Recommended Viewing: Learning Analytics Webinar on Caliper and xAPI

If you follow learning analytics closely, you may be aware that there are two learning analytics standards—Caliper and xAPI—that appear competitive with each other at a casual glance. A webinar hosted by the Apereo Foundation between Anthony White, who is deeply involved with Caliper in the IMS working group on behalf of the University of Michigan, and Aaron Silvers, who works on xAPI through the Data Interoperability Standards Consortium (DISC), had an hour-long conversation about how the two standards relate to each other.

The Apereo news page where I found the video gives a disclaimer about the views of the presenters being solely their own, which sounds like a standard thing but leapt out at me as being a little odd in this context. I’ve heard second-hand rumblings that the growth of these two standards has re-envigorated the periodic diplomatic negotiations between the two standards bodies about how they should be working together (some of which is actually confirmed in the video), so I suspect that more than the usual care is being taken to make the conversation officially unofficial. Still, it’s really helpful to hear two practitioners who are familiar with the respective specifications talk about the details, if you’re into that sort of thing.

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About Michael Feldstein

Michael Feldstein is co-Publisher of e-Literate, co-Producer of e-Literate TV, and Partner in MindWires Consulting. For more information, see his profile page.
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One Response to Recommended Viewing: Learning Analytics Webinar on Caliper and xAPI

  1. Rob Abel says:

    Hi Michael-

    Thanks for referencing. I’d like to publicly thank Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) for joining as an IMS Contributing Member and helping to drive this conversation in IMS. For those interested, here is the link to the materials from the first meeting, including the summary comparison that was referenced in the webinar:

    There is no agreement yet between IMS & ADL on how to proceed or if to proceed on alignment or convergence of Caliper and xAPI. It is clear that we both want to keep moving and protect the investment in the installed base of each. We have another session coming up – open to the public – November 9 at Arizona State University – details here:

    My own personal opinion at this point is that xAPI is better for implementing a SCORM-style “tracking” approach –but much improved in terms of the flexibility of what “statements” can be tracked, stored, retrieved, etc. Caliper’s strength is for universities and or suppliers capturing large scale analytics streams in the context of educational institution edtech.

    Thus I think that Caliper and xAPI are largely complementary, addressing these different needs. If we can figure out how to combine them in a pragmatic way as both are being adopted it could be very powerful. It’s complex though because LTI already can provide the SCORM-style tracking – so we would likely want to align with LTI as well (very doable, but another moving part).

    Stay tuned, Rob Abel

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