June 2nd, 2015, we were part of a joint webinar presented by Bersin and CUES. As usual, the attendees had more questions than we could answer during the live webinar, so we’ve posted the questions and Andrew Downes’ answers here.
Name of Answerer: Andrew Downes
Answer: Tin Can allows for learners to be identified by email address, Open ID or an account on some system, such as an LMS. For privacy reasons, a hashed version of the email address can also be used. In practice, most implementations either use email or an LMS account id. Activity Providers always need to know who a learner is in order to send the LRS data about that learner, which can either be done by having the learner log into the activity provider, or some kind of launch/single-sign-on process.
It’s possible that different Activity Providers might use different identifiers for the same person, for example accounts on different systems or different email addresses. In this case it’s important for the LRS to have a record of all the identifiers that relate to a single person. Activity Providers can request this information from the LRS if they need it (and if the LRS gives them permission).
Posted by Andrew Downes
Posted 7 May 2015
I’m super excited about the latest recipe we’ve published on the registry! Not only is it a great recipe tackling an important use case, but it was written by adopters who needed it for a real project. It was written incredibly rapidly, going from first draft to ready-to-try in less than two weeks. This blog gives you the details.
Sometimes when I talk to people about recipes, they’re disappointed to hear that there isn’t yet a recipe for the use case they are interested in. “Don’t worry!” I always console them, “You can write your own.” TES took that advice to heart and one of the first things they did after hiring a developer to take Tin Can further in their app was to draft up a recipe covering the events they wanted to track. In this case, attendance at events such as meetings, classroom sessions, conferences, etc.
The actual recipe can be found here in the registry. The recipe is split into ‘Simple Attendance’ which uses a single statement to record that a group attended the event, and ‘Detailed Attendance’ which is used to record more events such as scheduling, registering, joining and leaving. It’s envisaged that some recipe adopters will implement only Simple Attendance whilst others will compliment it with the nuances captured by Detailed Attendance statements.
The bulk of the recipe was written by Sean Donaghy of TES. I helped by reviewing each iteration and making a couple of edits where it was faster to make the change directly than write up an explanation. I’m very happy to help anybody who wants help with reviewing a recipe they’re working on.
This first release of the recipe is considered an alpha version. Aside from the TES developers who are busily implementing the recipe in their product, nobody else has tried the recipe yet. There are likely some changes to come as implementers run into challenges we couldn’t predict. If you do implement the recipe, we really appreciate your comments and feedback. You’ll use the recipe ids (http://xapi.trainingevidencesystems.com/recipes/attendance/0_0_1#simple and http://xapi.trainingevidencesystems.com/recipes/attendance/0_0_1#detailed) as a “category” Context Activity so that when you upgrade to the final release version of the recipe you can easily identify which statements used which version.
Recipes are really important to ensure your statements can be understood by other tools. If you’re working on a Tin Can project and neither following nor writing a recipe, please do get in touch so I can help you.
You can expect this to be the Year of The Recipe for Tin Can. We already had the Open Badges recipe last month and there’s a few more in the works that will pop up as the year progresses. Watch this blog for more news sometime soon!
Posted by Andrew Downes
Posted 9 April 2015
Our January webinar reviewing how eight companies are using Tin Can (xAPI) has had a lot of attention. In this blog series, we refresh your memory of what each company is up to.
Luminosity by CM Group is a great example of a relatively traditional system that’s implementing Tin Can beyond just ticking the “Tin Can conformant” box on the RFP. If you want more from Tin Can in your LMS than simply replacing SCORM, then this blog is for you.
The release of the Tin Can specification happily coincided with CM Group’s development of their mobile first cloud based LMS: Luminosity LMS. Tin Can was an excellent fit as it simplified their development, allowing them to move away from SCORM which they found was difficult to work with on disconnected mobile devices.
Tin Can also enables Luminosity LMS to track all kinds of experiences inside and outside of the platform. This means organizations can compare training data to performance and really measure the benefit of their learning experiences. Luminosity LMS can track PDFs, classroom attendance, YouTube videos, web page views and much more.
CM Group have also used Tin Can to facilitate a number of their core platform features such as gamification, and improved reporting and analytics. For example, at Learning Technologies in London this year, CM Group CEO Tim Buff showed a mobile application that included a leaderboard benchmarking learners against their peers. This leaderboard was quick to develop, Tim told me, because they already had access to the required data via Tin Can. Features like this help to motivate Luminosity’s learners to work hard and get ahead of their peers.
Luminosity LMS’s Tin Can support is enhanced by two other CM Group products: Luminosity Studio, an authoring tool with ‘Tin Can’ publishing option, and Luminosity Mentor, a mobile app that can play this content. The really exciting thing about Mentor is that not only does it allow detailed offline tracking of Tin Can activities, but of any activity available on the app. This includes PDFs, non-offline-enabled Tin Can packages and even SCORM packages that have been downloaded onto the app from the LMS.
Customers using the Tin Can enabled features of Luminosity LMS include Microsoft, Telefonica O2, Now TV (Powered by Sky) and Deloitte. Microsoft managers received an app on their mobiles that delivered content and quizzes. Managers achieve points for these quizzes which feed into the leaderboard I mentioned above. Telefonica O2 use the app to scan QR codes to record attendance at face to face sessions.
You can catch the full recorded webinar at tincanapi.com/webinar alongside the slides and Q&A.
Posted by Jeffrey Horne
Posted 7 April 2015
On Tuesday, March 31st, 2015, we hosted a webinar about nine practical use cases of the Tin Can API (xAPI). As usual, the attendees had more questions than we could answer during the live webinar, so we’ve posted the questions and Andrew Downes’ answers here.
Q: LRS is learning XXX system? quick definition please
Q: what does LRS stand for?
Q: how does an LRS differ from an LMS?
A: Learning Record Store. There’s a great explanation of what an LRS is and how it differs from an LMS here: ../learning-record-store
Q: I’m in the US…and I’m not familiar with the way Andrew is using “bespoke”.
Q: What does “bespoke API” mean?
A: From the Wikipedia definition of bespoke: “altered or tailored to the customs, tastes or usage of an individual”. Many products and systems have an API that’s specific to that individual system. If you want to integrate with that system, you need to tailor-make an integration with that system and you won’t be able to re-use that work with another system. The point of Tin Can is that you can do the integration work once and it will work with any Tin Can conformant system. MORE…