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What percentage of your learning experiences are delivered through formal instruction? Of that, what percentage come from e-learning courses? It’s not much.
When you want to learn something, where do you go? Is it to your LMS in search of that perfect computer based training? No, of course not. You go to Google, or to YouTube, or to Twitter, or to a peer. Sometimes you might even sign up for a class. Why then have we limited the educational experiences we can track to just formal e-learning courses?
Tin Can changes all of that. Learning happens everywhere. Now we can track it in a way that many systems can understand. The fact that you are reading this page is a very relevant learning experience. With Tin Can, we can record it.
Watching a Khan Academy video is a learning experience, with Tin Can, we can track it.
Attending a conference session is a learning experience, with Tin Can, we can track it.
Asking your social network for advice…
Being mentored by an expert…
Turning in your homework…
Mentoring somebody else…
Writing a blog post…
Going to class…
Reading a book…
Tons of things we do every day….are learning experiences. With Tin Can, we can track them.
Tin Can allows us to start forming a complete picture of an individual’s learning experiences. What will this look like in the real world? How do you efficiently track what people are doing outside an LMS? We don’t have all of the answers yet, Tin Can is too young, but we do have some interesting ideas and early applications.
Look at Tappestry, a mobile app that allows “users to enter Threads of information that they have learned” and record them into a Tin Can LRS.
There’s a Tin Can bookmarklet. It puts an “I Learned This” button in your browser toolbar for recording the relevant learning events while you’re browsing the web.
Download the book scanner app (Android). It allows you to scan the barcode on a book you just read and record it as a learning experience.
There are a myriad of other ways we can passively capture learning experience data.
These are just the start. We live in a world where electronic systems pervade our lives. These systems can all capture our learning experiences. (If we want them to, that is. There are plenty of security and privacy issues that need to be weighed against the value of tracking learning experiences, but that’s another article.)
There are a few key innovations built into the Tin Can API that make it possible to track informal learning experiences:
Good stuff, right? Tracking informal learning fills in a big piece of the puzzle. A detailed record of an individual’s learning experiences can be a huge predictor of success and key component to assessing readiness.
In and of itself, this second layer represents a significant leap for our industry. But, of course, there’s more…