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In this week’s post, I want to address the new Tin Can API, which was developed to augment SCORM. However, to help in your understanding and appreciation of this new API, you must first understand how SCORM works, as the Tin Can API is an extension to the standard and not a replacement. To put it simply, and to quote SCORM’s website, SCORM “governs how online learning content and Learning Management Systems communicate with each other”. SCORM can only report a single score and track only completion, time, and pass/fail.

It’s important to note that both SCORM and the Tin Can API were developed by the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), a research group sponsored by the DoD, with help from Rustici Software. However, while SCORM has served the eLearning community well over the last 10 years, there are issues with the standard that the new Tin Can API can now address. The one major drawback of SCORM, and one that Rustici Software desired to address, is that it “doesn’t capture the entire picture of e-learning”.  

According to Rustici Software, with an albeit vague explanation, the Tin Can API “captures the activities that happen as part of learning experiences. A wide range of systems can now securely communicate with a simple vocabulary that captures this stream of activities.” Now, to put in layman’s terms why the Tin Can API is special and why you should care, this API can track “the evidence of informal learning in addition to the data that is being collected about formal learning activities.” Tin Can API lifts many restrictions that came with previous specifications and can recognize and communicate well with (but not limited to) “mobile learning, simulations, virtual worlds, serious games, real-world activities, experiential learning, social learning, offline learning, and collaborative learning.”

Why the Tin Can API is important to KZO users: This API is ideal for informal training AND for video training. The Tin Can API is much less structured than previous specifications and those that created the API understand that people “learn from interactions with other people, content, and beyond. These actions can happen anywhere and signal an event where learning could occur.” The Tin Can API can record all those interactions and allows administrators to define any activity and learning path that they want. So, for example, any actions of a user within the KZO Video Suite could track back to the LMS, this could include commenting on a video, creating a new video, or even sharing a video with colleagues.

There is much more to this Tin Can API than I’ve described, but if you want to learn more, check out the website:

About Jeff Fissel

Co-Founded KZO and oversees the Solutions Organization that develops and deploys customized solutions and implementations of the KZO Platform with commercial and government customers.

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