For Instructors

For Instructors

At the class level, xAPI can be a very useful tool for instructors. Depending on your support system and your desired level of time investment, xAPI can offer some very high-tech experiences for you and your students. xAPI is great for tracking experiential learning that takes place outside the traditional classroom. Instructors can create their own physical learning experiences for students, or opt to utilize already-existing experiences. xAPI also provides a way to give credit for out of class experiences like attending seminars or speakers, museum exhibits, etc. A hands-on museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has deployed an excellent interactive exhibit which you can learn more about here: In addition, Penn State is currently developing a project that allows visitors at the university arboretum to enjoy a more interactive experience:


xAPI and related technology can also help automate tasks like attendance or quizzing, like one of our colleagues at the College of IST at Penn State. Dr. Fusco has a technical background and explains how he wrote his own attendance app here: But you don't have to write your own app - just take advantage of what's already out there!

For the more casual user, there are opportunities to take advantage of xAPI without doing too much tinkering with programming. Many LMS platforms offer surface-level analytics such as "when was the last time Student 1 entered the online course." With a deeper understanding of xAPI and how it can be implemented, instructors can start to look at their courses through an inquiry-based lens (Morrison, 2012).

Learner Behavior

For instance, xAPI can provide a detailed look into learning behaviors. Analytics that xAPI makes available can show instructors data such as when students start accessing assignment instructions vs. when they turned in the assignment, and in turn, help determine whether students who started a particular assignment or project early ended up scoring higher on that assignment.


Correlating outcomes

Instructors who utilize xAPI in a course could also look at potential correlations to try to identify success indicators that they can share with future students. Performance trends such as high engagement in the first few weeks of a class might lead to higher final grades. xAPI can offer instructors the data to back up claims such as "students who do well in the first unit of this class tend to have higher grades on the final exam."

Activity comparisons across the weeks comprising a semester can also provide insight for instructors as to how their courses are structured. By looking at the patterns of access across the course, it's easy to see what weeks or topics were the "high points" - where students were logging in often, either to review materials or to otherwise interact with course content. Comparing these high points (or subsequent lack thereof) with the associated content on the syllabus can help instructors determine whether students are focused and engaged at the right times and with the right topics. Any questionable or surprise patterns might deserve an extra look or perhaps a redesign in how that material is presented.

In summary, learning to purposefully utilize xAPI and the data it generates offers instructors a way to conduct more purposeful, student-centered teaching practices.