stainless steel can with fire

2020 was all About xAPI Profiles (for us)

stainless steel can with fire
Photo by Lisa Fotios on

A few days ago, Megan and I passed a milestone, with now seven years of MakingBetter. 2020 was all about xAPI Profiles (for us). It’s hard for me to grok how much we got done in 2020 considering the trash fire of a year it was.

Like many of you, Megan and I had to seriously change how we’ve managed our work/life balance, household, workflow(s). In this post, I’ll highlight what we shipped last year through MakingBetter.

The ADL xAPI Profile Server

In 2018, Megan and I drafted requirements for an xAPI Profile Server. Two years later, in 2020, MakingBetter built it with ADL.

We teamed with our besties at Veracity, keeping a learning standards team-up between Jono Poltrack and myself that spans almost two decades now, and keeping the running t-shirt jokes going between Megan and Tom Creighton. I digress.

To summarize, the ADL xAPI Profile Server is a revolutionary approach to governing data for xAPI-supporting applications. It’s an authoring tool for xAPI Profiles. It’s an RDF server, so it is processing all the semantic connections on the back-end; generating JSON-LD concepts while you author. It enables authoring tools, independent development environments to be dynamic and driven from the same authoritative document. Updating an xAPI Profile hosted on a server will make changes available to anything subscribing to that profile. Imagine managing taxonomies and ontologies for learning data that don’t necessarily require re-authoring.

Megan provided the vision and technical requirements that drove this effort, and led the technical development. Crystal Kubitzky did cracking (been watching a lot of Great British Bake-off) UX research and design, making full use of the USDS design system. Eva Rendle took on the unenviable task of managing the herculean effort to design, develop and deliver this product in 13 months’ time.

As a result, it represents that best of what can happen when everyone on a project is oriented to the same goal. Collective focus, talent and hope drove this project in 2020. The love our team put in that effort shines through when you use it.

It launches in Q2 2021. Watch me introduce and demo some of the features of the ADL xAPI Profile Server here.

xAPI Profile Authoring

MakingBetter worked with Veracity to produce a significant xAPI Profile. For the long-game on xAPI, we produced a profile with ADL to support the prototype development of the Total Learning Architecture (TLA). The profile expresses the TLA’s Master Object Model (MOM). In the coming weeks, expect posts to surface lessons learned about profile authoring and thoughts around enterprise learning analytics strategy inferred by this work.

For now, if you’re interested in reading more on the MOM and the TLA, read here.


In the next post where I’ll get into what all I’m doing, with all the different hats I get to wear. After, with that bit of needed meta established, I can get into blogging about the really real nitty gritty of working with xAPI.