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

next generation scorm evolution project tin can

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Tin Can API spec.

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Verb Variation

How do we set the standard for the verbs that are used in statements? Is a test completed or finished? Did John read chapter 1 or study chapter 1?


scorm tin can verb variation


In the context of e-learning, completed and finished mean practically the same thing, but for reporting purposes, they’re completely different. With the Tin Can API, we’re able to group certain verbs that mean the same thing and assign different logical results for them.

We’ve created some to use, but we can’t think of every verb that will need to be used in every scenario.

Here is what we’ve come up with:

Verb Result
experienced, read, watched, studied, reviewed, learned completion
attempted, performed, played, simulated, answered completion, success, score, (interaction details)
completed, passed, failed special
interacted (interaction details)
achieved completion, success, score, (interaction details)
attended completion
taught (by), mentored (by) completion
commented comment
asked question
created, authored, wrote, edited, blogged, shared, posted completion, success, score

Where do we go from here?

The verbs and results that we’ve put forward are the only ones that are usable right now. We’re aware that this list will grow when it needs to, and the long-term plan is for there to be a governing body that handles all verbs, verb variations, and their results.

Do you have any thoughts on how the Tin Can API should handle verb variation? Leave your comments and thoughts below.

SCORM 2.0 next generation project tin can

  • glenn

    Great idea, and good list as a starting point but when I consider what we do regularly, I would have to say that it could be very limiting if these were the only options available at the initial release. Here are a few more we use regularly…

    selected, deselected, viewed, decided, considered, searched (for), discussed, connected, facilitated, justified, sent, dragged, dropped.

  • Matthew MacDonald


  • Miriam

    I also see this list as a very limited one… the use of verbs produces a more “flat” picture because the lack of fractions in the reporting format.

  • Michael S

    Do you also want some presence words, like online, offline, in (as in module 7 or virtual project room A)? Or are those handled within the SocialAPI? I would suggest support for Virtual World constructs so that assessment can take on the broader, richer analysis possible within these environments. I’m not aware of standards or even good models for assessment within VW. Perhaps “achieved” could be extended for VW on rails (user achieved checkpoint Bravo in simulation). But this lacks fidelity for sandbox based virtual worlds where I might want to track “user detected mine A” user missed mine B, but took a different route to the objective”. The net result is success even though they didn’t take the path the educator might have planned. But determining success isn’t enough without also evaluating the PATH to success (especially in a sandbox environment where many different choices lead to success).

    Is this beyond the scope of what you all hoped to accomplish?

  • Rebungmas

    Great Idea can we expend this Tin Can Api
    with term
    term context
    term field
    etc gud for language translation purposes..

  • Traoremo80

    And what happen with people who using a forein language (french for exemple) some verbs in english do not mean the same in french

  • ingthing

    Why have a taxonomy or standard of verbs at all?

  • Ben Clark

    Actually, this is the direction the next release will probably go in. Though probably retaining a set of “recommended” verbs which are not included in the spec, but rather released in conjunction with it.

  • What about time metrics and location attributes?

  • Do these statements allow for timestamping,as well?
    For example, as an educator I would not just want to know whether a student “visited” or “read” a website — I would like to know when they loaded the page and when they exited the page. Anything else invites cutting corners — if they have to self-report via bookmarklet, they can go there, click the bookmarklet, and call it a day. Whereas with timestamping we could mark a “read” verb only as it relates to enter/exit events such as “entered webpage x” and “left webpage x”, which could translate to “Read webpage x for 42 seconds”

    Likewise for watching a video. It would be a great way to know how long was spent watching a video (if only 30 seconds was spent watching a 10 minute video, something may be amiss)

    I like this concept here, but I think there’s a fine line between “open-ended and flexible” vs “too vague”

    I could foresee LMS systems with built-in browsers that automatically track all web interactions for education purposes — especially at, say, K-12 institutions; this would allow for filtering/walled-garden approach, on-task behavior management, etc. while still remaining open-ended while still allowing (or even rewarding) students for constructivist or learner-oriented and self-directed approaches.