Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative The Power of Global Collaboration Mon, 13 Apr 2015 15:05:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 CMI-5 Sandstone Pre-Release Working Group, April 15-16 Wed, 25 Mar 2015 17:51:38 +0000 CMI-5, a soon-to-be standard which is also conformant to the Experience API (xAPI), will be the focus of a 2-day summit on April 15th and 16th in Alexandria, Virginia. The meeting will take place at the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Co-Lab. ADL has recently inherited CMI-5 and the other work formerly done by AICC (Aviation Industry CBT Committee) and fully supports the direction of this profile of xAPI.

During this summit, the profile will be groomed for its first formal release, which will occur sometime shortly after this meeting. Day 1 will focus on working to make sure everything is as interoperable and sensible as possible for the environment for which CMI-5 is intended and define and validate use-cases for CMI-5. Day 2 will transition us to future development efforts, including how conformance testing will be performed and how the profile should be marketed.

Anyone who is interested in providing input to this effort, its future direction, or scope, is welcome to attend. There is no cost. For more information, including how to register, please visit:

Please read the Spec at before attending to have some background to the efforts to-date.

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NEW! Find Careers at ADL! Fri, 06 Mar 2015 20:29:52 +0000 ADL is pleased to announce several job openings at both our Orlando, FL and Alexandria, VA co-laboratories. More information on vacancies for a Systems Engineer III and two Software Engineer II positions can be found in the new “Jobs” section of the ADL website: Spread the word and consider applying!

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Don’t Miss ADL’s Workshop at OTRONICON! Tue, 13 Jan 2015 21:01:12 +0000 ADL team members Dr. Elaine Raybourn, Dr. Damon Regan, and Robert Chadwick will be conducting a workshop at the Orlando Electronic Interactive Entertainment Convention (OTRONICON) on Saturday, January 17th. The workshop will be ongoing throughout the day in the Creativity Classroom on Level 2 of the Orlando Science Center, starting at 10 AM and running until noon, then again from 1 PM to 4 PM. The workshop, “Great Game Play Starts with Good Game Mechanics,” will allow participants to create their own level of a game in which a car has to travel across a city using maze-like roads and avoid booby traps, roadblocks, and other obstacles to stump the players. Participants will design the level then play each other’s levels to explore what makes games engaging. The workshop is an introduction to developing game logic and mechanics using the Sandbox, an instance of OSD’s Virtual World Framework.

More information on OTRONICON, including this workshop, can be found at

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From ADL Team Member… Craig Wiggins: xAPI Design Cohort, Season 3 Kickoff Tue, 13 Jan 2015 01:53:13 +0000 UPDATE: The xAPI Design Cohort Season 3 Kickoff Meeting was great! Thank you to all who attended.

To register for the xAPI Design Cohort, please complete the following form before Thursday, February 5, 2015


I think I can speak for all of ADL when I say that we’ve been waiting for some time to be able to say that the newest incarnation of the xAPI Design Cohort is almost ready to kickoff.


We’re excited. After the conclusion of last year’s very successful Season 2 – culminating in the xAPI BootCamp – we went back to the drawing board and tried to see if we could improve on what ADL started back in 2013. We’re hoping that you’ll come to our Design Cohort Season 3 Kickoff meeting later this month.

it's happening, isn't it?

In the meantime, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Design Cohort – here are some answers.

What is the xAPI Design Cohort?
The xAPI Design Cohort is a 14-week collaborative experience with ADL. It is a chance for anyone interested in learning technology to get a chance to work on designing and developing for the Experience API (xAPI).

Over a period of 14 weeks, participants work in (primarily virtual) teams use the xAPI to tackle a variety of learning and performance problems. Past design cohorts groups have worked on a variety of problems including:

…and much more. The entire experience ends with an xAPI BootCamp, where participants meet in person to present their projects to their peers. (Check out the wrap-up from last year’s xAPI BootCamp event.)

Why would I want to do this?
The xAPI is a pretty new specification that provides a new paradigm for tracking and considering learning and performance support events. Over the last few years, there has been a lot of discussion of the specification, but not many hands-on examples and learning experiences for designers and tinkerers. ADL started the xAPI Design Cohort program to create a low-stakes, low-stress, high-yield environment for people to explore the possibilities of the xAPI.

When/how long does it happen?
The entire experience will take place over 14 weeks. The entire cohort will meet virtually at least once a week, and individual project teams will meet and work at their own pace outside of those meetings. (Usually teams meet virtually at least once a week, but that is up to them. No pressure.)

