xAPi, cmi5, IMS CC: the Latest E-learning Standards

Plenty of companies out there are sticking with SCORM for their e-learning needs, but hopping on board with newer standards could really level up the game for both learning managers and learners alike. So, it’s time to get savvy about the ins and outs of each e-learning standard and figure out which one suits your needs best.

That’s where this Journal entry comes in handy. We’ll walk you through the key features, perks, and drawbacks of the top three alternatives: xAPI, cmi5, and IMS CC. Ready to dive in and upgrade your e-learning experience?

The most widely used standard, SCORM, is covered in this entry.

Why Bother with E-learning Standards?

When you’ve got just one course and a handful of users without much need for learning data, the e-learning standard might not seem like a big deal. But for everything else, it’s a game-changer. Choosing the right standard can empower you to track learner progress, gauge training effectiveness, and even personalize learning experiences based on individual interests.

Standards also streamline things for developers, ensuring a consistent design and easy navigation for learners. Plus, they make translation and multi-device compatibility a breeze, saving your organization time and money.

So, buckle up as we explore the standards that can transform your e-learning journey!


Curriculum Development Guidelines

Our team members have been involved in e-learning curriculum development for many years. We’ve helped cashiers and bank employees master their new internal software solutions, insurance company colleagues to ace compliance trainings, employees of a multinational company to learn a new product, and many more. After numerous diverse projects and extensive experiences, we’ve distilled invaluable professional guidelines into 6+1 points.

Read more!

xAPI: the Defining Standard for the Coming Years?

Back in April 2013, the xAPI (Experience API), also known as Tin Can, made its debut. While it took some time to gain traction, it’s now emerging as a go-to choice. Why? Because it’s modern, flexible, and it kicks old limitations to the curb.

As an open-source API (Application Programming Interface), xAPI is a powerhouse. It’s not just about mobile learning; it’s about breaking boundaries. Think advanced reporting, simulations, virtual reality, complex games, and more. With xAPI, the learning experience extends far beyond traditional confines.

Learners aren’t confined to a set curriculum. With xAPI, they glean knowledge from interactions with peers and diverse content, wherever and whenever it happens. These interactions? They’re all fair game for recording. When data needs logging, it’s securely sent to a Learning Record Store (LRS), either standalone or part of an e-learning system. In short, xAPI isn’t just a standard; it’s shaping the future of learning.

The Benefits of xAPI

Extensive monitoring

The beauty of xAPI lies in its structure: it’s all about nouns, verbs, and objects. This setup enables it to capture virtually any activity under the sun. Plus, tracking isn’t limited to the confines of the e-learning system. Whether learners are on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone, their actions can be logged.


Flexible learning pathways

Learning Record Repositories (LRSs) are more than just data silos. They’re interconnected hubs that facilitate the seamless transfer of student experiences. A learner’s journey, captured in one LRS, can easily be passed on to another. Learners themselves can have their own personal repositories. These portable repositories can move with learners, whether they’re switching schools, jobs, or organizations.


Supports all devices, even offline

xAPI opens up a world of possibilities. Any device with the capability can shoot off xAPI messages. Whether it’s a trusty mobile phone, a cutting-edge hardware simulation, a thrilling electronic game, or even a life-saving medical device – no limits. The best: you don’t need a constant internet connection. Occasional hookups will do the trick.


Disadvantages of xAPI

Difficulties in setting up performance measurement

Navigating the realm of performance measures and tracking progress in various learning activities can be a real head-scratcher. Just saying a learner did something doesn’t cut it because it doesn’t reveal the true impact on knowledge or performance.

Unnecessary data

Data without context is like a jigsaw puzzle missing its picture – it’s just a bunch of scattered pieces. Without a plan to connect activity to performance and context, the power of xAPI remains untapped and unvalidated. It’s tough to draw any meaningful conclusions without understanding the “why” behind the data.


When Should You Use xAPI?

xAPI opens up thrilling avenues for tracking and handling training content. It’s not confined to the traditional realm of curriculum development or exclusive e-learning systems. However, if your focus is mainly on crafting standard e-learning content delivered solely through an e-learning system, the additional setup and distinct methodology of xAPI might not be your go-to.


cmi5: a Bridge Between SCORM and xAPI

The cmi5 standard emerged onto the e-learning scene in June 2016. Born from the vision of the AICC, pioneers in e-learning standardization, cmi5 was crafted as an xAPI profile to unravel the intricacies of this dynamic framework.

Here’s the deal: while xAPI boasts versatility across various scenarios, each use case demands its own set of guidelines – called a profile. Enter cmi5, tailor-made for scenarios where learners kick off their learning journey right from the e-learning system interface.

Fast forward to today, and cmi5 has earned its stripes across most e-learning platforms. Compared to its predecessors like SCORM 2004, it’s a breath of fresh air – simpler, more user-friendly, yet still powerful. By streamlining xAPI with specific features and rules, cmi5 strikes a balance, serving as a bridge between the familiarity of SCORM and the innovation of xAPI. It’s a win-win for e-learning systems, offering the best of both worlds.

Is it Worth Choosing cmi5?

While cmi5 may limit certain displayed data in e-learning systems for compatibility, rest assured, all the data remains intact in the background. It’s a perfect middle ground for those eager to harness the power of xAPI without overhauling their entire e-learning setup.

From a technical standpoint, cmi5 is a gem. Despite being a work in progress, it’s already gained significant traction and is fully backed by major curriculum development tools. Unless you have compelling reasons or rigid local constraints pushing you toward another standard, cmi5 stands tall as a wise choice. It’s reliable, widely embraced, and offers a smooth transition into the world of xAPI.

Bite-sized Learning: Easily Digestible E-learning Bites

Bite-sized learning modules are information items that can be used independently. They last a few minutes and focus on a single learning objective. Find out exactly what bite-sized learning is, how it works and how to get started!

Read more!

The IMS Common Cartridge: Still in the Game?

Back in 2008, the Common Cartridge standard was born, courtesy of IMS – a non-profit consortium of educational and commercial entities. Unlike SCORM, it’s not here to compete; instead, it’s all about fostering harmony among various online educational content and repositories.

Think of IMS CC as a bridge, allowing instructors to easily tap into third-party content in a platform-specific format.

With Common Cartridge, managing diverse content becomes a breeze. No more tedious re-uploads or pricey development teams for integration. It streams content in real-time, while letting instructors tweak course materials hassle-free.

From metadata to assessments, web pages to forums, Common Cartridge can transfer it all into e-learning systems, empowering instructors to wield full control over their courses. Yet, it’s not without its limitations; compatibility with curriculum development tools and reporting capabilities may be somewhat restricted.

Is it Worth Choosing IMS CC?

Common Cartridge is your ticket to unlocking a world of third-party content within your courseware. The seamless conversion of SCORM format materials makes integration a breeze.

The catch? When banking on Common Cartridge alone, compatibility is crucial. Before taking the plunge, double-check that all your e-learning tools fully support this standard!


You Need Help?

If you would like to start working with these new standards, but you are not sure whether it is worth starting, contact us and we will help you choose the best solution. Don’t hesitate, even if resources are limited, as expert assistance can lead to significant savings in both time and costs!

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