What You Missed at TRYxAPI – ATD ICE

Riptide Software hosted a fantastic event on Saturday for the launch of TRYxAPI.com. The afternoon featured John Delano, Nick Washburn and myself leading a critically needed dialogue around the Experience API about what matters to executive leadership, and to a field that is still largely making sense of major changes happening in the learning & development field.

Our discussions featured Trish Uhl, Russell Duhon, Duncan Welder, Phil and Nick StephensonLizelle van den Berg, Ian GibsonDamon Regan of ADL with participation by many more.

John kicked off the afternoon talking about lessons learned consulting up to senior leaders in manufacturing and tech. In his presentation, John added richer insight into the executive mindset.

“I know training is important. I just don’t know how valuable. So I’ll spend the minimum on it.”

John said this translates down to L&D as “There’s no budget and there’s no permission to do anything different.” How John proposed we counter this mindset is by looking for “performance opportunities” — looking for common learning models and having a plan for how to discuss and execute on different types of opportunities for L&D to make a business impact — starting with needs for information dissemination and skills development.

After much discussion over different learning models and ways to map performance in terms of outcomes, behaviors, systems, content and competency, we all participated in smaller discussions as we practiced defining the value propositions of each others’ projects. This was in service to leveraging Saltbox’s Learning Model Canvas.

After a break where we had an opportunity to use our drink tickets (thank you, Nick ;), I re-introduced the Experience API for not-so-technical practitioners and consultants who need to understand what it is, who it benefits and what challenges it addresses.

Designing for insight from Aaron Silvers

The real highlight of the day, though, was the new site put together by Nick and his team at Riptide Software: TRYxAPI.com. What Nick and the team have put together is a highly usable and useful means to understand not only what xAPI does for businesses — it identifies the open source tools that are freely available for people to use on their own to literally try xAPI in their own organizations with a blueprint for how to replicate those case studies. This customer-centric approach is evident in the case study examples shared to model how other vendors and other organizations can share their tools and their case studies.

Two of Riptide’s examples really resonated strongly. The discussion around what Riptide did for Gate Retail Onboard was a clear example of how a small prototype project for xAPI proved huge ROI in terms of linking how improving the digital availability of performance support, and evaluating its use, impacted sales numbers and then encouraged full-on adoption as revenues dramatically increased for the company. The second example shared was the work Riptide has done in concert with the US Army, improving its sharpshooting training while also improving its sharpshooting training facility.

These case studies inspired a wealth of conversation not just around the shift for L&D with the opportunity to support major business impacts with explicit goals, but the nature of using xAPI to evaluate the very systems themselves, like what Sean Putman started with Altair Software, where the same information being evaluated to help folks improve their performance is being used to also improve the software they’re learning about.

Nick teased that another TRYxAPI event may happen in time for December’s I/ITSEC conference in Orlando. I’ll be there. I can’t wait.