Tin Can API Basics

This was a blog post I wrote after attending a Tin Can session at DevLearn 2012.  I had been waiting for the perfect time to post it and with the new Tin Can release in Litmos, I think now is the time!


During DevLearn, one session I felt that I absolutely had to attend was “Breaking the Shackles of SCORM:  Tin Can API Basics” presented by Tim Martin of Rustici Software.  Being apart of Litmos, one of the first Tin Can LMS adopters, I have heard A LOT about Tin Can, however I was not sure if I completely understood what it meant.  After attending this session, some research of my own and conversations with others I now feel confident to share the knowledge I have gained… in plain English.

Why have we outgrown SCORM?

SCORM has been, and still is, a great tool for creating all kinds of learning applications that can assist a learner in absorbing information.  The problem with this is that there are even more opportunities to learn outside of the system and SCORM cannot handle this.  It is the nature of technology to progress, therefore, something new had to be created to capture whatever this something else is.

What is Tin Can API?

Once it was realized that we have possibly outgrown SCORM something new had to be developed.  Enter the Tin Can API.  The Tin Can API is the language that allows the information from the web to talk to the LMS.

What is LRS?

LRS stands for Learning Record Store.  This is where the Tin Can API stores it’s data.  This is not the same as a LMS.  In fact, in most cases using both a LMS and a LRS in sync can be useful.  The LRS acts as the store and the LMS acts as the reporting and the user interface.  AND… Litmos is both a LMS and a LRS meaning if you use Litmos you don’t have to worry about finding both an LMS and a LRS.

What can I do with Tin Can?

The simple answer:  ANYTHING!  That is, anything that can be done online.  Because it uses a simple noun, verb, object format (for example: Madeline Goepp, writes, blog post) there is no limitations on the type of data it can store.

How do we make sense of all the data?

The format mentioned above opens up a world of capturing data.  Reading statement after statement is not the most tangible way of absorbing the information spit out by Tin Can.  So it is the job of the LMS to take these statements and turn it into something that is easier for human consumption.

How can I experience Tin Can first hand?

With Litmos!!  There are a number of authoring tools, such as Rapid Intake, Articulate and Lectora, where you can build your Tin Can friendly module.  It can then be imported into Litmos and used to capture data all over the internet.