Calling Adopters!


By Andrew Downes

Since joining Rustici Software at the start of November, I’ve been working my way through the list of adopters on making contact, updating and adding entries and helping people to do xAPI better. I’m now getting to the end of that list, so this blog is an invitation to anybody not on that list to get in touch.

Equally, if you are on the adopters list and haven’t seen an email from me (maybe I mailed the wrong person in your org or the message got lost), or if you’ve had an email from me and not yet replied, this post is for you too!

So why do I want to speak to you? Well…

Updating the adopters list

Some of the entries on the adopters list are brand new, but many of them are a couple of years old now. What you’re doing with xAPI will have developed over that time and in some cases website URLs, logos and product/company names have changed, too. We want to make sure the list is accurate.

We’re also transitioning the adopters list from being a simple wall of logos to being a useful directory for people looking to implement xAPI in their organization. Our vision is that somebody looking for a xAPI conformant product, some xAPI related services or an interesting story from another organization will be able to find that here. As the first step towards that, we’ve split out the adopters list into three categories:

  • Consumer: organizations with an interesting story to tell. This is a place to share and show off implementations of xAPI in real life organizations.
  • Product: an actual tool that you can use to implement xAPI. Use this section to find the products you’re looking for that support xAPI.
  • Vendor: Any vendor that’s adopting xAPI. This section contains consulting, content and bespoke development companies, alongside the vendors who provide the products in the products section.

Tin Can Adopters

For an organization adopting xAPI, we hope you’ll find this division useful. If you’re a vendor with a product, the implication for you is that we now need to give you an entry in both the product and vendor sections. Please get in touch to help us do that. If you’re a services vendor and aren’t listed, we want to hear from you, too.

Tin Can Adopter Example

We’re also collecting a little more information about adopters. Click onto RISC within the product/LMSs category (yeh, you can link to a particular category now) and you’ll see a handy little Conformance details’ button. Clicking this will list the verbs and activity types used by RISC in their PDF annotator that you’ll hear about in the January webinar. This information will make it easier for us all to build products that interoperate with each other and gives consumers an idea of the kinds of events that are tracked with xAPI. We’re also hoping to encourage people to make more use of recipes and make interoperability even easier.

Helping you do xAPI better

Another really important reason I want to speak to you is to help you to do xAPI better. For each of the adopters I’ve spoken to, I’ve asked for a demo of their product and ideally to get them to send statements to my SCORM Cloud account. This allows me to see the verbs and activity types used, but more importantly allows me to give feedback on the content of the statements sent. It’s one thing to technically follow xAPI in terms of statement structure, but it’s another to populate the statement content well.

Vendors are responding that they find this feedback extremely helpful and are using it to improve their products. I’m essentially providing a small amount of free expert consultancy. The kinds of issues I’ve found so far are things like:

  • Not using the right identifiers for verbs
  • Not using activity types, context or result at all
  • Technical issues such as invalid ISO 8601 timestamps

I feed these issues back to the vendor, and will blog about common issues likely to affect multiple products (like the ISO 8601 one I blogged about recently). We don’t publish details of issues with a specific product; we’re here to help you improve, not to judge.

I’m one of the main people actually writing the latest patch revision of the xAPI specification designed to make the document easier to understand and implement. I need to know about the struggles you’re facing with your implementation and the things you get wrong so that we can make the specification clearer for everybody.

If you’d like a free product review to get some feedback on your implementation, I’d love to hear from you, even if you’re not ready to go live on the adopters page just yet. I really want to help you do xAPI better. If you want help doing xAPI better,get in touch.

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