Understanding xAPI

December 16, 2022

In a recent podcast, our managing director discussed an introduction to xAPI and highlighted some of the benefits. In addition to the intriguing discussion in the podcast, we compiled some of the most commonly asked questions when exploring xAPI.

What is xAPI and how did it come about?

As of 2022, most LMS systems are still powered by SCORM, a technology standard and framework that was created to ensure that all learning content and data are standardised, secure and interoperable. It follows a traditional model of assigning digital learning and receives limited static information such as a completion date and score.

Experience API (or xAPI) was birthed over a decade ago to shift towards providing an advanced framework for capturing a higher level of user experience focussed learning. The role of xAPI is to provide learning data that delivers the capability to understand and improve the learner’s experience. It has helped advance standardised learning from limited and static, to dynamic functions with unlimited learning touchpoints.

What is the difference between an LMS and LXP?


A Learning Management System (LMS) is a learning system that adopts a traditional digital learning model. The SCORM standard governs a structured approach to content, data and results. From a learner experience standpoint, an LMS focuses on static and siloed learning models where learners are assigned learning and complete it on their own. 

Using SCORM, an LMS measures and reports on outcomes such as attempts, time and date completed and single assessment results. It’s possible to store other basic information but anything more advanced often requires a workaround of some sort. 


A Learning Experience Platform (LXP) adopts a more user-centric approach to learning. It gives control to the learner over the pace, content and information they explore. This approach provides a library of learning and allows learners to forge their own paths using recommendations and other tools to act as a guide. An LXP can utilise either SCORM or xAPI-supported content.

Some systems, like ClearXP, use xAPI to track every interaction a learner has with the platform, providing rich and detailed, granular data.

What advanced functions and capabilities does xAPI enable?

Thanks to the increased amount of data available through xAPI, you can create new ways for learners to interact with learning programs. This allows you to truly understand your learners journey and gain insights into the type of learning they prefer. You can also incorporate new delivery methods such as VR learning, group learning, artificial intelligence, advanced gamification and much more.

What is an LRS and what does it add to Learning?

A Learning Record Store (LRS) tracks learning data and measures your learners’ journeys. Reports, dashboards, optimisation and A.I. algorithms use xAPI statement data to help enable better learning experiences.

What data can I get with an xAPI LXP/LMS that I can’t get on a traditional LMS?

An xAPI solution maps granular data and analytics that accurately tell the story of your learners’ learning experiences. Fine-grained assessment data can pinpoint areas of improvement for both learners and content, making it much easier to diagnose problem areas.

Furthermore, tracked performance data such as preferred learning practices can then be used to classify learners into different profiles to inform future delivery methods.

Why is learning experience reporting so important?

By understanding a learner’s entire experience, you can continuously present learning that suits your learners’ requirements. Measuring a range of touchpoints across the learner journey presents you with far more opportunities to measure effectiveness. Limited datasets can provide information about completions and dates, but an extensive and comprehensive dataset provides opportunities to measure true comprehension.

How can I start the journey of adopting xAPI?

Before you begin using an LRS or an xAPI-powered LXP, you should identify what data you are looking to measure. Through xAPI you have the potential to unlock many insights but without an understanding of what you are trying to measure, you will acquire too much information and things could get difficult to interpret. Another important consideration is to select an LXP provider that has worked with a range of organisations and is able to provide experience and expertise to your requirements. Choosing an LXP partner who will journey with you is paramount on getting the best out of your LXP.   

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