What’s the Deal with Tin Can and xAPI?

The first thing to get out of the way when we discuss Tin Can or Experience API (xAPI) is that they are the same thing. “Project Tin Can” was just the name of the original research project that resulted in xAPI. So that’s one less term you need to look up. xAPI is a standard format for communicating and storing learning data. It tells everyone what data to store and how to write it down whenever a learner completes a learning experience. Storing individual experiences, not just quiz scores, is the driving factor of xAPI and Tin Can. But where does xAPI fit with the rest of the educational technologies out there including SCORM? Is it a replacement for SCORM? We’ll find out more as we dig into this topic!

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Build vs Buy: Learning Management Systems

It’s a question I’ve been asked many times as an elearning consultant and as a developer: is it better to build your own LMS or buy one off the shelf? Having worked in organizations that bought, built, and eventually sold LMSs, I’ve been lucky to see some of the good and bad outcomes from each case. Let’s take a look at each option and see when they might be appropriate.

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5 Tips for Instructional Designers Without Formal Training

It is becoming more and more common for businesses to dedicate specialized resources to organizational learning. As such, more workers are getting degrees in fields such as educational technology, educational psychology, instructional design and more to fill this need. A degree, diploma, or certificate in an education related field, while very useful, is not necessary to work in instructional design. In fact, some of the best educators I have had a chance to work with did not have formal training but were experts in their own field that adapted to an educational role through experience and self-study.

Here are some tips if you are working in an instructional design role without formal training. These are attitudes and approaches that often come as a result of formal training that might not be explicitly stated.

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ELearning and Scaffolding

Making your eLearning materials interactive always sounds great at the beginning of a project. Interactivity has become synonymous with engaging and fun. But there’s a catch—interactivity can be very tricky to execute, especially if you don’t have a deliberate and realistic design to implement right at the start. How should we design eLearning materials that are also interactive?

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CMS vs LMS: What’s the Difference?

Ever since the internet came and took over our lives and our work, programmers have been creating online management systems. Customer relationship management, content management, learning management, and so on. Each management system did something unique that made it specialized for its purpose. But the number of systems that became available diluted the meaning and made it hard for users and organizations to determine what’s best for them. Let’s take a quick look at Learning Management Systems (LMS) and what makes them specialized for learning apart from other management systems such as Content Management Systems (CMS).

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What’s the Deal with SCORM?

Everyone working in Elearning should be aware of SCORM and xAPI even if you don’t work directly with elearning tools or code. That’s because SCORM (and xAPI) is not a specific tool or technology but a big-picture set of standards that ensure elearning content is shareable and reusable.

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Instructional Designers: Assemblers or Directors?

Instructional designers are not primarily assemblers, although it might be easy to associate instructional designers with some commonly used tools (such as: captivate, storyline, sharepoint, wordpress, fabric, etc) and assume that’s all they do. These tools are great for assembling concepts, multimedia, quizzes, and more into a tangible package, but that is just one piece of an instructional designer’s job.

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Instructional Design Skills on Your Team

Creating a world-class training program, like most other big projects, is not the responsibility of a single person; it takes a team to make something great. Think about all the pieces a learner touches when they go through an effective training program—administrators, instructors, online infrastructure,  multimedia, online resources, live training, assessments, etc. Training programs are complex things made up of multimedia, processes, and design and more that require a wide array of skills.

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Sharing the Load with your LMS

When you’re an LMS Admin, your LMS is your workhorse and partner. It should be doing the leg work so you can focus on big-picture planning, decision making, and working with your stakeholders. Does your LMS fulfill its duties as your trusty companion or do you find yourself doing most of the heavy lifting?

Here are a few ways we’ve seen LMSs help or hinder their admins. These are based on real stories and experiences (the good and the bad)!

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What’s in Your Instructional Design Tech Kit?

Hello learning professionals! When you’ve been working in training for a while, you get attached to the stuff you work with (and the people too I guess). In this blog post, I want to share about some of the tools that have become part of my everyday work and why I think every instructional designer should consider them.

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