How do we record learning that happens everywhere?

For over a decade, SCORM standards and specifications have been at the heart of web-based e-learning. These standards have served their purpose and were well suited to the technology of the day, but they fail to capture the bigger picture.

SCORM only really measures outcomes in formal learning. It records whether learners pass or fail a course, how long it’s taken them to complete it and their score – if required. But that’s it. As we all know, learning is a fluid process that happens all the time, and there are many more metrics and much more data to capture regarding a learner’s experience which can inform and provide context to his or her learning environment.

The dawn of logic and intelligent standards

We know learning can happen anywhere at any time, so we need a standard for the reporting and tracking of e-learning that understands this fact.

Take the statement “Sam has played a guitar.” It’s a simple enough statement, but there’s a logic underpinning it.

TinCan adapts the same logic to generate statements as and when an activity or action is performed by the learner. It creates statements in the form of ‘noun, verb, object’ – like a language – and stores them in a Learning Record Store (LRS) that can exist independently of an LMS.

Example of a simple TinCan statement:

{
“actor”: “Sam”,
“verb”: “played”,
“object”: “guitar”
}

This kind of intelligent approach differs from the approach used by earlier learning management systems, which can record data but can’t store or frame logic and therefore are unable to express any kind of complex activity or action in a coherent way.

No logic? No chance

Imagine our friend Sam is working in an organisation and keeps a diary of a day’s key activities. Throughout the day he:

  1. Logs into an internal portal to go through his assigned task for the day
  2. Raises a query and shares ideas related to the task in the company’s internal sharing site
  3. Completes the task and move on to the next
  4. Begins an new e-learning course related to tomorrow’s task
  5. Leaves for the day half way through
  6. Completes the e-learning course at home from his mobile phone

Imagine if Sam had to remember similar activities over a number of days without diarising them. Could he do it? Probably not.

Although there is a long way to go, TinCan could act as Sam’s diary to record a logical sequence of events, or statements, over a period of time. And with TinCan, Sam could also generate reports based on the statements stored in his LRS, such as:

  1. Total number of issues solved by him for a year
  2. How much he’s involved in helping others in the organisation
  3. How much he’s involved in sharing his ideas with them
  4. The courses he’s completed for the year
  5. Virtually anything else!

Storing experiences

Using TinCan, you’re able to store almost any experience of a learner, opening doors for analysing, researching and reporting accurately based on hard data. Its beauty is that TinCan is neither bound to a particular industry nor a particular domain; it can be used wherever we’d like to record the experiences of a learner like Sam, whether he’s on an internal social networking site, attending conferences or so on. Imagine the value of the information within the mine of data to be analysed!

TinCan is set to revolutionise the way we use learning technologies. If you’d like to find out more about TinCan and how it can help you, come and find us on Stand 33 at the Learning Technologies Show on 29 and 30 January.

About the author

Madhan Suresh - Developer
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