The big question that nearly everyone has when starting to launch an xAPI project is, "Does my learning management system (LMS) handle xAPI?"

The default answer is "yes," of course, but then it often happens that the real question is, "Well, the people we bought the LMS from told us that their LMS 'does xAPI.' Now that we are into the development we found out that it does record course launch and completion, but we can't figure out how to do all of the things that xAPI is supposed to do."

The real answer

Megan Torrance told me that she and her team at TorranceLearning were wondering how best to help people find a better answer than that default. Clients wanted a way to confirm for themselves how their LMS supports (or doesn’t support) xAPI. It was frustrating for clients when they expected their LMS to “do xAPI,” only to find that it simply recorded course launch and completion, not all of the things that xAPI is supposed to do.

Megan continued, "There's good news: Now that it’s been 10 years since xAPI was released, and now that xAPI 2.0 is an official IEEE standard, many of the popular corporate and enterprise LMS products offer some degree of xAPI support.

"The bad news: In many cases, xAPI support in an LMS looks a lot like SCORM does. The data set is limited, and the benefits are not much at all like the benefits you hoped to get by using xAPI."

"We created a couple of simple test files to get folks started.

  • You can use one of the files to verify xAPI compatibility. You can use the other to verify cmi5 compatibility.
  • Both test files are Articulate Storyline courses that use Storyline’s built-in xAPI statements and some custom xAPI statements.
  • Both test files contain statements that are built-in, and statements from Statement Builder.
  • All a developer needs to do is load the appropriate test file into their LMS, launch the test and take it through to the end, and then see what data the LMS is picking up."

Where to obtain the test files

Both test files are on the TorranceLearning Blog at no cost. Megan asked me to help get the word out about this solution.

Megan says "We feel it’s something important for implementers to have available. It’s not so much about us as it is about the tool. We include an Excel spreadsheet on the blog to compare all of the statements that should be captured. It's an 'answer key' to check against the data you get in your LMS."

The blog entry contains instructions for testing and links to:

  • Two zip files (one xAPI and one cmi5)
  • The "answer key” spreadsheet