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We’ve launched a new services group.


Some Background

For years, we have relied on our products to be the solution to a number of complex problems facing companies that use elearning standards. If you’re building an LMS or authoring tool and you need AICC or SCORM or, more recently, xAPI, we have products that can do the heavy lifting. That’s been our bread and butter.

But we also have insights from years of thinking about experiential data and hearing how customers report on it. And we know that the problem isn’t always solved at the immediate boundary of our products.

It’s those considerations that brought our services group to life.

What We Do

We help vendors and organizations consider how to use  elearning standards to accomplish their goals. These goals include delivering  learning materials to their people and selling their products to discerning buyers.

We work on problems related to the elearning standards, namely, AICC, SCORM, and xAPI.

In the case of SCORM and AICC, we can help with problems of thinking through how both historical and newly captured data could be expressed as xAPI; we can help rethink complex learning systems; and we can do sophisticated custom elearning development.

Of course we also think hard about xAPI, the newest in the family of learning standards we closely follow.

Where You Come In

We want you to ask us a question. You can learn more about how we’re responding to the questions we’ve already heard. These are things we anticipate. Maybe something on this list prompts a question you were getting ready to ask. So, ask away– we’re listening and ready to help.


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On August 13th, 2015, we launched a heavily revised version of Andrew Downes has been working away, as he does, creating new content. Rather than direct it all at the blog, though, he’s been rethinking and restructuring the core site and sharing his insights for first-timers, learning designers, learning product vendors, and organizations. There are countless other updates laid out below. Please spend some time with them.

Many readers of the site, though, will likely notice a significant change to our handling of the name… Years ago, Mike shared our perspective on the name, that we were going to call it Tin Can API. For some, this has been a contentious issue. With the new site, we’ve made the site behave as we have been personally for a long time. We call it whatever you call it.

On the site, you’ll notice a toggle in the upper left. If you prefer to call it Tin Can, do so. If you prefer xAPI, that’s great too. Whether you visit or, the site will present everything to you using your prefered name.

It comes down to this: arguing about an API’s name simply isn’t productive. We have far more important things to accomplish together.

So please, enjoy the new content. Go build a brilliant activity provider. Make some statements. Or ask us for help if you need it.


Here are the new sections of the site:


The existing Tin Can Explained page gives a really helpful introduction to Tin Can if you’ve never heard of it.  We’ve brought this section up to date a little and added some pages around the different components of the new enterprise learning ecosystem that Tin Can enables. We’ve also added pages targeted specifically at organizations, learning product vendors and vendors of products outside L&D.

Get Started

By now, if you haven’t heard of Tin Can and got a basic understanding, you’ve probably been living on mars. These days, the question we get asked most isn’t “what’s Tin Can?” but “how do I get started?” If that’s your question, then good news – we’ve created a new section just for you!

The get startedsection includes pages targeted at product vendors, content authors and organizations. It includes guides to help you see Tin Can in action, get a Learning Record Store (LRS) and run a pilot project in your organization. There’s a collection of pages to help you think about moving on from SCORM, too.


We already had a bunch of resources for developers, but not much really aimed at learning designers. We’ve added a page outlining the impact of Tin Can on learning design, including reflections on a handful of learning models and theories in the light of Tin Can. If you’re thinking more at the strategy level, we’ve got a page on incorporating Tin Can into your learning strategy, too.

At a practical level, there’s a guide on statement design, an introduction to recipes for learning designers, and an assignment for you to try out what you learn from the new pages we’ve written.


The developers section was already crammed full of resources. We’ve tidied these up to make them easier to find and created an interactive statement explorer page to help you understand the structure of the statement.

The statement generator we created a few years ago was due for an update and ADL recently published a new more comprehensive statement generator. We don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, so we’ve taken the ADL tool, made it orange and included it on the site.

To help you put all these resources into practice, we’ve created a series of challenges for developers to try out writing code for Tin Can.


The previous webinar list contained embedded YouTube videos for all our webinars. We’ve got so many webinar recordings now that it was getting hard to find webinars on specific topics so we’ve created a new categorized webinar list. Each of the webinars is now on its own page, making it easier to share the recording with other people.

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Project Tin CanOver a year ago, we started working with ADL to figure out where SCORM should go next. There were many roads that ADL could have gone down, and they’ve chosen ours — Project Tin Can.

We’ve been building and refining the Tin Can spec and our prototypes for a while now, and it’s time for you to see what we’ve been doing. It’s also time for you to share your thoughts on Project Tin Can with ADL and find out how you can contribute.


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Back in 2007, I got curious about SCORM 2004 adoption and pulled some metrics about how people were using SCORM. Well, I got curious again, but this time I took it to the next level. We’ve just published a feed of SCORM Stats that will be updated nightly. For SCORM geeks like us, these stats present a useful snapshot into how the real work is using SCORM. Go ahead and bookmark it and come back every now and then to see how things evolve.

Let’s take a look at SCORM then and now.

SCORM Versions

SCORM Versions Then
SCORM Versions Now

Then: SCORM 2004 made up about 50% of the content that was being uploaded into Test Track.

Now: SCORM 2004 makes up about 30-35% of the content uploaded into SCORM Cloud.

Conclusion: SCORM 2004 remains relevant for a significant population, but it’s adoption and usage has not increased over the years. Adoption appears to be flat. The decrease since 2007 is probably related to the more mainstream adoption of SCORM Cloud vs the early adopters using SCORM Test Track in 2007.

SCORM Versions By User

SCORM Versions By User Then
SCORM Versions By User Now

Then: About 40% of users were uploading SCORM 2004 content.

Now: About 40% of users are uploading SCORM 2004 content.

Conclusion: SCORM 2004 adoption remains flat.


SCORM Test Track Users Then
SCORM Cloud Users Now

Then: About 3000 people cared enough about SCORM to try out our little application.

Now: 21,000 people have given SCORM Cloud a whirl.

Conclusion: Our little SCORM Test Track experiment was a hit. That’s nice for us, but for the broader SCORM community it show just how widespread SCORM’s adoption is. Twenty-one THOUSAND people are deep enough into SCORM to use an application like SCORM Cloud, with 500 more signing up every month. SCORM’s adoption is broader than I think anybody realizes. It is the industry workhorse.

Some other stats in that vein:

About 20,000 unique visitors visit every month…that’s 20,000 more people every month who are interested in SCORM enough to go read about it.

About 12,000 courses are imported into SCORM Cloud every month. Twelve thousand courses, that is a lot of SCORM content being tested!

Realizing the -ilities (multiple SCOs)?


Then: Use of Multi-SCO content


Now: The use of multi-SCO content
Now: Number of SCOs in Courses

Then: About 35% of SCORM 2004 content took advantage of multiple-SCO functionality.

Now: The percentage of content using more than one SCO has increased dramatically with each new edition of SCORM 2004.

Conclusion: The improvements in each SCORM 2004 Edition have been useful in making sequencing easier to use and more effective. Or, conversely, the people who use sequencing most heavily tend to gravitate to the latest edition with the most robust functionality.


Realizing the -ilities (use of sequencing)?

Then: Use of Sequencing
Now: Use of Sequencing

Conclusion: The use of sequencing remains similar, but it increases with the later SCORM 2004 Editions….consistent with the conclusions above.

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one click publishing from authoring tool to LMS with PENSThese days, with one click, you can buy a song from iTunes and automatically sync it to your iPod. Remember how long it used to take to buy a CD, burn the songs to your computer and transfer them to your MP3 player? Just think about how much time you saved from this one little improvement- more time to listen to your music, which is what you wanted to do in the first place.


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