Is this free?
Yep. ADL is a U.S. government initiative (meaning we couldn’t take your money even if we wanted to).

What does ADL get out of this?
So, it’s no exaggeration to say that we think that the xAPI the best thing since sliced bread. That said, we know that a few folks sitting in rooms in Alexandria and Orlando are not going to change the world – well, at least not alone. We need your help. We need your creativity and your insight. More importantly, we want to make sure that the xAPI remains true to its roots as an answer to demands from the learning and development community.

Do I have to know how to develop code?
Nope. We welcome all levels of instructional design and development expertise. The primary aspect of all of this is design.

Let’s say I do know how to develop code, will I have any assistance?
ADL has a variety of templates and examples available on GitHub that you can pull from (again, for free).

Do I get to keep my work?
Yes, you do. ADL does not and will not hold any rights to your work. (We may possibly ask you very nicely at some future time if you would like to present your work at an ADL event, but what you work on is yours to keep and do with as you will.)

How do I get started?
The informational kickoff meeting is scheduled for Friday, January 30 at noon EST. Click here to register for the event. Registration for the cohort will begin that day, and a date for the first group meeting will be set shortly thereafter.

The meeting has concluded, but the Design Cohort is just getting started. Register here before Thursday, February 5, 2015!

Can I get some of my co-workers together to form our own team?
Absolutely! While we love to get people to mix it up with other members of the ADL community, working the Design Cohort with colleagues is a good way to get things done that are relevant to your organization.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact me.

Jon Stewart saying "OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod"

Like I said, we’re pretty psyched.

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I/ITSEC 2013 – ADL Papers and Presentations Fri, 02 Jan 2015 19:49:58 +0000 Conference held December 2 – December 5 in Orlando, FL. 

Virtual World Framework

The Virtual World Framework: Implementing a Web Based Client Side Simulator – Rob Chadwick (paper, slides)

Next-Generation Learner

Next Generation Learner Interactions with Personal Assistants for Learning – Dr. Elaine Raybourn, Jeffrey Mills, and Kent Weeks (paper, slides)

Transmedia Learning: A Paradigm for Transcending Stand-Alone Training & Education – Dr. Elaine Raybourn (paper)

Cognitive Task Analysis: Analyzing the Cognition of Gameplay & Game Design – Dr. Shane Gallagher and Shenan Prestwich (paper, slides)

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From ADL Team Member… Craig Wiggins: Summary from I/ITSEC xAPI PlugFest 2014 Fri, 12 Dec 2014 21:09:09 +0000 Looking for resources from the xAPI PlugFest at I/ITSEC 2014? Find them here:

I should say, upfront, that I had never heard of I/ITSEC prior to starting to work for ADL. I’ve been an instructional designer and developer for some time and have checked a few of the major conferences off of my “must see” list. Still, those didn’t prepare me for the sheer size of this event.

I/ITSEC 2014 expo floor

Look for a future article about why instructional designers should definitely take the opportunity to experience the I/ITSEC expo floor at least once. But for now, let’s just focus on the xAPI PlugFest held at I/ITSEC this year.

For a while now, many of us have been talking a lot about what the xAPI can do. While this is helpful, there’s really no substitute for having a live demo to poke with a sharp stick. The xAPI PlugFest at I/ITSEC is our latest attempt to stop talking and simply showcase the real performance support solutions that xAPI adopters have already released into the wild. We invited eight organizations to come down to Orlando, FL and demo what they’ve been working on.

Of course, we weren’t going entirely mum. No one but Tom Creighton subsists on a diet of learning event scrutiny and JSON, so we wanted to make sure that everyone was on board before the afternoon’s anticipated demos. Andy Johnson, Jono Poltrack, Jason Haag and I led the crowd through an overview of the xAPI’s history and purpose, as well as the community efforts surrounding the specification.

Tom Creighton and Lou Wolford talked about ADL’s learning record store (LRS), as well as the SCORM-to-xAPI wrapper, which allows SCORM content to export xAPI statements.

Before we paused for lunch, Jono returned to the stage to explain the SCORM-to-xAPI Roadmap. Allow me to pause dramatically:

animated gif of Santana from Glee, crying

I think the SCORM-to-xAPI Roadmap is the most important innovation for helping both instructional designers and learning management system engineers understand how (and whether) to get started with xAPI. We at ADL plan to build out and promote this guide more in 2015, so be on the lookout for more in coming months. (In the meantime, click the image of the Roadmap’s four phases below to learn more.)

