LearningLocker LRS – version 1.0 now available

Learning Locker has left beta and is now at version 1.0. This may be a significant milestone in a series of developments that could profoundly affect the future of online learning and perhaps the whole educational system.  

Learning Locker is an open source implementation of a TinCan (xAPI) learning record store (LRS). It provides a repository to record information about learning activities and outcomes, using open standards for import and export. That’s about it: some sorting and search tools, some export facilities, and the means to store information about learning from other applications. While other xAPI LRSs already exist, this open source implementation seems the most promising so far, the most feature-complete, and the most likely to see widespread adoption. OK, unless you are a learning technology geek I realise that this might sound rather dull and arcane, but the potential for disruption, especially given widespread support for the experience API (xAPI) standard in a wide range of applications, is quite high. Amongst other things:

  • it is a critical part of the infrastructure to free us from the mediocre monolithic silos of learning management systems which, in educational systems till now, have typically been the place where learning activities occur, content is produced, and progress is recorded. By separating the function of recording progress from the means of delivery, it massively increases the range of information and applications that can be used in an integrated way for education, from games to social media systems, MOOCs to traditional classroom activities, and everything between. It allows a great many more forms of progress to be recorded at any level of granularity, from solving a puzzle in a game to looking at a web page, from doing an exam to writing a thesis. It makes it significantly easier to switch between platforms.
  •  it allows any and every kind of evidence of learning to be recorded, of great benefit to lifelong learners wishing to provide evidence of,  and to reflect on and to plan a learning journey. Freeing such data from guarded silos means learners can control their own learning records, keeping them in a cloud, on their own servers or their own computers, transferring them as and when they wish. This goes far beyond the basic functionality of an e-portfolio system, but integrates beautifully with one. It, or something very like it, is a vital piece in the move towards truly open learning at a level that has the potential to disrupt the traditional education and training system.
  •  it makes possible a wide range of analytics for the benefit of learners (and, potentially, for the benefit of teachers and organizations) that go far beyond the structured assessment and activity records that can be captured by an LMS. From finding people with a particular set of skills to analyzing holes in your own learning to organizational learning profiling, the possibilities are huge.

This just scratches the surface of the potential of this technology and standard, and it is just going to get better. More information about Learning Locker is available at http://learninglocker.net

Address of the bookmark: https://github.com/learninglocker/learninglocker

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology and teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems, of which I am the Chair. I am married, with two grown-up children, and live in beautiful Vancouver.

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