The LRS, the LMS, and xAPI
For most organizations, the learning management system (LMS) has typically been the central hub of learning and development. As technologies and processes organization-wide have become more modular, learning ecosystem design has also shifted.
The LMS often still serves as the center of formal learning activity, but informal and blended learning activity have become increasingly important in workplace learning. From articles and videos accessed independent-
ly through a digital portal or on your mobile device, to team-building in-person training sessions, a modernized Learning & Development team sees that everything you do at work is a curated part of your professional learning experience.
With xAPI, the data about those experiences can be passively captured in real time and stored in an LRS, providing organizations with a data-driven foundation for their learning ecosystem.
While not all LRSs provide a manager interface, the Yet Analytics xAPI LRS provides an analytics dashboard and automated visualizations that allow you to see your data in one comprehensive view. With interactive visual analytics, you’ll be able to find patterns, identify outliers, measure the value and determine the impact of different programs and people on your business goals and KPIs.
Keeping that in mind, here are some popular configurations for designing the infrastructure for your xAPI-powered learning ecosystem with an LRS.
LMS + LRS
Sometimes the best place to start is the easiest place to start. Many LMSs already produce xAPI data or have plug-ins that allow you to connect data from your LMS directly to an LRS. This will allow you to see more granular insights and specific activity data from your LMS, like repeated attempts, changed answers, media interaction, and branching choices. That way, as your people are working through a course or content journey in the LMS you can see their patterns of activity in the LRS’s data dashboards in real time. You’ll then be able to analyze how that activity relates to and impacts their performance in LMS assessments. Connecting your LMS to an LRS will provide you with high- er resolution data about your learners’ individual experiences, analysis of trends shared by your learners across the team, and an auditable data log of all the activity of your learners for compliance documentation.
LMS + LRS + CMS
At the next level, the value of xAPI data interoperability becomes very powerful and allows you to connect the learning experience from different resources into a single view. For example, let’s imagine that you have formal learning activity happening in your Learning Management System, things like assigned courses, required webinars, and other standardized training opportunities, and then you also have a Content Management System (CMS) where team members can access specific content or video resources on-the-job when they need it. With xAPI, you can connect the story of these formal, informal, and summative learning experiences in your LRS, and then triangulate the impact between these different opportunities on the outcomes of your employee training programs.
And because xAPI also allows for “push and pull” data communication, performance triggers and alerts can be passed between systems. For in- stance if a team member scores below a certain requirement on a performance assessment in the LMS, the LRS could be set up to alert the manager and automatically trigger the CMS to send remedial content to the team member. These types of notification alerts for key performance indicators that rely on experience data from across systems are a capability unique to an xAPI-powered learning ecosystem and LRS.
LRS + LMS + Simulations + Micro-learning + Performance Assessment + Your Other Tools
There are many ways that your learning ecosystem already extends beyond your LMS. Depending on the size of your organization, you may use mobile apps, micro-learning content, soft skills simulation games, communication platforms, annual compliance training, sales performance tracking tools, several assessment programs, or have multiple LMSs. No matter how many different resources and tools your team members use, xAPI is the key to making all that data speak the same language.
Because xAPI is a data interoperability specification, data from any kind of system can be xAPI-enabled; bridges, plugins, and data translations can bring nearly any kind of data into xAPI format so that the data can be stored and analyzed alongside other experience data in an LRS. With the ever increasing number of tools and resources that your team members use, xAPI is the key to future-proofing your ecosystem and making sure that the investments you make today, tomorrow, and three years from will be compatible.
Additionally, an enterprise quality LRS will provide not only the data warehouse component, but will also provide you with data dashboards and automated visualizations, pre-built integration bridges, and a systematic process for bringing data into the LRS. An enterprise LRS partner like Yet Analytics will have multiple deployment options, customizable levels of service, and will be certified conformant by the Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative, guaranteeing the interoperability, compliance, and security of your LRS.
Designing for Modern Learning
The modern learning ecosystem is by nature and necessity both dynamic and modular. Changes and improvements in programs, technologies, and content require a learning and training ecosystem to be agile and flexible to meet the needs of diverse learners in any organization. The LMS is no longer the sole source of all learning content and assessment – training experiences are now delivered across an array of tools and technologies to team members with the need for 24/7 access to information in a when- they-want-it, where-they-need-it modular learning ecosystem.
xAPI provides new opportunities for measuring the effectiveness of training programs and also provides access to granular cross-source experience data that can help shape content creation and delivery. xAPI data can pro- vide your L&D team with the proof points to optimize your team members’ success as individuals and your organization’s return on investment in learning, demonstrating that your training and workforce development initiatives have a critical impact on every area of your business.
Connecting your L&D data with the analytics capabilities of an xAPI LRS like Yet Analytics will help you make your people data actionable in ways that will have a lasting impact on your business and transform the way you demonstrate the importance of employee training and development to leadership.
Thanks for reading! Want to share this with your team? Access the downloadable version. Interested in learning more? Visit the Yet Analytics blog for more resources like this.