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2015masterhead I will be speaking at the ATD 2015 International Conference and Expo.  My session on Sunday, May 17 at 4:30 PM will focus on systems selection. I share many tips and tricks for making your selection process more effective. At the very least, anyone going through a selection process should steal this EvaluationTool – an Excel format decision support tool you can adapt for your needs (even if you cannot make the session- take it). Even if you outsource your search to a service provider (some LMS experts offer this service and do a great job for a fair price), this Excel tool is a great resource for your organization to clarify and weight your organization’s requirements for the consultant. Once the matrix is completed (sample), the Evaluation tool illustrates how each system ranks based on YOUR weighted requirements and YOUR assessment of how well each tool addresses those requirements- including some nifty charts you can filter.

xAPI Connections Forum was a bit like seeing the Grand Canyon: weeks later, I am still trying to comprehend the full magnitude of something when even just a small part of it completely fills my field of vision.

Eventually, I came to the conclusion. I will never fully get my head around it. And that is its beauty. We will continue to explore and expose its wonders.

However, there is a big difference. Despite its appearance, the Grand Canyon has boundaries. There are no perceivable boundaries with xAPI.

There is a lot of confusion about xAPI (also known at TinCan). I think the easiest way to get right to the heart of xAPI, is to draw comparisons to the Internet of Things and the Social Graph.

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  • The Internet of Things (IoT) connects devices to the internet to provide data and controls to users. Cars with Navigation systems that that don’t only guide via GPS, but also provide traffic updates is another great example of the intercommunication of devices to a network for powerful results.
  • The Social Graph maps how people are connected to each other. The Social Graph unveils many things about an individual and is used heavily in analytics for varied purposes ranging from politics to marketing to even crime prevention.

xAPI is the start of the Internet of Learning and the building blocks for the Learning Graph.

xAPI is bigger than the Internet of Things and the Social Graph combined, because it includes both. xAPI enables the collection of data from activity embedded within social tools for analysis. xAPI also allows collection of data from devices. However, unlike proprietary systems that feeds data to silos, xAPI is designed to allow feeds from various sources to work together for insights we’ve never seen before.

This is the first blog for a series I will be writing on xAPI and the things I saw at Connections Forum. Initially, I planned to write a HUGE blog to summarize the amazing things I saw and the insightful comments shared. But it was too big and many of the topics deserve deeper consideration.

But the most exciting fact is this: we are just starting, and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Parting thought:

This past week, LinkedIn bought for over $1B (about 10X it’s revenue). Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, outlined his reasons, referencing an “Economic Graph” to businesses with talent that possessed needed skills (certainly a large component of a Learning Graph). This acquisition wasn’t about buying a catalog of content (no matter how stellar- and trust me, it is). This was a data acquisition about the people and businesses in the network (they are well-connected throughout businesses and many colleges) and skills residing in that network.

The largest connector of employers to talent just made its largest acquisition in it’s history to support a component of the Learning Graph. As L&D professionals, we have to stop focusing on the front-facing, faceplate layer of content presentation, and focus on the deeper, more valuable layer underneath. It is time get literate in the specification that will feed the Internet of Learning and the Learning Graph.