The First Learning Record Store (LRS) Debuts
For all the excitement surrounding Learning Record Store (LRS) and their potential to store xAPI-encoded data about learner behavior and performance and then extract meaningful insights, the progress has been basically halted. This is true in Moodle development and plugins, but it also applies to the broader learning industry.
In recent years, a few announcements by commercial Learning Management Systems (LMS’s) and learning platforms have turned LRS into fine add-ons, but they have remained academic fever dreams, far from the world-changing expectations about unified data storage and processing centers LRS once promised to be.
Shallow Dive Into LRS
The basic architecture for the LRS has been readily available at least since 2011 when government agency Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) first showcased their prototypes to the world. Basically, it is a specification design to centralize data about learner behavior across learning interventions (including courses, games, and even offline activities) and platforms.
The data available on an LRS would be harmonized thanks to the xAPI specification, which gives clear formatting guidelines that would make it easier to access and use. The sophistication of the xAPI protocol might be to blame for its low use, but it has stood the test of time.
All it has needed is a concerted effort between software vendors, developers, and the learning community, particularly around the LRS basic pillars:
- Applications. Any tool whose use leads to skill acquisition. xAPI is flexible enough to encompass traditional teaching and assessment software, games, and even Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).
- Experiences. The specific parts of an intervention that focuses on skill acquisition and learning outcomes and can be recorded in real time. In general, applications offer a series of experiences, which can offer data that serves as a baseline, intervention, or both.
- Learners. The user whose data is recorded in a way that allows measuring and management of skills. The data profile of a learner is built from their performance on all experiences they participated in (as long as it was properly encoded).
- Enrollments. The individual encounters between a learner and an experience. An itemized account of the performance by users not only helps track learner progress but permits experience auditing and optimization. Sometimes poor performance is due to low user skills, other times to poor design of the experience. The most straightforward use case of LRS is to dissect what is arguably one of the longest and most challenging problems in education.
The landscape today could be likened to a “Chinese ghost city” kind of situation, where a vast infrastructure is already in place, begging for users to come. Some have already dismissed it as an unsung, unrewarded effort. Others remain hopeful: They do not conceive of a future for xAPI-formatted data and data-based learning apps without an LRS at the core to feed it. For them, it is only a matter of agreeing upon a common language for LMS Data.
Annulab LRS Block
The Annulab LRS is an open source solution. Its current development and the plugin for Moodle are the work of Formagri’s Dey Bendifallah, a French Moodler in Dijon. With a Moodle-Annulab integration activated, the Annulab LRS plugin grabs user data flown through the filters of the Logstore xAPI and the xAPI Launch Link plugin and stores it in an Annulab LRS.
In order to use the Annulab LRS plugin for Moodle, you will need:
- An Annulab account (at lrsdata.com sign up is free).
- A set of parameters provided by Annulab after sign up.
- The Logstore xAPI installed and configured with the Annulab parameters.
- The xAPI Launch Link plugin also installed and configured for Annulab.
The Annulab LRS plugin takes advantage of Moodle’s new Privacy API to allow General Data Protection Requirements (GDPR) compliance.
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