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The Advanced Distributed Learning Initiative

Tim Martin iFest Presentation

Making Meaning in xAPI: Beyond a Specification, the Case for Reference Standard Profiles

Tim Martin

With conformance and certification for LRSs arriving, semantic interoperability is the next requirement for confident and wide adoption and deployment of xAPI.

Though a profile specification for xAPI is under active development and consideration by ADL and the broader xAPI community, there has yet to be presented a clearly defined set of concepts that could serve as a reference standard for learning analytics derived from LRS-based ecosystems.

This lack of core concepts is currently limiting intelligent data capture and will eventually limit the potential of xAPI-based reporting and analytics. Developing an authoring tool for Learning Record Providers without a baseline for useful concepts is especially difficult.

We will review the current state of conformance and certification for LRSs and discuss challenges associated with extending it to Learning Record Providers with a specific focus on profiles. We will suggest some potential extensions of LRS behavior that could be used to better accommodate support for profiles.

We will also review IMS Caliper’s metric profiles, current Communities of Practice, Rustici Software’s Registry, and authoring tool capabilities and make a compelling case for the need for a set of standard profiles.

A reference standard set of profiles will advance the strategic goal of semantic interoperability quickly and in important ways.


Tim is the CEO of Rustici Software, the leading provider of products and services geared toward e- learning conformance and learning and development analytics. Hundreds of learning management systems, authoring tools, and content libraries are powered by Rustici Software technology. Tim has been helping companies and people understand and implement learning standards for more than 10 years. He defines product direction and manages operations for all branches of the organization. Under Tim’s leadership, Rustici Software has been awarded Silver and Gold Brandon Hall Group Excellence Awards for Best Learning Technology Implementations.


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