SCORM to xAPI Roadmap

After lunch, we got down to the business of showing off xAPI applications.

  • Megan Torrance of Torrance Learning showed off her firm’s xAPI Hyperdrive-winning RFID tag + xAPI solution for tracking student activities in a childrens science museum.
    Megan Torrance at xAPI PlugFest 2014
  • Mike Hruska of Problem Solutions showcased the Interoperable Performance Assessment (IPA) , which leverages data mined via the xAPI to assess performance and increase training effectiveness.
  • Oscar Marin and Daniel Pfeiffer of Float Mobile Learning demoed both an HTML5 game that exports xAPI game play statements and a smart PDF platform that allows interactions with the text (annotations, inquiries, etc.) to be tracked via xAPI. Speaking for ADL, I know that we’re curious to see the controlled vocabulary used by Float for its application and to see how it compares to that of the existing Ebook xAPI Community of Practice.
  • John Costa of RePubIt and Atsusi Hirumi of the University of Central Florida talked about the confluence of simulations and ebooks via xAPI.
    Dr Hirumi speaks
  • Nick Washburn of Riptide Software showed off two xAPI applications: a social collaboration platform that uses the xAPI to track interactions, and the REAPER project, a system to data mine live training firing ranges and roll up performance data for student and instructor evaluation.
    REAPER screens
  • Harvey Singh of Instancy showed off his ever-expanding ecosystem of xAPI-enabled applications, including LRS-to-LRS communication structures and an authoring tool.
  • Milt Reder, Jason Lewis, and Shelly Blake-Plock of Yet Analytics showcased an array of xAPI applications, including an Android Wear device that tracked heart rate and steps via xAPI, and a flight simulator which instantly reported altitude and crash data to an xAPI learning record store.
  • Our very own Mick Muzac and Steven Vergenz showed off their ADL xAPI Dashboard, which enables low-fuss data visualization pulling from xAPI data.
    Steve Vergenz and Mick Muzac show off the xAPI Dashboard

A final noteworthy event at the PlugFest was Ben Clark’s (Rustici Software) announcement of the xAPI LRS Conformance Test Suite, which is an important step toward validation of xAPI platforms.

In all, the xAPI PlugFest definitely achieved its goal of getting solutions in front of the people. Perhaps more helpful in the long run was the chance for more xAPI adopters to see each others’ demos live and to exchange notes. This PlugFest was a great way to close out a fruitful year of discussion and to kick off a 2015 that will bring many new xAPI milestones.


  1. xAPI PlugFest was great. You should have been there – we really missed you.
  2. Looking for resources? Right here.
  3. Many xAPI implementations were demoed, and both the SCORM-to-xAPI Roadmap and the xAPI LRS Conformance Test Suite were publicized and explained.
  4. You missed out on the spec working group meeting (a.k.a. xAPI Roundtable and Coffee Hour) the next morning…

xAPI nerd board of trustees

…but that’s a story for another time.

Not able to make the PlugFest? Looking for a way to get started with xAPI? Here are a few ways to get involved:

  • Jump right in. Curious about xAPI, but not sure where to begin? Start by getting your hands dirty – visit the xAPI Design Group, where we will soon be announcing the third xAPI Design Cohort (scheduled to kick off in late January 2015. Stay tuned!)
  • Help us develop best practices for using xAPI in your area of expertise. Check out the xAPI Communities of Practice Directory and join the xAPI Communities of Practice and Profiles Group!
  • Shape the future of the specification. Comfortable with advocating the future of learning technology specifications? Interested in privacy issues, universal standards and clean pull requests? Join us online or on our weekly calls as we delve into the minutiae of the specification. (Not for children, the faint of heart or liberal arts majors. Sorry, just kidding. ADL is totally for the children.)

Have questions? Looking for more? Seeking to defend the honor of liberal arts majors? Let me know!

