Tin Can API to the instructional designer

Tin Can API – It brings to mind statements like Break Free of SCORM or is a data analysts dream come true.

At first, the Tin Can API sounds more like a data aggregation tool, which allows for individual pieces of data to be collected, stored and accessed at any time, anywhere.

So, what else is Tin Can API and why is it relevant to instructional designers?

Well, for one it can become a ‘voluntary snoop’ for all your online learning activities and thus provide a huge database to all those instructional designers who work with customized training and care about the learner’s learning quotient!

For example, we designed and developed a sales training program to introduce a global sales staff to new products and selling strategies. Eight months post implementation, the training manager shared that 63% of the sales staff had responded positively to the program and said that it helped improve their performance. Wow! But how did the training manager collect this data and why did it take so long to share it?
It was long painful process, where each user’s course completion or passing of assessment was tracked and recorded on their LMS; their responses were documented via feedback and survey forms; data was tabulated and shared. Sure, as the course designer, the data helped me

How much more effective would it be if I could have had this data within a month or less of implementation? With Tin Can API I can!

Tin Can API allows me to

  1. Track usage data live time
  2. Study user response to various activities and different types of content
  3. Measure effectiveness of learning activities
  4. Introduce gamification features, which are track able and have higher learning value
  5. Redesign and further customize the module as per this data received
  6. Test drive a module and then design the rest of the course
  7. Allow users to access non-course content and still track it


I’d be willing to bet that I could get a 90% plus positive response with this level of customization.

The positive impact on the user would be

  1. Increase user engagement – Track his or her performance and compare it to peers
  2. User can measure progress immediately instead of waiting for annual assessment for the same.
  3. User can be assured that training delivered would be more customized and address individual performance gaps
  4. Anytime anywhere access – Activity on the ipad/mobile can also be recorded and tracked and collated with activity data other platform, thus allowing the user to continue with learning from office to home or field.

Some features of Tin Can API, which fascinate include

  1. Interoperability – tracking and delivery across platforms.
  2. Multiple users can be tracked simultaneously with data stored at once ( an MMPOG’s dream come true, apart from the training manager who uses online platforms to deliver massively scalable training)
  3. Scalability
  4. Launch content via apps rather than just browser
  5. No need to register into a course like in traditional LMS
  6. Record, record, record – almost a virtual key logger, the Tin Can API will allow you to voluntarily record all your activity and record key points of completion.

Tin Can API’s course creation mantra will be – ‘Record, Analyze, Assess, Customize, Create’

Tin Can API is already a publishable feature via Storyline and Lectora and allows for hosting on several LMS as well.

The question that dogs me is will instructional designers finally break free of the SCORM content packaging challenge allowing learning to be completely non-linear and available from anywhere? In short, is elearning free of the SCORM shackles again?


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