We thought that there were only so many human beings who wake up early on a Tuesday morning excited to hear a talk about eLearning interoperability standards. Boy, were we wrong! We were shocked to see how many people joined Chris Tompkins and Brian Miller on “Our IEEE LTSC voting members recap 2023 and what’s next for the standards” webinar last week.

The Rustici Software team regularly contributes to the evolution of the standards through involvement with the IEEE, ADL and 1EdTech eLearning standards groups. These communities and large group discussions help set the direction on how learning tools should play nicely together now and in the future. During the webinar, Chris and Brian chatted about what happened with the standards in 2023 and what might be coming in the next five years. So if you missed the webinar or want to rewatch or share with your colleagues, here’s a link to the recording and presentation slides or read on for a recap of what they covered.

What happened in 2023

xAPI 2.0 becomes a standard

In late March, the IEEE approved “IEEE 9274.1.1-2023” – or xAPI 2.0. In fact xAPI 2.0 is the first open source specification to become an IEEE standard, which puts it in the same category as other common standards like Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11). Vendors who are curious about what changed and how to prepare for xAPI 2.0 should read Brian’s recent blog.

SCORM Cloud standards stats

SCORM Cloud has been running for roughly 15 years now and has seen millions of course uploads with hundreds of thousands of users in its time. While this is not perfectly statistical data, looking at the platform’s standards usage gave us some insight into some interesting trends. In 2023, over half of the content uploaded to SCORM Cloud on any given day was a SCORM 1.2 package, with the second highest being AICC. These are two of the oldest standards and goes to show that age can be a strength when it comes to interoperability in technology. More recently, we’re seeing a rise in xAPI (really we mean tincan.xml packages) and cmi5 as the fastest growing standards. It’s encouraging to see xAPI and cmi5 adoption increasing as we know it can take a long time for standards to evolve.

The other thing that is interesting to look at is not just which courses have been uploaded to SCORM Cloud, but which courses are being played by actual learners. That shows a completely different side of the story as AICC is no longer significant, but SCORM remains the winner. Nearly 3 out of 4 course launches are SCORM 1.2 or SCORM 2004. For anyone who says SCORM is dead, this shows it’s still very much used today.

What’s next

cmi5 2.0

cmi5 is on the track to become an IEEE standard. The cmi5 working group is busy updating the specification to be compatible with xAPI 2.0 and 2.0 statements. While you’re waiting, now’s a great time to put cmi5 on your learning and training roadmap as well as start asking your vendors to support cmi5. This way, once it becomes an IEEE standard and compatible with 2.0, you and your preferred vendors will be ahead of the game.

Rustici Engine release

Now let’s talk about our adoption timelines for these new standards in Rustici’s products. Later this month, Rustici Engine will have a major release to support xAPI 2.0. The LRS within Engine already passes ADL’s LRS Conformance Test Suite accepting both xAPI 1.0 and 2.0 requests. If you’re a customer, be on the lookout for communications about the release details very soon. Since Rustici Engine is integrated behind the scenes across hundreds of LMSs, learning systems and next-gen learning platforms in the market, this will further support increased industry adoption too.

Asking your vendors to adopt cmi5

We all want to buy evergreen tools, but software changes quickly. It’s important to know how to future-proof your tech stack. If you’re evaluating a purchase decision, ask your vendors what’s planned for their product roadmap. Do they have intentions of supporting xAPI and cmi5? Do they make it easy to migrate data if you choose another tool later? They may not have support yet, but cmi5 and xAPI support should be on their roadmaps.

Keep the conversation going

Want to get more involved with where the standards are headed? Join the xAPI Cohort, the IEEE LTSC working group or attend the IEEE ICICLE 2024 conference later this year.

We spend a lot of time helping people with eLearning standards who aren’t customers and likely never will be. We provide free resources on SCORM.com and xAPI.com, which includes cmi5 information, and we’re happy to answer questions when people contact us directly. We’re happy to help you too, so if you have any questions about the different standards or how Rustici products support different standards, feel free to reach out.

As Senior Marketing Manager, Tara leads the charge on our marketing strategy by developing targeted campaigns to generate demand for our products. She coordinates our large events, advertising and enjoys digging into the data to analyze the performance of our efforts. She’s also a serious skier – she got engaged in Vail and honeymooned in Banff.