Integrating Your AR/VR Solution With Your LMS
February 17 2020
Setting up a learning management system (LMS) to work with your augmented or virtual reality training modules sounds great. But have you considered the logistics of it?
If you’re a one-instructor operation, your setup should be pretty easy. But what if you’re a multi-instructor show? What if you have other people, or even other companies, reporting to you and aggregating xAPI data?
Right now you might be thinking, “So what? I’d have oodles of awesome training stats.” But have you considered how you’d meld all these sources together?
Speak the xAPI Language
Let’s break it down. xAPIs work with a set formula to collect data: noun + verb + object. For the system to record how often Megan picks up the beaker, the xAPI tracks how often the user (noun) picked up (verb) the beaker (object).
In essence, the phrase “the person (noun) grabbed (verb) the beaker (object)” is the same. What if one instructor is using the second formula and another is using the first? When the data is sent to your xAPI, these two scenarios won’t combine into the same records.
xAPI data flourishes when they’re measuring an identifiable action in a repeatable, controllable fashion. Having different names for the same action just won’t do.
Let me introduce granularity. Granularity is the detail with which events and API statements are recorded. This quantifier is measured on a scale from low to high. For the sake of this discussion, let’s identify three levels of granularity: low, medium, and high.
One way of looking at granularity is to consider a cake. A low level of granularity asks if the cake was made: yes or no. A medium level would consider the cake’s ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs… you get the idea. The highest level of granularity would look at how the cake was made. Were the eggs beaten until fluffy? Was the flour sifted? How long was the cake baked?
The higher level of granularity you have, the more precise your xAPI formulas have to be. The xAPI is collecting tons of information that would be impossible to sift through without a program and system handling the data for you. You’re gathering your xAPI data for a reason; the least you can do is make sure it all goes to the same place and under the same stats.
Standardize Your Verbiage
Even if your database can be programmed to accept multiple phrases for the same action, it’s still best to have some guidelines in place. Standardizing your verbs and object names would help. Combine common terms into a single document or source and share it with your team of instructors or vendors, keeping everyone on the same page.
For example, have one, consistent word for the “user” and make sure it’s used among all of your teams. Or make sure the word “picked up” isn’t replaced by “grabbed” somewhere down the road.
If you and your vendors are using multiple formulas to mean the same thing, having a middle man could help. For example, at Circuit Stream we use our own software development kit (SDK) to sort through our customer's xAPI data. Our Circuit Stream Platform consolidates xAPI formulas from multiple sources, converts them into uniformed data, and then transfers them to the client’s xAPI.
Get the Stats
Our Circuit Stream Platform stores your xAPI statements in an LRS (Learning Record Store). With a bit of customization, the platform can even merge the formulas that say “picked up” with the ones that say “grabbed.” In turn, the xAPI will convert the data from the LRS into useful data for your LMS.
After we get all of your training stats and results in one place, our platform organizes it into data that you can read and understand. You’ll be able to see for yourself which employees excel at their training and who could use a little more help. Not to mention, the results can also reveal who has an aptitude for the work, and who is missing the necessary skill set.
By working with our customers, Circuit Stream is able to develop a central repository customized to your company’s standards and xAPI formulas. Check out the diagram below:
In the example above, the Circuit Stream Platform is combining xAPI data from four different vendors. Our SDK then reads the data and turns it into intelligible information. By the time the data is in the company’s hands, it’s converted into data and results the company can actually relate to. For example, how did the employee grab the tool? Did he use his right hand or his left? How long did it take him?
Whether you need a middle man or not, the general process for setting up an LMS with your XR simulations is the same. You start with formulas to collect data, the data is stored in your LRS, and then it’s converted into results you can understand.
What is not so streamlined is how you get all of your xAPI formulas to merge; creating reliable data for your LMS. If you’re just getting started creating your xAPI, get a head start on regulating your xAPI verbiage. Make sure your formulas are consistent, using the same terms and equations across all of your vendors and instructors. As your company or organization grows, keep everyone on the same page with a central repository for xAPI verbs and meanings.
If you’ve already taken the plunge and are in over your head with data that just won’t merge, you may need an extra hand to clean your dirty laundry. Check out our Circuit Stream Platform and drop us a line. With a bit of help, your xAPI can be tidied up in no time.