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606 An Introduction to xAPI for Learning Data, Analytics & Action

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Thursday, April 21

Tracks: Data & Platforms

As the adoption of xAPI continues across the industry, we’re now in a position to gather more data about learning and performance experiences than ever before. Now is the time to begin planning for the strategic use of your learning data to understand the learning experience better, evaluate learning and performance in more detail, support business decision making, and integrate business and learning workflows. How does this work? What tools will you need? What skills will you need? And how do you make a plan for the orderly collection and use of your data? As you create your organization’s roadmap toward a more data-driven future, you’ll need a framework for planning and case studies to learn from.

In the first half of this session, you’ll get a quick introduction to xAPI, starting with what it is and how it’s different from SCORM. We’ll cover some of the key terminologies you’ll need as you enter this environment to help you engage with your colleagues and vendors. We’ll talk about the sources of data from elearning and non-elearning sources, custom software, and the systems of work that record employee performance. Next, we’ll turn to the platforms needed to store and use the data. We’ll review what a learning record store (LRS) is and how they interact with (or are a part of) your LMS and your LXP as distinct components of your learning data ecosystem working together. And we’ll discuss how learning data can be sent to downstream enterprise analytics platforms such as Tableau and PowerBI.

In the second half of this session, we’ll explore a framework for using this learning data in the organization. The framework includes how to archive, analyze, and act on learning data. This framework includes learning evaluation models (Thalheimer’s Learning Transfer Evaluation Model, the Kirkpatrick levels, and ROI) and the common learning analytics questions (descriptive, diagnostic, predictive, and prescriptive analytics). While much of the focus on data lately is on analytics, there are other uses of data to explore. We will touch on data to drive design, recommendation, personalization, and workflow automation, sharing several real-world case studies.

In this session, you will learn:

  • What is xAPI and how is it different from the learning data available from SCORM
  • Which tools you’ll need to implement xAPI in your organization
  • How you can use learning evaluation frameworks to identify data needs
  • What kinds of questions learning analytics can answer
  • How else learning data can be used in the organization

Technology discussed:

xAPI, SCORM, LRS, LMS, LXP, elearning authoring, other learning sources of data, PowerBI, Tableau

Megan Torrance



Megan Torrance is CEO and founder of TorranceLearning, which helps organizations connect learning strategy to design, development, data, and ultimately performance. She has more than 25 years of experience in learning design, deployment, and consulting . Megan and the TorranceLearning team are passionate about sharing what works in learning, so they devote considerable time to teaching and sharing about Agile project management for learning experience design and the xAPI. She is the author of Agile for Instructional Designers, The Quick Guide to LLAMA, and Making Sense of xAPI. Megan is also an eCornell Facilitator in the Women’s Executive Leadership curriculum.