Interview with Navin Lodhi at Aptara

Key Points:

  • Current API may be located in different locations on different LMSs
  • Ability to have instructors record audio for the learners to listen to
  • LMSs should support mobile access
  • API should include time tracking functions

 

You’re involved in content transformation, What is your role within your company in doing content transformation?

Basically, I’m a developer. So, I used to convert the content into the general format. Like, in Flash or in the languages.

Is there anything that you’re finding either as you transform the content or based on the content that’s coming in and the results you are having, is there anything you are doing that kind of pushes the boundaries that SCORM is able to achieve that you’d like to be able to achieve but have been unable to?

Because the calls are on the LMS, we have to find that API. In certain LMSs, we can find that if we have a call, it will be nested two or three levels into the LMS. Again, we have to modify our search for that. That’s the main problem.

So one thing we were looking at doing with the API, it seems like there’s a lot of reasons we might want to go in these directions… people don’t necessarily want to be tied to a JavaScript API anymore, so we’re looking at doing something either SOAP based or REST based. It seems to me like this would solve that problem for you if that was done. Would you agree with that?

I guess so.

Are you able to get a sense in your work of what your customers want to track about a learning experience?

Most of the time, the customer can, track their SCOs, they also track the pages, they also track the feedback, but the most common request we hear from the client, they are able to record their voice and the next time they come, they can’t hear the audio.

And they want to record audio from the learner and be able to play that back to whom?

The instructors should be able to record audio and have the learner hear it when they play the course. So currently what we are doing, is we record audio and place it on the LMS, on our server, and record an ID for that and we just, pass the ID to SCORM. And the next time they play that, it goes accordingly. So is there any thing, where we can play audio through the API or we can use the SCORM API or audio API, which Windows we will be using?

The Windows audio APIs in particular?

Like the song when we record in audio, or through the phone recorder. Currently we are recording the audio through Flash.

I think, I don’t see how the Tin Can project would help with recording, but in terms of being able to store that audio as opposed to saving IDs — audio is a new one but various people have requested being able to store larger data sets using the SCORM API, so it seems like audio would be another subset of that. It might be good to be able to store the audio recording itself, as an object within the new learning- experience API. Maybe that would be of some help.

And the way you want that to work is for the instructor to take the same course, but then, in a different mode where they can record the audio?

Exactly, right.

So what do you see changing in e-learning in the next five to ten years, and what do you think should change?

N: In the next five to ten years, it might be most of the mobile learning. So, we can, I think, in the next couple of years, we can access the LMS through mobile. Currently now, what is happening most of the LMS sites are lacking that capability so we can’t access the mobile. Because when you use the Blackberry or iPhone, there is a problem when accessing the LMS site.

Anything else you see changing or you think should change?

The API should be light-weight, which we can access through a mobile.

So, instead of having a run-time environment necessarily defined in a packaging standard, and so on, there could just be an API to track progress?

Right.

Anything else you want to bring up?

The API should provide for time tracking, including functions to start and stop the clock and have the LMS track the time.