The ADL cmi5 committee is pleased to announce the release of the Quartz version of the cmi5 specification. This is the first production release of cmi5, an xAPI protocol that is the “use case” for xAPI in learning management systems (LMSs). ADL is currently making minor edits to the descriptive language in the spec posted on GitHub (see link above); these edits do not affect the spec itself. The final release, incorporating all edits, should be available on GitHub by Friday, June 3.

What is cmi5?

Essentially, cmi5 is a set of rules for using the xAPI in the “LMS launches content” scenario. The specification defines how learning content is imported, launched, and tracked by the LMS using an xAPI learning record store (LRS).

Brief history

The cmi5 project originated with the AICC (Aviation Industry Computer-Based Training Committee) in 2010. The original plan for cmi5 was to replace both AICC and SCORM specifications with a more feature-rich and robust solution. Both the AICC and SCORM specifications had technical issues and constraints as well as significant overlap.

The AICC was nearing completion of a SOAP-based (Simple Object Access Protocol) communication mechanism for cmi5 in 2012, about the same time that ADL was completing the Tin Can API research project (now the xAPI). The AICC and ADL participants soon determined that there was substantial commonality between the two specifications. Since the xAPI had broader application than cmi5, the ADL and AICC agreed to cooperate on an “xAPI profile” to meet the more specific use-case needs of cmi5. So the AICC “rebooted” the cmi5 project in 2012 and replaced the SOAP architecture with the xAPI. In 2014, the AICC dissolved and formally transferred the cmi5 project to the ADL.

In June of 2015, the cmi5 committee released Sandstone, a version for developers to validate with working implementations and/or prototypes. After months of validation, the Quartz release is now ready for production implementation.


The following companies have already announced they are supporting or will support cmi5:

eXact Learning Solutions

Riptide Software

E-CO e-learning studio S.r.l. 



Rustici Software

iSpring Solutions


Learning Templates


Obsidian Learning

Zavango Corp.

OnPoint Digital


More information

For more information on cmi5, please see:

cmi5 Specification

Experience API, cmi5, and Future SCORM

It’s not too late to learn more at FocusOn 2016 in Austin!

The current agenda for FocusOn 2016 (June 8 – 10 in Austin, Texas) includes a baker’s dozen of sessions that will help you understand the xAPI and implement it in your learning initiatives and learning environment. These sessions include ones that focus on the basics of the xAPI, implementing the cmi5 specification, and using the xAPI to improve mobile training, video effectiveness, and performance support — and more! Although online registration has closed, you can register as a walk-in until either 1) the conference sells out or 2) the final day of the conference. The unique Expo+ Pass is also available, giving you access June 8 – 9 to the Expo Hall, the educational sessions at two exciting Expo learning stages, the incredible DemoFest, and hospitality suites. You will not find a more comprehensive eLearning-focused event for instructional designers, developers, and learning and development managers this summer!