The Future of Mobile Learning with xAPI and HTML5


Imagine this: a technician walks up to equipment in need of repair, and holds his/her mobile device up to it. Through object recognition, an Electronic Performance Support System (EPSS) immediately displays the make, model, service history and status of that specific equipment on the technician’s mobile device. It even shows that technician’s past service interactions with this same equipment. The employee’s mobile device is then able to push out just the right information, in the form of custom learning content, needed to complete the service. The technician can use the learning content currently in front of them to repair the equipment, while the system tracks their performance and provides exactly what they need through adaptive microlearning, as well as revisit the content later to continue their learning on-the-go. This example is just one of the innovative new ways Experience API (xAPI) and HTML5 are transforming mobile learning. Learning professionals have begun integrating these advanced backend components to modernize learning content, serve up the right information at the right time, and fulfill the needs of employees who rely on using mobile devices to access the information they depend on every day.

Meeting the Demand of Mobile Masses
We have seen the topic of mobile learning progress from a nice-to-have to a central focus for learning and development programs. This is no surprise, as we mentioned recently here in our 2016 L&D trends post. The need to offer more mobile learning solutions and access to learning content on-the-go continues to be a sticking point for L&D professionals. Adding to the mobile transformation is data that demonstrates the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass two billion in 2016, meaning organizations must prepare for the massive move to mobile as employees shift learning behaviors from the desktop to mobile devices.

The two technology solutions mentioned above, xAPI and HTML5, have proven critical in delivering learning content to today’s mobile workforce. These transformative technologies form the backbone behind the deployment of mobile learning solutions. They ensure L&D pros can make the most of existing content today, while also setting the stage for new innovative forms of mobile learning solutions for tomorrow. Through our own experiences working with xAPI and HTML5, we realized the value they provided early on, and have been helping our customers deploy them for maximum benefit. These robust backend solutions offer a new level of customization and adaptive learning through innovative formats and uniquely mobile formal and informal learning interactions that will fuel the learning needs of the future.

Customizing Learner Experiences through xAPI
xAPI has recently emerged as a learning solution to help identify learning paths around specific employee needs. xAPI opens new communication avenues between tracked experiences through software such as an LMS, Data Analytics, EPSSs, games and microlearning in order to access information based on an employee’s learning aptitude and the training needed for their specific job role. xAPI uses this information to create customizable solutions to make it possible for a technician-in-training to log into a learning module via their mobile device on a job site that will provide them with the information to properly repair a specific piece of equipment. Once the information has been accessed, and the task has been completed, xAPI enables the information exchange between software applications, saves all of the data in a Learning Record Store (LRS), and based on this and the other experiences of the technician, through analytics, the system adapts and provides the proper information, data and learning to the technician whenever needed. L&D professionals also can use the information to track and assess how well this and other employees fared with the training modules, and how well the training modules are performing in case adjustments are needed. xAPI makes it possible to connect the dots between training, performance and progress, and offers subsequent training modules needed for advancement.

xAPI not only benefits the learner through these custom modules but also allows organizations to capture important learner data and analytics to determine who requires more training, and in what areas, in order to improve performance and, ultimately, retention.

In addition to the benefits xAPI delivers in terms of customization and information access, modernizing your content through HTML5 improves the accessibility and functionality of that newly created xAPI-enabled custom learning content. Organizations can simultaneously take advantage of HTML5 to migrate current content, and develop new content, that will work seamlessly across devices.

Learn Anywhere with HTML5
HTML5 is the standardized markup language that is needed for developing training courses on a wide range of platforms. It allows organizations to take existing learning content and upgrade it with newer, more dynamic features and animations. This upgraded content can be broken into microlearning nuggets to share information in small bites that can be used for multiple purposes and on multiple devices. HTML5 also streamlines browser compatibility, allowing content to be accessible across mobile devices no matter which browser or device a learner accesses the content from, while still being able to retain desktop learning functionalities. Allowing for more robust content to be streamlined through one interface that is accessible in all places creates the on-demand and interactive environment modern learners are craving.

The Future of Mobile Learning Starts Now
How are xAPI and HTML5 propelling the future of content through these features? Through HTML5, opportunities abound for custom mobile apps, games, instructional videos, social media, interactive media, user-generated content, informal learning activities and advanced simulated learning environments. These will all become accessible across nearly any device, at any time, to the learner. When joined with the capabilities xAPI enables, these learner experiences can now be tracked and made adaptive, and be accessible in comprehensive user profiles for L&D professionals to analyze, strategize and better plan the most beneficial learning content for their employees and organization going forward.

Throughout the year, we will continue to discuss mobile learning trends and their evolution — along with other modern technologies that incorporate and encourage microlearning. Is your L&D team preparing to integrate these innovative learning tools to create more robust custom training solutions that are mobile-accessible and results oriented? Let us know your plans to streamline your learning content in the New Year through a Tweet or LinkedIn comment.