What is Tin-Can API?

Designing Digitally


It has been almost a decade since the last major SCORM update was introduced to the learning community. SCORM 2004 was a great evolution from 2.1, and now the members of Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) and Rustic have taken learner tracking another step further by Introducing Tin-Can API. Tin-Can API is a new type of tracking protocol for learning management systems that gives employers new options to see a more in-depth breakdown of their employees training within the Learning Management System (LMS).

"So what?" you ask. "We have had SCORM for a long time now, and it tells me my employees have passed the course."

You are correct. SCORM is able to bookmark, track time spent in the course, track if the learner has completed the course (pass/fail), and provide a score for their effort. This works great for traditional presentation style eLearning developments we have seen for the past decade, but we are now seeing large demands for social learning, serious games, simulations, and virtual worlds to be used for training.

The issue is that the old SCORM could only tell us if learners have completed their training, recommended courses, etc. SCORM does not tell us the effectiveness of the training, what the learner explored, what they interacted with, how long they were in a particular area, etc.

So why do we need all this new information?

As learning evolves from the traditional presentation style to a social and collaborative learning environment that uses 2D user engagement along with 3D environments, organizations will want to track more information regarding what a learner has done within these new learning approaches. Along with these approaches new technologies, such as gaming engines, HTML5, etc., are providing more possibilities of what can be done with employee training, which means more possibilities for tracking users.

Tin-Can API is able to track a wide range of learning activities, including:

  • Mobile learning
  • Virtual worlds
  • Serious games
  • Social learning
  • Training simulations
  • Experiential learning
  • Collaborative learning

Watch this great overview video of what the Tin-Can API is capable of below:

This information can be valuable to organizations as a whole. Tin-Can API can provide more definitive information regarding how well training is being perceived in your organization, along with comprehensive data about a realm that does not consist of linear learning instruction online.

We are now seeing software applications such as Articulate Storyline allow for the export of Tin-Can API when publishing a course. In the future you will see more of the development software suits utilizing Tin-Can API.

See how Tin-Can API works with Articulate Storyline: http://www.articulate.com/support/kb_article.php?product=st1&id=yhy5y6afimyc

Now, one other thing to consider is that you must have an LMS that offers Tin-Can API. What does this mean? It means that, before trying to include Tin-Can API in your courses, you need to speak with your LMS administrator, to ensure it will work with your existing LMS.

For more information about Tin-Can API view ADL’s website at: http://tincanapi.com/