Viewpoint: Peter Berking
Authoring tools five years from now will have the following xAPI-enabled characteristics:
- They will focus on performance-based assessment rather than multiple-choice testing. This includes stealth assessment, where the learner is constantly being compared behind the scenes (possibly without the learner being aware of it) to a “gold standard” of interaction with the content, based on the path and responses an expert takes through the content. Rather than a simple test score result, a much more nuanced profile of the learner’s ability will be available through use of xAPI statements and data analysis engines. Test scores will be replaced by probabilistic statements such as “Mary performed at 83 percent of the level of an expert.”
- Adaptive, personalized content will be standard. xAPI will be the key to create a feedback loop that captures and analyzes the user’s performance. This allows the content to determine optimal topics, media objects, learning paths, etc. for the learner based on their past performance.
- Authoring tools will achieve bi-directional communication between the content and the LRS. This means that a designer can insert a dashboard into the authored content that pulls data from the LRS about who is doing what with the content and how well, so that the learner’s interactions are “socialized” with other learners. Instructors or moderators, etc. can then monitor learner progress and intervene appropriately.
- Media objects (graphics, video, text layouts, etc.) and interactive functionality objects (widgets, scripts) will provide standard xAPI data communications capabilities within the scope of their functions. For instance, videos will contain the code to be individually configurable to report durations and locations of pauses via xAPI. The authoring tool (providing the overarching “container” for these objects) will then overlay the xAPI-enabled sequence, tracking, and communicative aspects to interconnect and manage them as a single learning experience and allow it to communicate with external systems
- Authoring tools will focus not only on learner performance tracking, but iterative, continuous content improvement through xAPI-enabled capture and aggregation of usage patterns. In fact, one of the key purposes of the authoring tool will be to author, integrate, and automate formative and summative evaluation of the learning experience.
Viewpoint: Steve Foreman
In the near future (I hope):
tools will provide more robust support for xAPI. One
way this could work is by enabling authors to define any interactive object as
an xAPI trigger. Once an object is defined as a trigger, the author would use a
natural language xAPI editor to select one or more predefined statements to
associate with the trigger. The author would use the selected statement or
customize it. Advanced authors would be able to create xAPI statements from
the scenes, the tool would automatically convert the natural language statement
into JSON format as required by xAPI. Authors would be able to toggle
to a JSON view of the statement just like current tools allow authors to toggle
between text and HTML in a WYSIWYG text editor.
predefined statements would be intrinsic to the object defined as the trigger. For
example, answer options for a multiple choice question could be defined as
triggers. Predefined statements might include “<user> selected
<answer text> to <question text>” and “<user> answered
<question text> in <x> seconds.” The values in a dropdown list
might have similar predefined statements. A drag-and-drop object might have
predefined statements such as “<user> dragged <object label> to
- You will be able to track any user action in a lesson, assessment, game, simulation, eBook, or app. How might this new, fully configurable tracking capability affect your instructional designs?
- Behind the scenes, the tool would automatically convert the natural language statement into JSON format as required by xAPI. Authors would be able to toggle to a JSON view of the statement just like current tools allow authors to toggle between text and HTML in a WYSIWYG text editor.
In a few short years, we expect that authoring-tool xAPI functionality will grow significantly. In this article we have described a few ways this might happen. Enhanced xAPI support is likely to manifest itself in the true spirit of authoring tools, so that you, as author, will not have to know much about the technical details of how xAPI works. You will be able to create more complex xAPI-enabled instructional designs faster and easier. You may not even realize you are using xAPI. You will simply use xAPI-enabled authoring tools to design and build more effective and engaging learning experiences, free of technical distractions and complexities.