Let the Pieces of the Puzzle Come Together With xAPI

"Depending on an LMS alone to understand learning is like trying to play an entire football game between the ten-yard line and goal line. To say the least, it would be an incomplete game with a frustrating degree of finitude. Our LMS uses xAPI to connect all your learning pieces allowing you to see the entire picture and allow your learners to make use of the entire field of digital and offline learning tools." Andrew McGarrity, CEO, Thrivist

Online and blended learning have opened new doors for learning. However, tracking and recording learning experiences that happen outside the learning management system (LMS) can be challenging. Sure projects can be completed and uploaded and teachers can add anecdotal notes to the system, but true recording of what the learner is doing to gain knowledge doesn’t happen outside of the LMS in online classrooms.

Learning happens everywhere. The experiences can be in a formal setting like a classroom or part of a social setting like Twitter. Some of the most powerful learning experiences are those that take place in the informal environments! So shouldn’t those experiences be part of a student’s learning record? Wouldn’t that help a teacher better predict her students’ needs?  Of course it would!

Taking into consideration the best features in an LMS for K-12 school systems, Thrivist set out to go a step farther.  Employing a new technology called xAPI, the Thrivist LMS has the ability to not only track formal learning experiences, such as, lessons, quizzes, and tests, but informal learning experiences that are taking place outside of the LMS! All of this doesn’t happen in isolation, either, and this is the best part! The xAPI technology used by the LMS bridges the gap of learning taking place online and offline, and the Learning Record Store (LRS) collects this information and stores it for multiple levels of reporting.

puzzle pieces of learning
Image Credit: iStock Photo


xAPI helps put all the puzzle pieces together to provide a complete picture of the learning experience, so teachers can truly enable students to thrive! We know that students seek knowledge outside of the classroom, so we cannot expect them to remain in the LMS to learn either. The difference is, in a physical classroom we can observe behaviors and participate in a way that has until now had many barriers for online learning.  With the implementation of xAPI technology, the Learning Record Store is able to capture those meaningful, and often, informal learning behaviors that students engage in. A student visits YouTube and watches a video tied to the content he is studying, uploads a file for a research project to read later, or plays a game, and all of these behaviors are captured in the Learning Record Store. Now when a teacher is reviewing the student’s progress in the online course, the data is capturing more authentic learning experiences and providing a well-rounded picture of the student’s needs.

As a former teacher and administrator, I often used outside resources in my online classroom to supplement the content in the course. However, with the limited technology available to me at the time, I was unable to collect any objective data about these materials.  It was frustrating because educators want to validate the materials worth when using it with their students, and there was just no way to do that. When I heard about the technology that Thrivist is using and the abilities of the LMS and LRS through xAPI, I was thrilled!  I knew that is was going to resonate with teachers because there is nothing else like it that I’m aware of, and it fills a gap that has existed since online and blended learning emerged.

Thrivist has not only provided an intuitive and responsive LMS, it has leveraged new technologies to maximize learning.  As we continue to evolve in the digital age, I can say that Thrivist is the ‘next generation’ LMS!

  • To learn more about xAPI and the possibilities it provides in the Thrivist LMS, be sure to follow us on Twitter (@thrivist_edu) and Facebook (facebook.com/thrivistedu) for the latest news when articles are posted.


Barbra Thoeming Director of Education Strategy at Thrivist, LLC