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Organizing Your xAPI Learning Events

Embarking on a new analytics project using xAPI is an exciting opportunity for you and your organization to gain control of your learning data like never before.  Many will want to jump into the deep end of the xAPI pool and quickly generate xAPI statements from their learning applications.  That is what we did with a very early prototype and continued to learn best practices about how to formulate our statements and then create the reports stakeholders needed.  Eventually you will decide that it is time to move to production with real project and then you need to pause and plan.  Like most software projects, starting with design documents or procedures is a great best practice.

xAPI Designer to Developer

If you are an instructional designer(ID) or learning designer the role of identifying the events that need to be tracked using xAPI generally becomes your responsibility.  Integrating your events into your learning application is then the responsibility of a developer or in some cases the ID depending upon the type of application.  We realized that organizing the learning events before asking a developer to integrate it in to one of our games was an important step towards ensuring we would get the data we needed and that it would be interoperable across the organization.  Beyond learning events it was also going to be important to establish the structure of the uniform resource indicators (URIs) which is a type of uniform resource locator (URL). Here are just a few of the questions we considered that lead to us improving the way we organized our xAPI learning events during the design phase.


  1. How would you define the ID for the game producer, name and levels the learning game or application? 
  2. Would a developer know to choose the verb experienced instead of read unless we specified it? 
  3. What events get tracked for time and is it cumulative?  
  4. What contextual data needs to be included with the statement?
  5. When do we use launched vs started?

Design Tool For xAPI

To better organize our learning events and create a smooth transition between designers and developers we developed an excel spreadsheet that simplified organizing learning events and data entry.

The excel design spreadsheet for implementing xAPI can be downloaded from the link below.  This document includes the contextual vocabulary related to the GBLxAPI K12 catalog and a selection of commonly used verbs and activity types from xAPI profiles.  It can be used in most projects and adapted as needed to your specific purpose.


This is provided by the GBLxAPI community as an open source tool by Dig-iT! Games under a creative commons share-alike license (CC BY-SA 4.0).  You are free to use the xAPI tool in accordance with that license and make suggestions for improvements.  If you have ideas for improving the xAPI design tool, please get in touch with us here.

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