Girl, put your records on, tell me your favorite…bit of learning! Records are a long-forgotten part of listening to music unless you like to wear horn-rimmed spectacles and drink champagne out of jam glasses. You may have never been inside a record store before, but if eLearning is your expertise, you will have likely made use of the future of storing and transmitting edTech learnings, Learning Record Store (LRS). Grab your drink of choice, put on some tunes, and straighten your glasses. It’s time to learn all about storing learning records. 

Learning Record Store and xAPI

You can find the nitty-gritty of xAPI here, but the bare bones of Experience API or Tin Can API are this:

  • xAPI captures information about a person’s learning experiences
  • When the need to record something comes up, xAPI sends secure statements to a Learning Record Store

Learning Record Store Made Simple

Without an LRS, there would be no use of xAPI. After all, what good is a beautiful pen without a matching Moleskine notebook to write in! LRS exists to collect the data of individual learning, whether in progress or completed. It then stores and provides access to individual learning records. Different types of LRS can also “speak” to one another, making it possible to transport learning data across other systems without having to upload it all painstakingly. 

How Does LRS Work, though?

Okay, I realize LRS sounds pretty magical, but it doesn’t require a trip to Ollivander’s and Hogwarts lessons. Learning records have what xAPI refers to as statement freedom, they utilize actors/nouns, verbs, and objects to create learner statements, which will be recorded in the LRS. An example of a learning record activity stream is this. 

Dr. Charlotte watched TEDtalk on viral meningitis.

Dr. Charlotte tested at 67% on asthma treatment.

Dr. Charlotte played asthma treatment simulator game. 

Dr. Charlotte completed eLearning on asthma treatment.

Dr. Charlotte tested at 97% on asthma treatment. 

This statement freedom makes it possible for almost any learning type to be recorded in the record store. Application creators realize that learning occurs in far more places than the traditional classroom or specifically chosen eLearnings. 

How is LRS Different from LMS? 

We know that most learning occurs in informal settings. That means that an LRS has the opportunity to capture those informal learning opportunities. What can be recorded can also be turned into data, quantified and measured against learning targets. A Learning Management System (LMS) is a product specifically created for the administrative side of eLearning. It can document, track, report, and deliver eLearning. However, the tracking side is more concerned with the formal courses rolled out via the system. 

LRS and LMS are different products, but they work in tandem with each other. The tracking and analytics capabilities of an LRS are likely to far outweigh an LMS, but an LMS will continue to be necessary for the roll-out of specific modules. 

LRS Top Features

  • Receive learning statements
  • Store learning statements
  • Reports learning statements 

LMS Top Features

  • Manages learner profiles
  • Manages course content 
  • Delivers course content
  • Forums and chatrooms
  • Quizzes and tests
  • Event scheduling such as face to face calls and training 
  • Reporting
  • Certificates 

While some Learning Record Stores have LMS built into their offering, most organizations possess existing LMS and add standalone LRS to round out their learning and development offering. The LMS ‘feature list’ may be longer, but that does not mean it can replace an LRS. 

Advantages of Learning Record Store 

  • Data from Anywhere and Everywhere: the more data you collect, the more knowledge you can have on your individual learners. 
  • Can record offline and online learnings.
  • Detailed Analysis: the sheer volume of data LRS records and stores makes it possible to analyze more.
  • Better Formal eLearning: by seeing all the different ways learners are informally absorbing information, it becomes possible to create better formal learning opportunities. 
  • Adaptable: Can be used across various industries and institutions. 
  • Future-Proof: If you would like to get up and move to a different LRS, the fact that you can quickly move without needing to re-upload is a big plus point. 

Disadvantages of Learning Record Store 

  • Not a full replacement for LMS (yet).
  • Administrative tasks still require the use of an LMS for the most part. 
  • Cost. The up-front cost and monthly costs may mean companies will choose to miss out on data for businesses. 

Do You Need a Learning Record Store?

As always, that depends on your organization. If your company’s goals include making the most use of learning and development landscapes, in and out of the classroom, LRS will make it possible for you to realize your aims. If you want to track many learnings across a broad range of learners and analyze their effect on information retention and real-life events, you will also greatly benefit from LRS. 

However, if your organization does not create enough data for worthwhile analysis, you can skip this one and get everything you need from an LMS.

If you are at the helm of a Fortune 500 style company or hoping to become one, what are you waiting for? Do you pride yourself on innovation? Then run, don’t walk, to integrate xAPI and LRS into your business.

Conclusion

LRS and xAPI are what make the modern edTech world salivate at the mouth. The opportunity to track learning, no matter where it occurs? That used to feel downright impossible. Welcome to the future, learners and learning administrators.