Project Tin Can

Jun 19, 2012

I gather Articulate is adopting/will be adopting the Tin Can API for tracking when using the mobile player? I thought I'd post a link to basic information in case anyone was interested in learning more about it. It appears there's also a Tin Can Alley at MLearnCon with demos?

10 Replies
James Brandwood

Thanks for the link Todd.

I couldn't find any reference to the demos at the MLearnCon website, but would love to hear if someone else did. I did come across a statement in a blog by Wendy Wickham who spoke to someone from Rustici at MLearnCon. In her blog she stated that;

"- One use case that I saw - "SCORM option". This seems to be one I understand. Saw this with the demo of Articulate Storyline. This is not seen as a SCORM replacement though."

I would love to know more about this demo if anyone has information on it.

Blog link:

Steve Flowers

Three of the demos at Tin Can Alley are Storyline demos. Dave Mozealous made a demo at the Tin Can API call-in last Thursday. In his demo, the iOS player as well as the desktop output. The LRS recorded activity streams (question submissions, scores, completions) and resumed from where the component left off from within the iOS player. 

I think Tin Can is very much intended as a replacement / enhancement for the SCORM  communication protocols (as SCORM was for AICC). As you've probably noticed, even though SCORM was designed as a replacement / enhancement for AICC, AICC is still around.  I'm hoping that things catch on quickly. The way the new protocols and APIs are being designed, it looks like we'll be seeing some black box bolt-ons that can talk to leading LMS products (hoping this is what we'll see -- should speed up adoption and decrease costs for legacy LMS license holders).

One of the most outstanding things I've seen is the level of adoption, even before the API spec is finished. Questionmark Perception has been working on observation assessment capability for awhile (the ability to mark off a task after observing successful completion on the job). The addition of the Tin Can API removes a lot of potential friction from this process.

There's more to the current ADL Colab work than the Tin Can API (called the Experience API at one time). A whole learning experience architecture is being blueprinted with extensible APIs. Pretty cool stuff. Can't wait to see the next piece. If it's as cool as the Tin Can API, we're in for a wild ride.

Todd Thornton


Not at the conference, and have not seen additional demos posted other than what Steve described, but I did run across a pretty basic video explaining traditional SCORM vs Tin Can. I'd suggest starting at 2:45. 

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James Brandwood

Thanks Steve,

I was able to do the tasks and it did add the MLearnCon Realm (I have a SCORM Cloud account) to my list of realms but it didn't retain the information about me having done different trainings.

BTW I think the training in how to make a green monster was missing a key ingredient, being sugar, about a ton of sugar.

Todd I will try view that video later, work blocks you tube. Thanks for the link.

David Glow

The key thing that I would like to see is what the LRS is picking up. I have used Studio-published SCORM courses and uploaded to SCORMCloud. Very curious to what TinCan is picking up in SCORMCloud from Storyline.

However, my question is this- the LRS means that an activity doesn't have to be triggered from an LMS (or SCORM service like SCORMCloud), and the LRS could potentially store the activity stream.  However, thusfar, I have only seen LMS-type services capture and store the data. Is there any LRS repositories out there not tied to platforms/LMS systems?

This also begs the question as to being able to take your training data with you (from employer to employer or client to client): if the LRS is in a portal/LMS run by company X, how do you get the LRS repository to release appropriate records to a personal LRS?

Steve Flowers

Hey, David - 

You raise some really great points. I don't think there are any independent LRS services yet. To my knowledge, the SCORMCloud LRS is the only one exposed. LITMOS may have one but I'm pretty sure it's parcel with their LMS. 

I'm hoping to see motivations that drive towards (or at least don't stand in the way of) common implementation of open systems. There aren't many incentives for LMS vendors to make things open and portable. Lock-in keeps customers locked in. Those who control the HR data (those that perceive ownership over PII) may also influence the model for how open systems become.

At least now it's *possible* for systems to break free of the LMS mindset. Time will tell

David Glow

Thanks Steve- I see it as a few levels of challenge:

1. My current employer would have enjoyed seeing a very significant repository of my skills/abilities from my prior education and work experiences- that's where "I own my records" is a benefit to both parties.

2. My current employer invests in my development. Some of this (such as assisting me in obtaining PMP Certification) is a good item for public LRS sharing, but other items, like training or achievements in company-specific proprietary practices or systems, is not.

I imagine as it matures over time, it would have to be a bit like the Health Records and access securities. Companies control sharing of items that could be sensitive or proprietary, but for most things, it should be shared.

But I fear that it may turn into something like College transcripts- I earned the degree, but if I want an official transcript, I have to pay to have it sent (holding a person's records hostage for a fee).  I imagine companies could twist the intent here a bit.

I hope it doesn't get to that, but even not-for-profit education institutions default to charging for such a service, I can't imagine what for-profit entities would conclude.

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