xAPI with SCORM – Can you do it?

If you’re in the field of online learning, chances are you’ve heard of SCORM. What about xAPI?

xAPI is exciting because it allows us to collect data about how people are interacting with content in ways we haven’t been able before. Many elearning tools like Articulate 360, dominKnow, Adapt, and others support the ability (in various degrees) to send xAPI data to a Learning Record Store (LRS). Likewise, many learning platforms have begun to accept these xAPI content packages seamlessly – some even providing their own LRS and data visualizations.

But, what happens when your learning platform does not accept xAPI content?

Yep. This is a common problem, one we faced very recently for a client using Workday’s Learning Management System (LMS). Workday informed them that they cannot load xAPI content, but this global organization needed to collect specific data from their courses during a product launch… data they couldn’t get with SCORM.

The good news? There may be a solution!

It is possible to program xAPI data into your elearning, package it for SCORM, and still send data to your LRS. There is a pretty awesome process called “sidecar” from the Torrance Learning team. Their tool, xapi.ly, allows you to set up custom xAPI statements, add them to your Articulate Storyline or Adobe Captivate elearning content using JavaScript, publish for SCORM to load to your learning platform as usual, and still collect xAPI data.

Now for the not quite as good news: it is a technical process. Although xapi.ly makes it far easier, you’ll want to have a basic understanding of how xAPI works. We recommend the following to gain a good basic knowledge (in the order suggested):

  1. Complete xAPI Basics. Our self-paced online certificate program has everything you need to build a solid foundation of xAPI knowledge.
  2. Join the free xAPI Cohort from the Learning Guild and work on a project.
  3. Take it further with tons of free articles and videos that will help you do even more from folks like Jeff Batt.

The Build Capable team can also work directly with you to implement xAPI in your learning ecosystem. Contact us to set up a time to discuss.

2 thoughts on “xAPI with SCORM – Can you do it?”

  1. Hi Sarah,
    I’m actually in the xAPI cohort right now, and my organization is getting ready to transition to Workday Learning, so this is a very timely article. I have a foundational clarifying question as I learn about LRS and xAPI. It seems like everyone in the xAPI world uses the words “your LRS,” so it took me a minute to realize that this wasn’t just another name for an LMS. Ha!
    You’re saying here that if I wanted to track additional data, such as whether or not a learner read an article in a browser or other trackable activities, we would need to also have an LRS, correct?
    Are there LRS-LMS compatibilities that allow data to connect between the two? In other words, if I have a course on a non-xAPI LMS (such as Workday Learning) that includes 2 learning items: a SCORM package and an article in a browser, the LMS would mark the SCORM content as complete and the LRS would track the reading of the article (and completion of SCORM content?). Does/could the LRS potentially send the completion of the article reading to the LMS?

    • Hi Mary! That is correct. You will need a Learning Record Store to collect xAPI data. This is a bit larger question than can be addressed in a post because there are many caveats, but the short answer is yes, Workday will continue to track any SCORM content as usual even if you are also sending xAPI data to an external LRS. Regarding your last question, the LRS is essentially just a database to store information. However, there are absolutely options to explore that address that use case. I have a few ideas. Reach out to me directly in the xAPI Cohort (Slack) and I can help.


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