xAPI vs SCORM: The Future of eLearning Analytics?


xAPI and SCORM are the two sides of the same coin. Both are eLearning standard and developed to track learner’s progress. However, there is a massive difference between them in terms of features and future scope.

You must be knowing that SCORM is widely used and supported by almost every Learning Management System and rapid course development tool.

We’re working in the eLearning field from the last eight years and hear the same question almost every day. Which is the best LMS standard? xAPI vs. SCROM? Why should I choose xAPI?

xAPI and SCORM provide a framework and a set of instruction for tracking learner’s progress. This structure is used to pass information to the LMS’s reporting system or a Learning Record Store.

Let’s dig more about both and find which one you should choose and why?

What is SCORM?

SCORM stands for Shareable Content Object Reference Model. It was developed back in 1999. The first two versions of SCORM was not much popular and effective.

However, SCORM 1.2 and SCORM 2004 became the most popular eLearning standard and used until now very actively. Companies prefer SCORM because it’s usage is effortless and supported by the broad range of LMS’s.

SCORM can report the basic activities of users like:

  1. Completion
  2. Time Spent
  3. Pass/Fail
  4. User Score

In today’s technological world, learning is happening everywhere. Every other guy has a different kind of smart device like smart display, smartphone tablets, etc.

Device compatibility is a big problem for SCORM, as you know SCORM properly works only inside an LMS. It has very less activity tracking options and compatibility with different types of devices.

Pros of SCORM

  • Easy to create
  • Control learner’s pace
  • Widely supported

Cons of SCORM

  • No offline learning support
  • Can be tracked in only LMS
  • Limited tracking

What is xAPI?

xAPI or Tin Can API or Experience API is the future of eLearning analysis. We’re saying this because xAPI enables us to record every activity of the user from any platform.

Initially, it was called Project Tin Can but later it’s developers, ADL and Rustici Softwares launched it as xAPI or Experience API in April 2013.

You can record activities and analyze reports to personalize content according to learner behaviour.

Read: What is Experience API?

Tin Can API can be used on any platform and has a vast day to day use cases. You can send xAPI statements with these primary technologies:

  1. Webpages
  2. Mobiles
  3. Simulation
  4. Games and many others.

With this technology standard, you can record the experience of a specific person or a whole group’s activities.

Pros of xAPI

  • It can work outside LMS.
  • Works offline.
  • It works everywhere, like Mobile, Tablet, PC, etc.
  • Deep activity tracking.

Cons of xAPI

  • The only problem with xAPI is, it is still not integrated with large no. of LMS(s)

Comparison: xAPI vs SCORM Features

S. No.Supported Activities TrackingxAPISCORM
1Track completion
2Track time
3Track pass/fail
4Report a single score
5Report multiple scores
6Detailed test results
7Solid security
9No LMS required
10No internet browser required
11Keep complete control over your content
12No cross-domain limitation
13Use mobile apps for learning
14Platform transition (i.e. computer to mobile)
15Track serious games
16Track simulations
17Track informal learning
18Track real-world performance
19Track offline, interactive, adaptive, blended,
long-term, and team-based learning.

As you can see in the table above, xAPI has more features and supports interoperability in comparison with SCORM. You can say xAPI is the future of eLearning analysis because we all need data or say “more data” to use and perform operations.

Data always help us in getting results, xAPI is providing exceptional user insight that has the potential to solve some complex real-world problems.

In my words, “xAPI is deep tracking technology works with great flexibility in terms of devices and platforms. Also, Experience API allows us to capture big data on human behavior.”

Hope you find this information useful, I would love to hear your thoughts on xAPI vs SCROM battle in the comment box.

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