A technical topic, and making the most of it requires some expert skills. But as a user of interconnected systems, LMS API foremost, you might want to know about the massive and increasing opportunity they represent.
Think of learning experiences that can take place anywhere. As long as you use a technology with an API on board, you can take the learning and its outcomes back to the LMS. Or in reverse, in which case the technology can go straight to the point. It can ask the LMS at which point of the learning path your learner is. After the experience, it can tell the LMS how much progress they made. But this is only a trivial example. Imagine a setup where any learning systems connects to one another in a secure and elegant way. Learners may not need to know when they are switching interfaces or providers. In fact, if anyone of them fails you, you can shut the connection down, find a new one and never look back. If the learning technology consumer pushes, the industry will increase its attention. With more robust and standardized APIs, we could be talking about decentralized ecosystems. At last. APIs can be a powerful tool for openness, user control, and placing the benefits of data where they belong.
How APIs benefit learning experiences
As you might have guessed, there are obvious advantages in considering an integration between systems for learning purposes. These, of course, should be stacked against its costs, which are often linked to the time, cost and availability of programming expertise.
For educational purposes, the benefits of APIs can range from the obvious to the not so much. Those with some familiarity with the Experience API or xAPI standard can recognize many, if not all of them:
- • It allows students to interact with a vast array of applications and experiences without leaving their LMS.
- • It helps educators and instructional designers to keep track of said learning activity taking place “outside” the LMS.
- • It makes it possible to compare the learning effectiveness of different activities, possibly different services, in measurable ways.
- • It prevents personal and other sensitive data to stay in many different places, which can be hard to keep track of.
- • It decentralizes educational technologies and keeps the user in control of their information.
- • It allows educators to decide their own terms and limits in their relationship with other services.
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