Tin Can vs. SCORM

The Tin Can API (also known as Experience API or xAPI) is the new kid on the block and gaining ground. It shares the same goal as the Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM)—to track a learner’s activities. BOTH STANDARDS use statements to track activities. SCORM uses metadata statements, and Tin Can uses a statement ordered as Actor:Verb:Object.

SCORM’s tracking is more restrictive than Tin Can’s. SCORM records learning activities performed through a browser. Tin Can records web-based learning events as well as experiences that take place outside the browser, for example, “flying” a “solo flight.” An experience does not indicate completion, though Tin Can does record completed activities. Tin Can records whatever actions, activities and experiences the instructional designer or developer defines.

SCORM communicates directly with the Learning Management System (LMS); xAPI communicates with a Learning Record Store (LRS), which can reside within the LMS or as a standalone module.

While the Tin Can API hasn’t yet rendered SCORM obsolete, it appears to be on its way to doing just that. You don’t have to worry about losing SCORM-compliant content; you can convert it for use with a Tin Can LRS.