What is the Tin Can API

The Tin Can API is an e-learning software specification that allows learning content and learning systems to speak to each other in a manner that records and tracks all types of learning experiences. Learning experiences are recorded in a Learning Record Store (LRS). LRSs can exist within traditional Learning Management Systems (LMSs) or on their own.

How does the Tin Can API work?

  • People learn from interactions with other people, content, and beyond. These actions can happen anywhere and signal an event where learning could occur. All of these can be recorded with the Tin Can API.
  • When an activity needs to be recorded, the application sends secure statements in the form of “Noun, verb, object” or “I did this” to a Learning Record Store (LRS.)
  • Learning Record Stores record all of the statements made. An LRS can share these statements with other LRSs. An LRS can exist on its own, or inside an LMS.

Brief Overview

The Tin Can API is commonly referred to as “The Experience API” and “Next Generation SCORM.” SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) has been the de facto e-learning standard for packaging e-learning content to be delivered to LMSs. However, there are several drawbacks to SCORM. The Tin Can API allows for several new capabilities that SCORM didn’t, such as:

  • Taking e-learning outside of the web browser
  • E-learning in native mobile applications
  • More control over learning content
  • Solid security using Oauth
  • Platform transition (start e-learning on a mobile device, finish it on a computer)
  • The ability to track games and simulations
  • The ability to track real-world performance
  • Team-based e-learning
  • Tracking learning plans and goals

Some of the benefits for mobile devices

With the Tin Can API, activity creators can design native apps that download lots of activities to an app when there is a connection, store them on the device, record Tin Can statements as learning activities are performed, and later deliver the results to an LRS when there is a network connection. And because learning is happening in a native app, activity creators have complete control over the user experience. Learners can even start activities on a computer and then finish them on a mobile device. They can pick up right where they left off.

More TIC CAN API benefits

Tin Can doesn’t require a browser. The current versions of SCORM require a course to be launched in a browser.  Tin Can only requires that your software is connected to a network to transmit data – even if it’s just occasionally!  Hello mobile apps, games, offline content and more!

Content can live outside of your LMS. With current versions of SCORM, content with the exception of some complicated workarounds needs to reside on your LMS server.  Tin Can will allow us to host content just about anywhere.  This will make maintaining content – especially content that gets deployed on multiple LMS much easier.  It will also open up a world of possibilities for what makes up a course – a course can now draw elements from a variety of sources without those elements being on the same server. With Tin Can, a course or activity will send data at completion no matter how a learner accessed it.  The data sent is controlled by the course creator.  Think about a course accessed on your intranet or customer portal. With Tin Can a learner can take the course and at completion the course will track that user without them having to log-in to an LMS. This helps a lot if your view is that content should be a lot less course based, and more resource-driven. The resources can live in your intranet, or in a CMS. Better for the learner experience, less pressure on the LMS to be something it’s not.

Track Everything. With current versions of SCORM we are limited in what we can track.  With Tin Can we won’t be limited to tracking quizzes and course status.  We’ll be able to pull data for a section of a course, gather details on each decision of a scenario and each click of screen is we desire.  Tin Can offer the potential to significantly expand what we track and give us new flexibility on how we report on it.

Dynamically pull data into a course. Tin Can offers the ability to pull in data either from an external source or from data generated in the course itself.

–TheLMSapp team is working on a TIN CAN API implementation, soon we will be able to release additional info!

Sources: Wikipedia, Tin Can API website, kineo

Comments are closed.