The Tin Can API refers to a project developed by Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) to help organizations track and analyze the learning behavior of users and customers. The Tin Can API project officially debuted in April 2013 as the Experience API, or xAPI, and today all three terms are frequently used interchangeably for the e-learning specification.
Tin Can API itself evolved from SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model), a standard for tracking eLearning courses and Learning Management Systems (LMS) that provides basic analytics on who’s taking the course, completing the course, and how well the content is being understood.
ADL developed the Tin Can API (and subsequently Rustici Software with the Experience API) to deliver a more flexible way to track a wide variety of learning analytics than SCORM is able to provide, including activities that occur outside of LMSes. xAPI stores learning experiences in Learning Record Stores (LRS) that can be aggregated for deeper analysis than with SCORM.
Today’s eLearning Experiences Explained with Tin Can API
The basic premise behind the Tin Can API / xAPI is that learning can take place across a wide spectrum of platforms and experiences, and aggregating these learning data points and providing analytics for them that can be shared across a wide variety of services through an application program interface (API) is key to better understanding and optimizing various learning experiences in an organization.
Whether learning experiences occur in a classroom, through a PC or laptop software educational resource, through a mobile app, via a game, or through another platform, the Tin Can API can analyze an extensive variety of learning data points and provide analytics that help organizations gain clearer insight into how users and/or customers learn.