Update: The Output of Project Tin Can is Experience API.

Simulations and Serious Games

simulations serious games scorm tin canSimulations and serious games have been used in e-learning for some time, and the tracking and reporting has largely been limited to the proprietary systems in which they live. The Tin Can API brings simulations and serious games into a new light, where they can be tracked in any LRS that supports the Tin Can API. This broadens competition and opens up more possibilities to content creators, learning institutions, and learners.

The Tin Can API doesn’t do one specific thing to make tracking and reporting on simulations and serious games better — it does several:

  • Distributed content: simulations and games can live locally/on their own servers, and send statements to external LRSs.
  • Multiple learners and team-based learning: useful for multiplayer games and simulations. Data can now be reported across the entire group in a way that shows important information to the group.
  • Tin Can API conformant activities can live outside of the browser, a deciding factor for most simulations and games. Also, since the activities aren’t limited to a browser session, much, much more data can be sent to the LRS.
  • Instructor interaction: useful for when an instructor wants to intervene during a simulation, or if an instructor wants to change the scenario in a simulator on-the-fly. While we didn’t directly define a way for this to happen, it can be done through the use of user-defined variables (see below).
  • User-defined variables: this is where you can really get creative. Use the current real-time wind speed in your flight simulator, automatically pull in last month’s gross revenues during business training, use real-world data from just about any source to create dynamic training, simulations, games, etc.
  • Older e-learning specifications have issues that are inherent with the way that games and simulations are tracked. Games and simulations are often meant to be played and tracked over long amounts of time, and with many attempts at the same activity. The Tin Can API comes through in this area where older e-learning specs fall short.

Now, we didn’t offer any truly real-time features for you, and there is a good reason for it. For things to be truly real time, there would be an unreasonable burden put on the LRSs. It would be too expensive and to difficult to make it work with popular web servers.

Your thoughts and comments about simulations and serious games with the Tin Can API? Leave ’em below.

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