Liquid Swords: Chessboxin'

Liquid Swords

The news in short: I’m officially chairing the very brand new IEEE xAPI Study Group, which is the first step towards the standardization of Experience API™ (aka “Tin Can”).

Liquid Swords: Chessboxin'
Anybody messing with the forward progression with Experience API (aka “Tin Can”) may as well enter the 36 Chambers.

Awwwww yeah. In just two short weeks, Megan & I have launched MakingBetter, an open source enterprise-ready Learning Record Store and now… moving the API from a spec into a standard. Simply, Megan and I “drop megaton bombs more faster than you blink” (Yes, I’m quoting GZA and Genius from “Liquid Swords”).

Learning Locker

Last week, Ben Betts announced that Megan and I are helping lead the community effort for the forthcoming release of Learning Locker, the open source enterprise-ready Learning Record Store. It’s our intention to expand and accelerate adoption of Experience API (“Tin Can”) in a way that we can only do by being independent. This is huge news. Ben, Megan and I are in Las Vegas this week and we are really quite excited to talk about this with anyone and everyone. We even have a meetup planned Wednesday evening, 5pm, at Cleopatra’s Barge in Caesar’s Palace. We hope you’ll join us.

As big as the news of an open source learning record store can possibly be… well, this post is about something even bigger. In the weeks and months before I left ADL, I had helped to broker conversations between ADL and standards bodies about the options available for standardization. As it turns out, anyone can take the specification as it exists and move it directly into standardization, and that is just what I’ve been asked to do by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, or IEEE for short.

A New Hope

I am very proud and, at the same time, a little humbled, to be leading the IEEE xAPI Study Group. Over the next four-to-six months, this group will explore a number of questions that ultimately inform a report that answers the following question: “Is the Experience API ready for standardization?” If that answer is yes, the members of IEEE’s Learning Technology Standards Committee will vote, and if that passes… well, we kick off the official standardization effort.

This is the beginning of how Experience API moves out of ADL and the US Department of Defense and into international, industry-driven stewardship. This is how Experience API becomes a standard. It never quite happened for SCORM®, but having studied the many challenges multiple organizations had in attempting to move SCORM out of the, it was always part of the design of both the specification and the design of the strategy to make sure that one day it could find stewardship outside of ADL.

As the chair of this study group, my intention is to grow xAPI into a standard that is useful well beyond the boundaries of the learning technology industry — certainly way beyond L&D. We’ll have a kickoff webinar for this study group on February 12th, details to come shortly. If you’re interested in being part of the webinar or even to just be kept up to date with what happens over the next few months, please sign up with this form or reach out to me directly at aaron.e.silvers@ieee.org (the form goes there, too).

To be clear about how serious we are about changing the way standards work, and who they help. This should be easier than it ever was with SCORM® and, by the Gods, it will be. This should help a lot more people than who’s been served (or not served) over the last decade and more with SCORM, and you can bet your ass we will do just that.

We want to invite all hard working technologists, engineers, instructional designers, training executives, software vendors, skeptics and cynics and evangelists and fans alike to get involved with the both the Learning Locker OpenLRS effort, and/or the IEEE xAPI Study Group. We want people who care (assholes can keep to themselves). Megan and I are clearing the road for this community to grow and this standard to grow with it. We’re in a position to really do some good, and we can handle saying things that vested interests may not love. We might also say stuff that they do love. Point is, we’ll do whatever the hell we need to do with the spec, and that’s what we want for everyone.

My wish is, as it’s been, to see a world that helps people live and work more freely. Megan and I have committed our careers to such an idea and we are now, all together, able to challenge the status quo in a way that was simply not possible a year ago, let alone a decade ago. I’m stoked. Megan’s stoked. Call me if you’re not stoked.

If you’re at ASTD TechKnowledge in Las Vegas tonight, join us at the Chandelier Bar at 8pm in the Cosmopolitan, where we have a lot to celebrate and talk about. Look for the old guy with the mohawk… and Megan. We’ll be representing “from midnight to high noon” (Yes, more “Liquid Swords”). 😉


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