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Last updated: 10.03.14

Learning Record Stores. Are you ready for a new learning architecture?

There has been much excitement is recent months over the impact of the Tin Can initiative and the arrival of Learning Record Store (LRS) in 2014. Indeed the 2014 Learning Technologies show will see the launch of several different LRS’s if shows in the USA in 2013 are any guide. Learning Record Store is the latest product of the Tin Can project, kicked off by ADL (the keepers of the SCORM standard) when they asked the learning and development industry what was required to replace or upgrade the SCORM standard. LRS and Experience API (xAPI) are two of the main products of this initiative. So what does this all mean to the buyer of learning technologies… two things: much more powerful solutions to track and record learning but also much more complexity. To the buyer already challenged by the need to deliver on mobile learning…to meet learners and organisational demands to use smartphones and tablets in day to day business (often their own as part of the BYOD trend) and to quite possibly support forms of social learning is the LRS just another technology too far? LRS is designed to record all forms of learning beyond the SCORM tracking of the LMS using the new xAPI it can achieve this very simply and effectively. An LRS will allow the learner to input what they have learnt from all manner of digital learning interfaces….e-books, video games, mobile devices and websites at the press of a button recording "I learnt this." This simple statement is transmitted to the LRS and there the learner record is stored! An LRS may sit in the architecture as part of an LMS, it may sit as a separate platform and integrate with an LMS via an API or as a self-contained repository of learner records. This is the simple and elegant solution that is opening up all digital learning beyond the tracking environment of the SCORM learning object and. It will provide an organisation with huge amounts of data about a learner and the learning they have undertaken…..big data has arrived. However, do buyers fully grasp the potential and pitfalls of this new standard? The ‘potential’ is the ability to capture all forms of learning beyond the constraints of SCORM. Large amounts of data of who learnt what, where and when will be recorded from all manner of learning events. But the benefits of all this data are less clear and studies to illustrate the savings (Return on Investment (RoI) and Impact on Business (IoB) are still key for procurement) have yet to emerge. Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) do helpfully provide a series of links to companies who claim to have delivered projects with the xAPI standards having been implemented. http://www.adlnet.gov/tla/experience-api/adopters/ While the examples show or claim to show xAPI installs, there are no real examples of LRS roll outs and naturally therefore no examples of RoI and IoB benefits derived from xAPI and LRS projects. Choosing to upgrade your learning technologies architecture is not a simple decision, knowing what your organisation is seeking to achieve is the fundamental in this process. e-learning has typically been about reducing cost, saving time, improving access, tracking and recording learning and therefore, managing competencies and assessing performance and above all securing behavioural change amongst learners. If you are considering exploring what this new learning architecture might mean for your organisation do talk to our experts. If you need to build the business case for the investment we can help, if you need more technical information we can help…..if you need expert advice on getting the best benefits from e-learning and learning technologies beyond narrow technical constraints we really can help….remember we have actively helped over 1.2 million learners to date. Rod Knox