Week 1 proved very fruitful in helping me level set on some basic xAPI knowledge. And with that knowledge I was now really antsy and wanting to start collecting and creating my own statements. As one member of my cohort put it: “I want to get out of the abstract and get into the doing!”. I couldn’t agree more. So in week two that became my mission. Here is what it took.
Step 1: Get an LRS ….for free
I learned pretty quickly that I’m dead in the water without an LRS. Seeing that I’m really investigating this on my own , spending money to get the tools I need to give this a go was not an option. Fortunately, the search was quick in finding a basic LRS I could get use of for free. A simple google search gave me some great solutions:
-Tin Can’s SCORMcloud – This was just what I needed. It’s a cloud-based hosted LRS option, meaning I don’t need a server for the LRS. They also offer a free version, very limited in storage, but great for running prototypes and experimenting! Perfect. Setting up an account was very easy. And having gained some experience with LearningLocker, I knew what to look for once I was in SCORMcloud.
Step 2: Identify which learning tools generate xAPI statements
To actually begin this quest, I needed to decide on my goal. Where did I want to focus? Who would be my learners? I decided to settle on using myself as the “experiment”. And It would be an experiment in capturing informal learning. Seemed like a really easy place to start.
First, I knew that Curatr, the application the MOOC was hosted in, generates xAPI statements. I’ve already seen some of my own in Learning locker (the LRS the MOOC is sharing those statements to). So there’s one tool.
But, I have also been doing a lot of searching on the internet and read various eBooks, blogs, and other material on the web. Knowing that this is a big part of my informal learning journey I wanted to capture it. After messing around with some different google searches, I was finally led back to Tin Can’s site where I found a bookmarklet I could add to my browser to generate xAPI statements for web browsing activity. Only downside with this solution is it is user generated, meaning I have to remember to “click” it in order to capture my activity. Not a biggie for me, but could be some trouble if I was dependent on other’s doing this. Also, it only offers four verbs to use, but it’s a start.
Step 3: Hook up my learning tools to the LRS
Again, the MOOC really set me up to be successful here (in case you aren’t getting the idea; Take the MOOC!). I knew I needed a “key “and “secret” from the LRS that was unique for the application or system I wanted to “join” with the LRS. I also needed to know the LRS url endpoint. Once I had that, it was a matter of finding where I could input this information in the preferences and settings of the application. It actually took no time and all.
What is a key and secret? Read this basic explanation.
Step 4: Start Learning!
I’d say this entire exercise in getting started might have taken me 30 minutes. And within seconds I was creating my own statements!
So there you go! I encourage you to get started too and start exploring how you might begin leveraging the data you can capture via xAPI. Now that I’m up and running, I’m starting to get a better grasp on the stories I might want to tell and what I might actually be able to collect that is of value. But that’s another story for another blog.