Tin Can API: A Must for Blended Learning

Learning in the 21st century has become all-pervasive, transcending physical boundaries of a classroom-and-instructor based format. It happens anywhere and everywhere – through a blog or wiki, through videos and presentations, a snippet of information caught on the way to work or even through a discussion with friends. The new era recognizes the importance of informal learning as much as formal learning. A quick word of caution though: this does not mean that we undermine the importance of formal teaching; it simply acknowledges the fact that various other media too can contribute to an individual’s knowledge building.

Tin Can API A Must for Blended Learning

What is the TIN Can API?

Tin Can API or Experience API or xAPI as it is called helps organizations do just this. It allows a Learning Record Store (LRS) to collect both online and offline data about all kinds of learning experiences that a learner has. It provides a simple interface on devices like smartphones, tablets and computers to capture the streams of activities that learners undertake by converting them into simple statements. These statements are in the form of “Noun, Verb, Object”.

How does it work?

When an employee undertakes an activity that may in some way be classified as learning – such as playing a game, reading a book or article, observing another employee perform a task successfully etc., a Tin Can enabled application sends statements to a Learning Record Store (LRS). A typical statement could look like this – “I read a book.” A LRS can be a standalone platform; alternatively it can be embedded within a Learning Management System (LMS) too.Tin Can API basically allows LRSs to communicate with each other by sharing data and transcripts via multiple devices.

The benefits

Since all kinds of devices can be on boarded for learning, with Tin Can API, the scope of learning goes beyond the confines of a traditional LMS and enterprise provided content. Employees are self-motivated to pursue a more diverse set of learning activities, knowing that all those activities are going to be recognized and acknowledged on their social-professional circle.

For organizations who are serious about mobile learning, Tin Can API is the best way forward. This is because course developers can take full advantage of all mobile features such as GPS, magnetometer, accelerometer, compass, camera, gyroscope, etc. to further enhance the learning experience. Mobile devices are vouched for their mobility and portability as employees are out in the field, where a network connection may not be necessarily available. What xAPI does is, it stores the statements as and when they are experienced and ultimately sends them to the LRS when internet becomes available. Blended learning too, is a much more realizable goal with xAPIas it is capable to support learning that starts on one device and ends on another.

References

What is the Tin Can API?

http://tincanapi.com/overview/

Mobile Learning case study

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