The Actors in xAPI

I have read many blog posts, heard a number of presentations and watched a number of YouTubes about how the code of xAPI works.

At it’s heart, it is simple.  An Actor, A Verb and An Object.
Bob Completed Drag and Drop Activity.

In practice, it is a little more complicated.

If you are doing the coding, there can be all sorts of extras that can be added to this simple statement.  This is a great thing, it will allow you to add all sorts of information that could be important to the learning activity.  Things like location (added to the Object), different types of security protocols for Actors, and Verbs translated into multiple languages or nuanced for different interactions.  To read more in highly technical speak that I’m still wading through read the ADL xAPI Spec

If you aren’t doing the coding things can still be tricky.  In my last post, I had H5P do the heavy lifting of coding the basic structure of the xAPI statement.  The Verb is coded into the content type as is the Object.  I didn’t need to make any changes.  But the Actor.  That was tricky.  The actor is coded into the statement, but it is a variable, and when an unknown user launches the activity, an error message appears and though data is sent, it is not connected to an actual user.

Anonymous users 729 and 490

anon 729 anon user 490

Actor names will be important.  If you are a provider of content or a learning professional, you want to track who is using your content and if they are making learning gains.  If you are working on your own professional development, you will want to track your personal learning back to a central e-mail or account.

For the xAPI LearnPress project, I have added a Membership Services Plug-in to create user accounts that will allow logging of individual Actors on posts that include content that send xAPI statements.  To see the result, revisit the Content types post.

I will add a how to in the next post…

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