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Authoring Tools vs SCORM vs xAPI

The advent of xAPI has sparked a buzz in the eLearning community, causing some to question the relevance of their SCORM investments and authoring tool utilization. This article clarifies the distinction between Authoring tools, SCORM, and xAPI, and offers a brief overview of their integration.


What is an authoring tool?


An authoring tool is software that enables you to easily create engaging lessons and quizzes with a user-friendly interface featuring all necessary options on the front. It provides the capability to create slideshows, and incorporate multimedia elements such as video, audio, and images.


The 5 most used eLearning authoring tools are:

  1. Articulate 360 (Rise 360 and Storyline 360)

  2. Adobe Captivate

  3. iSpring Suite

  4. Lectora Inspire

  5. Elucidat

These tools offer a variety of features such as multimedia integration, drag-and-drop functionality, responsive design, and more, to help create engaging and effective eLearning content.


What is SCORM?


SCORM (Shareable Content Object Reference Model) is a set of technical standards for e-learning software products. It defines how online learning content and learning management systems should communicate with each other and provides a common method for packaging and delivering educational content. SCORM aims to ensure that e-learning content can be reused across different platforms and systems.


The authoring tools used in eLearning all support SCORM exports, however, they are not restricted to just this format.


This means that while they allow you to export your eLearning content in the SCORM format, they also provide other options to export your content in various other formats (like HTML), enabling greater flexibility and compatibility with various learning management systems. This provides you with the freedom to choose the format that best fits your needs, ensuring seamless integration and easy deployment of your eLearning content.


What is xAPI?


xAPI (Experience API), also known as Tin Can API, is a newer, more flexible and versatile standard for tracking learning and performance data in the e-learning industry. It provides a way to capture and track various types of learning experiences, including not just formal e-learning content, but also more informal experiences such as job shadowing, social learning, and virtual reality simulations.


What is the difference between xAPI and SCORM?


The main difference between xAPI and SCORM is the scope and capability of their tracking and data collection capabilities.


In summary, while both SCORM and xAPI provide a way to track e-learning data, xAPI is a more modern and flexible solution that can track a wider range of learning experiences and is not limited to a single platform or LMS.


Is all your SCORM content useless now?

No, your SCORM is not useless. SCORM is not irrelevant because of xAPI, but xAPI has expanded the capabilities and functionality of e-learning technology beyond what SCORM provided.

While SCORM only focuses on tracking and reporting the completion of e-learning courses, xAPI can track all types of learning experiences and data, both online and offline. This makes xAPI more flexible and applicable to a wider range of use cases.


However, SCORM is still widely used and supported in many Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and e-learning platforms, and it remains a popular and familiar standard for e-learning content development and delivery.

In summary, xAPI has expanded the possibilities of e-learning technology, but SCORM is still widely used and relevant in the e-learning industry.






How does xAPI work with SCORM?


xAPI (Experience API) and SCORM can work together in the e-learning industry. xAPI is designed to be compatible with SCORM, and it is possible to track SCORM-based e-learning content with xAPI.


When xAPI is used with SCORM, the SCORM content is packaged and delivered as usual, but xAPI statements are sent to the LRS (Learning Record Store) in parallel with the SCORM data. These xAPI statements contain additional information about the learning experience, such as the learner's interactions with the content, their progress, and other relevant data.

This allows for more comprehensive and flexible tracking and reporting of the e-learning experience, as xAPI can capture data beyond just the completion status of a SCORM course. The xAPI data can then be used to generate reports, analyse learner performance, and drive personalized learning experiences.


In short, xAPI works with SCORM by supplementing the traditional SCORM tracking and reporting with additional data and insights about the learning experience, providing a more comprehensive and flexible solution for e-learning.


How does Articulate 360 work with xAPI?



Image Source: Articulate Website

Articulate 360 is a suite of e-learning authoring tools that can be used to create interactive and engaging e-learning content. Articulate 360 can work with xAPI to track and report on learner interactions with the e-learning content created in Articulate 360.


When using Articulate 360 with xAPI, the e-learning content is packaged and delivered as usual, but xAPI statements are sent to the LRS (Learning Record Store) in parallel with the content. These xAPI statements contain additional information about the learner's interactions with the content, such as the learner's progress, scores, and other relevant data.

This allows for more comprehensive tracking and reporting of the e-learning experience, as xAPI can capture data beyond just the completion status of a course. The xAPI data can then be used to generate reports, analyse learner performance, and drive personalized learning experiences.


In short, articulate 360 works with xAPI by supplementing the traditional tracking and reporting of e-learning content with additional data and insights about the learner's interactions, providing a more comprehensive and flexible solution for e-learning.


How does xAPI work with HTML?


xAPI works with HTML by allowing developers to send statements from an HTML-based application to an LRS (Learning Record Store) using JavaScript. These statements, which follow a specific syntax, provide information about the learner's interactions with the HTML application, such as which pages were visited or what actions were taken. The LRS then stores this information for reporting and analysis. The xAPI standard allows for a high degree of flexibility and interoperability, making it possible to track learning experiences across a wide range of devices and platforms.


Does xAPI replace Authoring tools?


No, xAPI does not replace authoring tools for e-learning content creation. xAPI is a specification for tracking and reporting on learning experiences, not a tool for creating interactive e-learning content.


Authoring tools, such as Articulate 360, Captivate, Lectora, and others, are still needed to design, create, and package e-learning content. xAPI simply provides a way to track and report on the learning experience beyond just the completion status of a course, by capturing data about the learner's interactions and progress.


In short, xAPI and authoring tools serve different purposes in the e-learning development process. Authoring tools are used to create e-learning content, while xAPI is used to track and report on the learning experience. Both are important components in the e-learning technology landscape.

We hope this article was insightful. We would like to hear your thoughts and experiences with the different tools. Please leave us your comments.



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