If you haven’t heard about Tin Can yet, you certainly will soon – so we think a quick tip is in order.
The Tin Can API is the new version of SCORM that's being curated by ADL. It has the potential to greatly expand what we track and how we track it.
Five very good things about Tin Can
1. It doesn’t require a browser
The current versions of SCORM require a course to be launched in a browser. Tin Can only requires that your software is connected to a network to transmit data – even if it’s just occasionally! Hello mobile apps, games, offline content and more!
2. Content can live outside of your LMS
With current versions of SCORM, content needs to reside on your LMS server (with the exception of some complicated workarounds). Tin Can will allow us to host content just about anywhere. This will make maintaining content – especially content that gets deployed on multiple LMS needs to reside on your LMS server – much easier. It will also open up a world of possibilities in terms of what makes up a course – a course can now draw elements from a variety of sources without those elements being on the same server. The idea that content or courses need to live in your LMS is getting kind of old. If you can pull in the data you need to track effectively, what more do you need to have in there? Get used to the term ‘Learning Record Store’ (LRS) coming up more frequently to describe what the core function of the LMS is.
3. You don’t have to initiate learning through an LMS
An obvious extension of the previous point: with Tin Can, a course or activity will send data upon completion no matter how a learner accessed it. The data sent is controlled by the course creator. Think about a course that’s currently being accessed on your intranet or customer portal. With Tin Can a learner can take the course and, upon completion, the course will track that user without them having to log in to an LMS – pretty cool! This helps a lot if your view is that content should be less course-based and more resource-driven. The resources can live in your intranet, or in a CMS – both of which are likely to be more searchable than your LMS. Better for the learner experience, and less pressure on the LMS to be something it’s not.
4. It track everything
With current versions of SCORM we are limited in what we can track, but with Tin Can we won’t be limited to just tracking quizzes and course status. We’ll be able to pull data for a section of a course and gather details on each decision of a scenario and each click of the screen if we so desire. Tin Can offers the potential to significantly expand what we track and give us new flexibility in how we report it.
5. It can dynamically pull data into a course
Do you want to include pricing information in a course, but the pricing information changes monthly? Or include something a learner inputs at the beginning of a course later in the course? Tin Can offers the ability to pull in data either from an external source or from data generated within the course itself. This has huge potential for performance support, for example mobile support for salespeople who need current pricing information.
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