Tin Can – Drilled Down

11th September 2013

In our last post‘?on gamification and e-learning’?we touched upon Tin Can API, the new standard which will be taking over SCORM for e-learning. We’??re sure that you would like to know how it works and why it’??s needed, so this week we’??ll be looking at it a little more in depth.

Tin Can allows much better integration with mobile and is fully compatible with older SCORM content, meaning that it can easily be introduced into existing e-learning software. Tin Can is flexible and powerful and allows for a scalable and agile learning solution that can recognise and communicate with a range of platforms. These include:

  • Mobile learning
  • Simulations
  • Serious gaming
  • Virtual worlds
  • Real-world activities
  • Offline learning
  • Collaboration

How does Tin Can work?

Tin Can is an API (Application Program Interface) that is open source and managed by ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning). It allows activities to be recorded by sending secure statements to a Learning Record Store (LRS) in the form of nouns, verbs, or objects?? think:??I did this’??.

Actions can be taken anywhere, at any place where it’??s likely that the user will be learning and all of these can be recorded via the API. The LRS can be linked to a LMS or can be used alone.

For managers, these LRSs can be linked to others and shared and for the e-learner, this means that their training can be transferred from one department, or even organisation, to another. This is thanks to the??personal data locker’?? that comes with the API and allows employees to really take charge of their own future by managing training effectively.

Freedom to use any device

The emergence of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in the workplace is accelerating at a rapid pace as more and more workers prefer to use their own devices. With Tin Can any device can be used to send statements, from mobile phones to desktop computers. It’??s not even necessary to have a continuous internet connection, as learning can be carried out in-app.

For more information on all of the different aspects to Tin Can, check out The Layers of the Tin Can Onion by Mike Rustici.

Upgrading from SCORM

There’??s no rush to implement the Tin Can standard, SCORM is very likely to be around for quite some time yet. However, for those that want to use SCORM content with Tin Can, it’??s easiest to use the SCORM ENGINE. This can import content, which can then be tied to statements for the Tin Can API and then sent to a LRS.

You can also use the SCORM Driver for content files and this is free for non-commercial use. This can also be used alongside authoring tools to create Tin Can content packages. If you have none of this, then you will need a good developer in order to implement Tin Can statements.

This of course sounds daunting and it’??s unlikely that it’??s something that an organisation would carry out themselves, with most likely to prefer using their existing e-learning vendor to advise and upgrade.

Whilst SCORM is perfectly capable and will be for the foreseeable future, the introduction of Tin Can makes for exciting movement in the e-learning industry. The ability to track learning from any device means that learners will have even more freedom to advance their knowledge, without any real interruption to real life.

How does this affect current e-learning modules?

As an organisation, Marshall ACM does everything it can do stay at the forefront of E-Learning technology. Following on from requests from clients, we are moving towards incorporating Tin Can into our Learning Management System. Once complete, clients will enjoy multi-platform use, along with all of the other benefits listed in this article.

The future of e-learning certainly looks bright and it’??s likely that we’??ll see some real advancements in years to come, as more people begin learning in a variety of different circumstances and environments.

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