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I/ITSEC 2014 – ADL Papers and Presentations Wed, 10 Dec 2014 18:24:23 +0000 Conference held December 1 – December 4 in Orlando, FL


Experience API (xAPI) Overview – Andy Johnson (slides)

Experience API (xAPI) Update - Andy Johnson (slides)

CMI5 – Andy Johnson (slides)

xAPI Communities of Practice – Jason Haag and Craig Wiggins (slides) (handout)

Moving from SCORM to the Experience API (xAPI): The SCORM to xAPI Roadmap – Jonathan Poltrack (slides)

xAPI Specification Working Groups – Andy Johnson (slides)

xAPI Data Reporting and Analytics – Steven Vergenz and Mick Muzac (slides)

Designing for xAPI – Jason Haag and Andy Johnson (slides)

Experience API Design Cohorts – Craig Wiggins and Andy Johnson (slides)

Next Generation Learner

Videogame Design for Cognitive Enhancement through Micro-Puzzle Cognitive Profiling – Dr. Shane Gallagher and Shenan Prestwich (slides) (paper)


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ADL Announces Mobile Learning Webinar Event! Thu, 30 Oct 2014 20:03:21 +0000 On November 19, 2014, ADL will conduct a mobile learning webinar. Participants can learn about integration of xAPI with mobile learning and performance support, the MoTIF Project, and the 2014 Learning App Challenge winners, as well see short demonstrations of the winning apps.

Please visit the 2014 Mobile Learning Webinar website at for more information, including how to register.

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ADL Announces Mobile Learning Webinar Event! Thu, 30 Oct 2014 19:39:02 +0000 Come learn about xAPI applications for mobile learning, the MoTIF project, and the winners of the 2014 Learning App Challenge.

Beginning at 10:00 AM EST November 19, 2014, ADL will conduct a mobile learning webinar. Through a series of short sessions presented by the ADL Mobile Learning Team, participants can learn more about cutting edge uses of mobile technology for learning and performance support, integration with xAPI, and research efforts to inform a framework for mobile learning instructional design.  ADL will also introduce the winners of the 2014 Learning App Challenge and provide each of them the opportunity to present a short demonstration of their apps.

Scheduled sessions include:

  • 10:00 AM: Welcome & Intro
  • 10:05-10:35 AM: Transition Assistance Program (TAP) App Demonstration & Overview and Use of xAPI (Marcus Birtwhistle)
  • 10:45-11:15 AM: xAPI + JQuery Mobile Demonstration for Developing Courses or Performance Support (Tyler Mulligan)
  • 11:20 AM-12:00 PM: Overview and Deliverables from the MoTIF Project (Peter Berking)
  • 12:00-12:40 PM: Learning App Challenge Winner Announcements & Demonstrations (Jason Haag)

Please visit the 2014 Mobile Learning Webinar website at for more information about the event, including how to register.

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Don’t Miss Out: ADL at I/ITSEC 2014! Fri, 17 Oct 2014 18:44:24 +0000 I/ITSEC 2014 is approaching, and ADL will be involved in numerous ways over the course of the week. Keep these events on your radar and don’t miss out on a chance to engage with ADL staff and partners!

Staff members Dr. Elaine Raybourn and Dr. Shane Gallagher will be holding sessions at I/ITSEC to present ADL research. On Monday, December 1, Dr. Raybourn will be presenting her tutorial “Transmedia Learning in the Wild: Supporting Military Training Through Story-driven Engagement” (Room S320D, 0830-1000). Dr. Gallagher will present his paper “Videogame Design for Cognitive Enhancement through Micro-Puzzle Cognitive Profiling” (co-authored with ADL staff member Shenan Prestwich) on Thursday, December 4 (Room S320C, 0830-1000).

ADL will also conduct an Experience API (xAPI) PlugFest on Wednesday, December 3 at this year’s I/ITSEC. Participants will spend the morning learning about how the xAPI works and how it can be used to increase learning and performance effectiveness by using open source solutions to track and share learning data among training systems, no matter how the training is accomplished (e.g., via mobile device, social media, games, virtual environments, simulators). The afternoon will be a unique opportunity for attendees to engage with xAPI-enabled systems through hands-on tutorials.

The PlugFest is open to all registered I/ITSEC participants. Non-I/ITSEC participants can register for the Special Event by going to and using the promotion code “PLGFST.” The $75 registration cost is technically a one-day registration for Wednesday Dec 3rd (PlugFest Day), to include lunch and access to that day’s events, papers, and exhibits.

Additionally, we are especially pleased that the ADL Partnership Lab Directors from Latin America, Canada, the UK, Norway, Poland, Korea, Romania, Serbia, New Zealand, the Center for Intelligent Tutoring, and NATO Allied Command Transformation (ACT) will be on hand in the NATO ACT booth (Booth #1907).  ADL staff will also be present in the NATO ACT booth throughout the week. Stop by and learn more about the activities of ADL and our Partner nations!

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