By Leslie Spotswood, ADL Initiative
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ADL’s Lou Wolford is excited to kick off Experience API Bootcamp.

The Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative hosted its 2nd annual Experience API (xAPI) Bootcamp in Alexandria, Va., on July 14-15. The event was a huge success and had more than 40 in-person participants from all over the country, one participant from Taiwan, and 32 virtual participants from around the world.

Attendance ranged from members of government from the Department of Defense, Department of Treasury, Department of the Interior, Department of Health and Human Services; academia from George Mason University, University of Central Florida, University of Maryland University College; and industry.

The bootcamp was kicked off by the new ADL Initiative Director, Dr. Sae Schatz, who explained that the goal of the first day was to “get to know xAPI; figure out how this works for your organization; get the resources to take back; and have trial and error.”

The first sessions introduced attendees to ADL’s Training and Learning Architecture (TLA), xAPI, and the xAPI community. At mid-morning, the group broke into two tracks that integrated highly interactive sessions specifically designed for either designers or developers.

A highlight of the bootcamp was a session for attendees to learn the basics of building xAPI statements by designing an xAPI-enabled “refrigerator.”

“We essentially drew an open refrigerator on a whiteboard in front of our group of instructional designers and developers, and facilitated their design of the functionality of an xAPI-enabled fridge,” said Craig Wiggins, ADL community manager. “First, they defined what they wanted the fridge to be able to do for its users, for example, track the number of times that certain members of the family accesses the vegetable drawer, or alert users that a certain stock item needs to be replaced.

“Then, they defined the aspects of the classic xAPI statement format: (<Actor><Verb><Object>). It’s often hard for people without technical backgrounds to see through the code and get to the basics of xAPI statement construction; this session was a good way to allow designers to discover the structure and the logic themselves,” explained Wiggins.

Bootcamp’s second day included community updates and use cases for xAPI. Leaders from various communities of practice (CoP)—including video, health professions education, simulation, and social collaboration—provided a history of their CoP, the current focus, and information on how to get involved. In addition, the Bootcamp concluded a 14-week collaborative experience for ten teams from the Season 3 Design Cohort who were able to showcase their final projects and findings. The goal of the design cohorts is to design and make experiences with xAPI. This season’s projects ranged from xAPI experiences with augmented reality, Internet of Things, EPUB3 (e-books), and security.

“Incorporating xAPI data back into the book, and being able to add xAPI in HTML widgets is useful,” said one attendee who noted their favorite session was the one led by the EPUB3 CoP. “It inspires me to give it a try.”

ADL Initiative will continue to host bootcamps in the future. To learn more about ADL’s xAPI community events and organizations, please visit the website or contact ADL.