Differences Between SCORM, Tin Can and xAPI


The Differences Between SCORM, Tin Can and xAPI: What You Should Use

January 3, 2019

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Differences Between SCORM, Tin Can and xAPI

One of the significant hurdles for eLearning at the start of the digital age was how difficult the analysis and sharing of courses was. This made coordinating and consistently applying eLearning for the purposes of training excessively difficult.

Fortunately, there have been innovations developed, such as SCORM, tin can and xAPI, to remediate these issues. This article will tell you everything you need to know about SCORM, tin can and xAPI, as well as ways in which you can use xAPI to analyze learning data.

What are SCORM,Tin can, and xAPI?

  • SCORM, or the Shareable Content Object Reference Model, was developed by the U.S. Department of Defense in conjunction with Advanced Distributed Learning to allow eLearning developers and educators to share eLearning courses across systems. It also allows educators to track the completion, time spent and scores of learners as they access eLearning content.

  • Tin can, or xAPI, are actually the same thing. Initially called tin can during its development and released under the moniker xAPI, The Experience API was created as an alternative to SCORM.

We also have this article perfect for you if you're asking yourself "What is Learning Analytics?"


What are the Differences Between SCORM and xAPI?

Generally, the philosophy behind xAPI may be most accurately ascribed to the saying "anything you can do, I can do better." For example, SCORM has only had two iterations, and is notably dated in the power it can provide to an educator. xAPI, on the other hand, is consistently updated and offers a tremendous amount of power and flexibility to educators who use it.

While SCORM is capable of tracking the completion rate, the time taken, and the score given in eLearning tasks, it requires an LMS, and is only usable with desktops. On the other hand, xAPI does not need an LMS, is capable of providing far more detailed learner data than SCORM, is usable on mobile devices, is usable offline, and can track essentially every iteration of eLearning, from adaptive learning and blended learning to informal learning and real-world performance, and everything else in between.

In essence, although xAPI is a bit more complicated to use than SCORM, it is also more advanced in every conceivable way. xAPI can even convert SCORM data into an xAPI format, meaning there's no reason for educators to refrain from switching over to xAPI. And the drastic advantages xAPI holds over SCORM have not gone unnoticed - currently, xAPI is widely regarded as being the better of the two devices in the eLearning industry.

How Educators Can Collect and Analyze xAPI Data

It's important to remember that xAPI is essentially just incredibly powerful data collection software that allows eLearning developers and educators to synchronize their courses, and gain access to all of the learner data they could possibly need to make improvements to eLearning experiences. As such, any user of xAPI needs a way to actually analyze the data that xAPI collects before they can put it to good use.

We've covered xAPI, Tin Can and SCORM, but   there's this special in-depth article  on  the crucal role palyed by Learning Record Stores  right here:  Learning analytics: What is xAPI and LRS

If you're using xAPI but can't seem to get the full potential out of the data it's collecting for you, we have just the solution you’re looking for. Lambda Solutions created Zoola Analytics with the intention of providing educators, eLearning developers and coordinators with a way to easily and accurately analyze all of the data that xAPI collects.

To learn more about xAPI, visit another article we've written on exactly how it works:  Analyzing xAPI Data with Zoola Analytics. If you're interested in learning more about what our Zoola Analytics can do for you, check out our xAPI page.

And for an in-depth guide to  utilizing analytics and training assessments to  make your eLearning even more effective, check out this free eBook:  The Practical Guide to Evaluating Your Workplace Learning Effectiveness.

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Keen to keep climbing down the Learning Analytics rabbit hole? Here’s what we’ve got for you:

Sell, market, manage, and scale your eLearning all in one place with the brand new Lambda Suite!!

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