Yet's Margaret Roth and our good friend and L&D expert Phil Antonelli recently put together a list of business reasons for xAPI. The first five reasons are posted over at the ATD Learning Technologies blog. Here's a quick preview – head over to the blog to read the rest, and stay tuned for the second half of this list!
5 Business Reasons Why xAPI
Essentially, xAPI (Experience API) is typically viewed by learning and development (L&D) professionals as a tool to help with:
- tracking learning where learners go, not just in the LMS
- tracking learner performance inside a course
- tracking granular choice and experience data in learning software
- measuring engagement in mobile and social learning programs
- unifying data from multiple learning and performance platforms.
These are all great reasons to use xAPI, but they don’t always resonate with key stakeholders in other parts of the business. In order to gain traction in the larger organization, L&D professionals need to answer the question of “Why xAPI?” in ways that make sense to the business.
Based on our experience over the last five years as enterprise industry xAPI advocates, we’d like to share some key business reasons for using xAPI.
Up Your Measurement Game
Most learning professionals are concerned about measuring the efficiency, effectiveness, and alignment of learning programs with the business. However, as a group we are not very good at it. According to a July 2015 research report published by Bersin this practice remains a challenge for most L&D organizations. The need exists: 95 percent of CLOs surveyed consider it urgent, but fewer than 5 percent feel confident in their ability to use data and analytics to deliver insights on the connection between learning investment and business outcomes.
The chart below provides an example of a maturity model for learning measurement.
In our experience, most organizations fall in the “Managed” category, and a number of factors contribute to this. In particular, there is the fact that if you are only collecting Level 1 and Level 2 data, you are not in a position to give insight to the business.
The business needs Level 3 and Level 4 data to determine if the training was applied on the job. It also wants evidence that behavior changed as a result of the training and that the team overall is better prepared to meet their goals and exceed expectations.
But how can you access that Level 3 and Level 4 data when that information happens outside of the LMS and training programs? If your business team wants those results, xAPI offers the key to that optimization. As an application programming interface (API), the Experience API is designed to integrate with a host of systems and tools to provide automated collection of a broad array of data to support Level 3 and Level 4 measures.
So if you run a training program for your sales team about a new product, for example, you can connect the course performance data to their sales performance data and customer satisfaction data. This automatically correlates the impact in Level 3 and Level 4 terms that the business will understand as measurable ROI.