Access xAPI: Beyond the Hype

Every professional has tools that are unique to their trade. Farmers use tractors, doctors use stethoscopes, and accountants use spreadsheets. The tools we use not only shape the work we do, but also affect the way we think about the work we do. They change the way we solve problems in our particular field.

A relatively new tool has emerged within the field of instructional design. Experience API (otherwise known as “Tin Can” or xAPI) is a technical specification for learning technology that allows instructional designers to collect data from various sources about their learners into a single location. From there, instructional designers can work with data analysts to figure out what works best for their learners and redevelop their curricula in a way that takes into account the needs of their learners. This iterative, data-driven approach to instructional design results in a better learning experience for users.

In this white paper, we define the basic terminology, history, and functionality of xAPI from an instructional design perspective. We also explore four case studies which highlight the usefulness of xAPI in instructional design and provide a number of potential use cases for various stakeholders.