Learning Record Store (LRS) = A place to store learning records.
The LRS is the heart of any Experience API (xAPI) ecosystem; receiving, storing and returning data about learning experiences, achievements and job performance. You’ll need an LRS in order to do anything with xAPI. Every other tool which sends or retrieves learning activity data will interact with the LRS as the central store.
Learning Record Stores are normally stand alone products including a range of reporting and analytics features. They can also be incorporated into an LMS. LRSs can communicate with one another, allowing for the portability of learning data across systems.
How is an LRS different from an LMS?
LRSs and LMSs are very different products. Whilst your LRS will likely replace and go beyond the reporting and analytics capability of your LMS, there are many other functions of the LMS that aren’t included in an LRS. In the context the delivery and tracking of eLearning, the LRS stores and handles xAPI data, while an LMS might also deliver, play and track eLearning content.
What does an LRS enable?
An LRS enables modern tracking of a wide variety of learning experiences, not limited to activities that are browser based. An LRS might store learning data (in the form of xAPI statements) from a range of activity types- from mobile app, games and simulators to instructor led training sessions or OTJ performance assessments. Data from these experiences can be shared with other systems for reporting analytics and to support adaptive learning experiences. As the LRS collects data from a range of experiences, these sets of data can be compared and collated to evaluate the effectiveness of training programs and learning solutions.
How does an LRS work?
As xAPI enabled learning activities are experienced, activity streams are sent to and stored in LRSs as xAPI statements.
The data stored in an LRS can be accessed by LMSs, reporting tools, or other LRSs, and can be stored as individual learning records and/or entire transcripts. An LRS can be configured to allow permissions for who has access to read and write data to the LRS.
An LRS can live inside an LMS and work within that LMS’s capabilities. An LRS inside of an LMS can deliver learning data/transcripts to other LRSs, whether inside an LMS or independent of an LMS.