The Learning Record Store is a Critical Component of Your xAPI Plan

The Experience API has some crucial components to its infrastructure. One of those parts is the Learning Record Store. This is the server side component that makes tracking learning and other experiences possible.

Here are some things you need to know about the Learning Record Store.

Learning Record Store Facts

Experience API is No Good Without It

Experience API logo graphicThe Learning Record Store is the heart of xAPI. Without the LRS, all the activity statements would go…nowhere. There would be no storage of experiences, no tracking of learning or performance. No reports.

It’s important to know that having a LMS won’t do here. The way that experiences are tracked in xAPI just don’t fit with the way SCORM and a LMS communicate or store data. At the very minimum, you would need a LMS with a LRS integrated or add one in.

A LRS Can Stand Alone

While a LRS can be integrated into a LMS, it doesn’t have to be. The Learning Record Store is available as a separate system, either installed on your server or in the Software As a Service (SaaS) model. We talked about different LRS systems previously.

In fact, there are some in the industry who believe you are better off if the LRS is not part of the LMS. They reason that it limits the flexibility of the Learning Record Store. A LRS is designed to store a multitude of experiences; in fact it serves best when it is storing performance data. A LMS by contrast stores just learning records. If your LRS is integrated into the LMS it may limit the types of activities you can store. Also, a LRS is more scalable by itself. There is also the matter of how the LRS is used and what role the LMS plays with it. The LMS can either be an activity provider, activity consumer, or a storage location. When the LRS is part of the LMS it is more difficult to define the role the LMS is playing.

If you do decide to connect the two, take a look at xAPI Bridge to help you make the connection.

The LRS Does More Than Track Learning

A Learning Record Store helps you track expereincesIt is kind of a misnomer to call it a Learning Record Store since it stores experiences and not just learning. That’s what makes it special. Did someone participate in a discussion group? You can record that experience in a LRS. Read a book? Watch a video? Meet a quota? Achieve a error-free performance? All trackable experiences in a LRS. As a result, which we will discuss further, it opens up all kinds of possibilities for using a LRS.

LRS’s Can Communicate with One Another

This is one of the things that make Learning Record Stores cool. A LRS must fulfill very specific standards to be considered a conformant system. Part of that is use of the Experience API. Built into that API is standardized communication and data exchange. So the data you store becomes truly free and can even be easily moved from one system to another with the right authorization.

In fact, one of the visions of the future with xAPI and the LRS is that an individual’s data could travel with them when they move to new systems and new opportunities.

A LRS Can Be Integrated with Other Systems

Imagine not having to have data you need stored in a variety of places. One location. That possibility becomes closer with the Learning Record Store.  The ability to utilize API’s for communication means you could integrate the LRS with an overall Talent Management System. At the same time you could integrate with a time tracking system or performance tracking. Collecting and sharing data readily.

It Doesn’t Replace a LMS

And likely won’t anytime soon.

With all of it’s flexibilities, a LRS is not really very good at tracking eLearning progress. That’s what a LMS does very well and is actually designed to do. Many organizations have invested heavily in Learning Management and online learning libraries. They are not about to toss it all out the window to only focus on tracking experiences.

What will it take to make that transition to leaving the LMS behind? When companies decide to invest in full-scale recording and tracking of performance as opposed to simply tracking learning performance. There is and will still be value in tracking learning yet as a part of an overall performance record and not as the only thing.

Do you have questions about implementing or integrating a LRS? Not sure of what you should track and how much? Contact us for help at support@jcasolutions.com.

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