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Archive for the "Ideas" Category

More of the same

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Categories: Announcements, Ideas, News, Standards

Posted 2 February 2016

 

Welcome to week one of the post-acquisition Rustici Software world. I just thought I’d take a moment here to discuss one of the reasons we agreed to sell Rustici Software to LTG, because it’s not all about the money.

Mike and I were seeking investment funding for Watershed, but we really weren’t on the lookout for anything related to Rustici Software. It was a profitable business, I know very well how to run it, and we have several sets of work that give us cause for optimism. LTG, however, saw the value in both Watershed from an investment point of view and Rustici Software from a market and profitability point of view.

After LTG’s first visit, Mike and I asked ourselves two questions.

  • Did we believe that we would be able to maintain our strange and highly-valued culture through an acquisition? Having a place we want to come to work has always been a fundamental requirement for us.
  • Did we believe that we would be able to serve our customers in the way we always had?

Throughout the negotiations, due diligence, and these two long days as an LTG company 😉 we’ve consistently believed that we could do both of those things and still do. LTG is not an LMS provider like some of our prior suitors have been. We always used to worry that an acquisition of that sort might include aggressive interactions with our customers. With LTG, we’re going to continue to be agnostic, supportive of the standards, and generally the same company we always have been. We’re excited about it, and excited about continuing to support our customers and the industry in general in exactly the same way.

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Learning plans, goals and targets are important. Setting goals for learning allows us to evaluate whether or not we are learning the things that we set out to learn. It’s standard practice for e-learning courses and qualifications to have learning outcomes attached to them, and these are used to measure if our learning has been successful. They are also used by educators and trainers to evaluate whether or not their teaching and training have been effective, and are used to inform interventions, further learning requirements and amendments to learning materials and lesson plans.

Learning Goals with Tin Can

Brian Miller touched on the use of sub-statements in Tin Can to represent future plans. The spec puts it this way: “One interesting use of sub-statements is in creating statements of intention.” and gives the following example:

{
    "actor": {
        "objectType": "Agent",
        "mbox":"mailto:test@example.com"
    },
    "verb" : {
        "id":"http://example.com/planned",
        "display": {
            "en-US":"planned"
        }
    },
    "object": {
        "objectType": "SubStatement",
        "actor" : {
            "objectType": "Agent",
            "mbox":"mailto:test@example.com"
        },
        "verb" : {
            "id":"http://example.com/visited",
            "display": {
                "en-US":"will visit"
            }
        },
        "object": {
            "id":"http://example.com/website",
            "definition": {
                "name" : {
                    "en-US":"Some Awesome Website"
                }
            }
        }
    }
}

MORE…

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Statements come from all kinds of places: content created in authoring tools, mobile apps, learning platforms and business systems. It’s not always immediately obvious which application the statement came from, which might be useful to know. This blog explains how you can tag the statements your tool or product generates and why that information is useful.

We’ve worked hard to make the Tin Can (xAPI) spec as clear as possible and have required Learning Record Stores (LRSs) to validate incoming data to ensure the same data structure is always used. There’s no way for statements to be sent to a conformant LRS unless they follow the prescribed data structure, and you’ll find that the major LRSs are strict with the data they accept.
MORE…

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We call it “I call it”

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Categories: Adopters, Announcements, APIs, Ideas, News, Standards, TinCanAPI.com

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:

Understand

 
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.

Get Started

 
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.

Design

 
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.

At a practical level, there’s a guide on statement design, an introduction to recipes for learning designers, and an assignment for you to try out what you learn from the new pages we’ve written.

Developers

 
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.

Webinars

 
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.

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How to share statements

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Categories: Experiments, Ideas, LRS, News, Tin Can, Use Cases

Posted 30 April 2015

 

We recently collaborated on a project to share statements between three LRSs by three different vendors. This three part blog series outlines the project, explores some use cases for sharing statements and then dives into the technical details. You’ll find similar (but distinct) blogs by the other project collaborators on the Saltbox and Learning Locker websites.

In the previous blog in this series I outlined five realistic scenarios in which an organization might have multiple LRS to share data between. This last blog dives into some of the technical approaches to share statements between two LRSs. If you’re looking more for how to set up Statement Forwarding in SCORM Cloud or Watershed, take a look at the News to Me: Statement Forwarding blog too!

how-to-share

One way sharing

One approach is to have one LRS share its statements with another. This means that all statements in one LRS are transferred to another, but any statements already in the second LRS are not transferred back to the first. This can either be achieved by one LRS sending statements to another, or by one LRS querying another for statements.

Two way sharing

An extension of one way sharing is to additionally share statements in the other direction such that all statements in each LRS are shared with the other. This can be achieved by:

  • Both LRSs sending their statements to the other.
  • Both LRSs regularly querying the other LRS to fetch statements.
  • One LRS sending it’s statements to the other LRS and also querying that LRS for statements.

Man-in-the-middle application

It’s also possible to share statements using a 3rd party, man-in-the-middle application that sits outside the LRSs. This kind of application is configured to fetch statements from particular LRSs and send them on to other LRSs. The application doesn’t necessarily store the statements itself, it just fetches them and sends them on to their required destination.

Download and upload

Finally, statements can be between LRSs by downloading the statements as a JSON document from one LRS and uploading it to another. This method is particularly valuable for transferring statements where the LRSs are not able to directly connect to one another due to connectivity issues or security restrictions.

These methods of sharing are outlined in more detail in the whitepaper co-authored by the project collaborators. We’ve produced a screencast demonstrating the project proof of concept in action. You can also attend a webinar where we’ll discuss all of this in more detail!

We hope you’ll find the answer to any questions in the whitepaper, webinar and screencast, but if not, please do get in touch with any questions you have!

 

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