The short answer is “Yes!” But how and why are the questions that follow. As a reminder, xAPI stands for Experience API, the API part stands for “application programming interface.” An API is a specified way for different applications on the internet to communicate with each other. One application can send a request to ask for some data, and the other application can receive the request and send a response through the API. Many vendors, products, and applications offer their API with documentation of how developers can communicate with their technology. xAPI is a public, open source, community created API that any technology can use, making it so that rather than each technology having its own proprietary API, they are all using the same API — xAPI — to communicate. The reason that this is important is because it means that xAPI is a specification not a standard. While there can be different ways to interpret a standard, a specification means that there is only one clearly defined specified way to use the API. It either is to spec or it is not to spec. No matter where the data is coming from or what is generating it, as long as the data creators (the LMS, the app, the website, the VR game, the system, etc.) and the data receivers (the LMS, the app, the website, the VR game, the system, etc.) and the Learning Record Store (LRS) are all conformant to the xAPI spec, your xAPI ecosystem is interoperable and future proofed! Technology that is xAPI-enabled conforms to the xAPI specification and can communicate to any other tool that is also xAPI-enabled. Therefore, xAPI data stored in the LRS can be called for and then sent to another application or system, enabling communication back and forth in a standardized, secured protocol. Depending on the system, that xAPI data can then be used to do things like be displayed in a dashboard, trigger an intervention event, send a message to a user, or power a recommendation engine based on previous actions and learning pathways.
- Learn more about APIs and how they work.
- Learn more about how to design for xAPI in “Ten Steps to Plan and Communicate Your xAPI Design to a Web Developer.” Keep in mind that this article is from 2014 and the xAPI specification has evolved quite a bit since then!
- Take a look at a few case studies specifically around this question in the article “Demystifying the Connections Between the LMS, LRS, and xAPI.”
- Learn about what conformance is and why it matters, and never ever ever use an LRS that has not passed ADL’s conformance tests. Find the list of conformant LRSs here.