5 Real Benefits of Using xAPI Eóghan Quigley Published on May 30, 2019 xAPI was touted as the future of eLearning back in 2013 when it was first introduced (named Tin Can at the time). It was intended to be SCORM’s successor. That hasn’t transpired yet, probably due to the difficulty in explaining its value especially to those not well versed in the technology. It’s complicated, expensive and introduces yet another system, the LRS, to get your head around. xAPI has some awesome benefits that you should know about and avail of. So let’s keep things simple and focus on the 5 key benefits that the standard provides. 1. It can do what SCORM does Let’s forget about the bells and whistles for now. One of the major benefits of xAPI is the lack of disruption its adoption will cause you. xAPI can do everything that your SCORM 1.2 can. In fact, it does it better than SCORM. Even if you have no interest in any of the wider advantages xAPI brings, you can stick to the same workflow that you're used to (as long as your LMS is xAPI compliant like LearnUpon of course). And this is true for its creation too. For most authoring tools, it’s a case of just choosing a different option on a dropdown when going through the publishing process. 2. A more stable standard SCORM is now about 20 years old. That’s a long time in the context of online tech. SCORM 2004, in particular, proved to be very buggy for both eLearning pros and vendors alike. So much so that many vendors simply ignored it and stuck with SCORM 1.2. xAPI, the new kid on the block, is based on newer, more reliable technology. This means that it’s much less error-prone. You’ll spend less time troubleshooting and more time focusing on learning goals and outcomes. It’s an upgrade to your training stack that your learners may not notice but it’ll definitely improve things on the back end. 3. Better LMS reporting The underlying technology behind xAPI makes it much easier for data to be presented. Reports are clearer and easier to interpret. It’s a small thing, but one that seasoned eLearning pros will appreciate. You’ll be glad to see the back of underscores within exam transcripts. 4. Tracking all learning activities By choosing xAPI compliant technology you open up the whole xAPI ecosystem. For example, if you set up a Learner Record Store you can delve into highly detailed learning analytics. An LRS is a system that specifically handles and interprets xAPI statements. Any learning activity can be recorded and stored. It’s eLearning’s answer to big data. Most organizations don’t need this level of granularity but those that do commit to it, come away with some amazing insights. 5. Future proofing SCORM is still the most popular learning standard. You should look at xAPI as an opportunity to future proof your business’ training infrastructure. No one definitely knows which way the eLearning industry will move. Not one industry expert predicted that SCORM would still be the dominant standard 20 years after its introduction. What we can say for sure is that adopting modern standards is one way to avoid depending on dying tech. It’s also clear that some of the activities that interface with the xAPI ecosystem will become more prominent in the near future. Augmented reality, virtual reality, and simulations are becoming less expensive and more impressive every year. It’s a good idea to make sure they’re not siloed away from your current training. A worthy upgrade xAPI may not have swept across eLearning as expected. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t pack a punch. Now’s the time to start incorporating xAPI course content into your training programs.