Sharing learning experiences via xAPI

tessello’s Chief Technology Officer Jonathan Archibald recently spoke about tessello as part of a webinar organised by Rustici Software, originators of the Tin Can API – often called the Experience API or xAPI for short.
Scroll to the foot of this page to see the webinar recording, or read the transcript below to see what Jonathan had to say:

I’m here today to talk to you about one of our products called tessello, which is an xAPI-enabled total learning system.

The total learning system comprises of an LMS (Learning Management System), it comprises of a social learning tool, it comprises of coaching and curation tools, and underpinning it all is an xAPI-enabled LRS (Learning Record Store).

The xAPI is fundamental to how tessello works. At the heart of tessello is its ability to capture informal learning experiences. Within tessello learners capture informal learning experiences and store them in the LRS. They are then able to share them into the social learning community, so that other people are then able to view their learning experiences, and gain knowledge from them, coaches are able to coach people there, etc.

But at the heart of it is capturing these informal learning experiences, and that’s where the xAPI comes in. This is how it works…

The story starts away from tessello itself, in your web browser. We all do a lot of learning on the internet – I know I do – I’m a programmer so I learn mostly from Stack Overflow. I dread to think what I’d do without it!

But what happens to that learning once it’s done? It’s not tracked – it just disappears. So tessello gives you a bookmarklet in the browser – let’s say you find a particularly useful webpage (say it’s one about the xAPI!) – you just click the ‘Save experience’ button which captures all the information from the page – the title and description, which I can add some context and commentary to if I want – and that saves it back to tessello in the background.

Then I can carry on – I don’t need to be on tessello at all, I can carry on my whole evening learning about things on the internet and storing them in tessello via the xAPI and the bookmarklet.

But at some point I want to go back to tessello and look at what I’ve learnt. I go to the My Experiences section in tessello, and this is where the LRS really is. Here we can see the learning experiences that I’ve stored – you can see the useful webpage about the xAPI that I mentioned earlier and saved via the bookmarklet…

At this point the learning is very personal to me, it’s in my list – no-one else can see this. But I think that xAPI web page is really interesting and I want to share it with my colleagues.

I push the ‘Share’ which pops up a little dialogue so that I can add a note before sharing it with my colleagues, and then that goes into the ‘Community’ feed, and from there other people can have the same learning experience, they can comment on it, they can ‘Like’ it, and so on. It becomes a living learning asset for the whole organisation.

The bookmarklet is one of the activity providers in tessello, but there are more. tessello has a free-form wizard within it, allowing you to create any kind of learning experience with the wizard once you’re logged on.
But it also has other tools to help you on-the-go, such as a native mobile app for iOS and Android. The strength of having the app on your mobile device is to allow you to capture learning experiences wherever you are, so for example say you went to an event – you could take a video of a particular talk you liked, save that as an experience, and it will save the video as an attachment to the xAPI statement and send it to the LRS.

There are some unique functions in tessello to allow you to encode that video and play back through the tessello platform.

So they’re just a couple of examples of activity providers saving informal learning into tessello – the learner can keep that as their own, or they can share it, and then the community can all benefit from that experience, which would have been lost before we had the xAPI.

This is all great from a learning tech perspective, but what business impact does this lead to?

tessello’s been around for about two years, and in that time we’ve grown a global client list, as you can see:

I’m just going to talk about a couple of them:

1. UNISON are a public sector union in the UK using tessello to connect 40,000 of their activists together from across the country. Before, they used to learn in silos, they didn’t share information, but now they can capture their learning via the xAPI, share best practice through the social learning community, share those experiences – and this allows them to coordinate much better the actions that they do on the ground.

2. We also have 3M – they use tessello under the guise of their Abrasives University to teach product knowledge training across Europe. They have a lot of technical products and tessello allows them to distribute their learning but also lets the people who use their products to then feedback through the xAPI and talk socially on the social systems.

That is a very, very quick overview of tessello – if you want to see more of what it can do, just get in touch!

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