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Tin Can and your RFP

You’re going to issue an RFP for a learning technologies purchase and need it to have the kind of Tin-Can-enabled features you’ve read about on this website. Just add “Must be Tin Can conformant” to the RFP and the job’s done, right? Wrong. It’s a little more complex than that.

Tin Can isn’t a checkbox

Tin Can is a specification that defines how data about learning and performance experiences and achievements can be communicated between systems. The applications of that technology are very broad, and Tin Can is being used in many different ways. We’ve outlined some of these for product vendors here.

The problem is that if you simply list “Must be Tin Can conformant”, your vendor won’t necessarily know what you want them to do with Tin Can. Should the product send Tin Can statements to an LRS or should it be an LRS itself? Should it launch Tin Can e-learning content or display Tin Can data in reports? You need to be specific about how Tin Can will be used.

Conformance should be a given however the application is using Tin Can. When you buy a computer, you might ask how many usb ports it has, but you don’t ask for a usb conformant computer, you expect it. It’s the same with Tin Can: ask what the product is doing with Tin Can and expect that whatever it is doing is conformant; get annoyed if it’s not!

RFP example

We’re not going to give you a complete example RFP to copy and paste because your requirements relating to Tin Can should be driven by your requirements for the solution as a whole. This will be specific to your organization and project.

That said, below are some examples of what good requirements for an LMS RFP might look like. Not all of these requirements will necessarily be required in your organization, so please use these examples carefully. RFP requirements for other systems should include a similar level of detail.

  • Must be capable of launching Tin Can content created in common authoring tools so that tracking data from those authoring tools can be sent to an external LRS as configured within the LMS. (Consider listing some common authoring tools used by your organization or that might be used in your organization in future).
  • The proposal must include an LRS either external or internal to the LMS.
  • Learner activities within the LMS including responses to quiz questions and forum posts must be trackable via Tin Can to an external LRS.
  • When the time comes to migrate to a new system, it should be possible to transfer all learner data including records of formal and informal learning experiences to a new system via Tin Can.
  • The LMS must be configurable to release content to learners based on activities occurring outside of the LMS that are tracked via Tin Can. E.g. we will be able to release a quiz to learners after they have attended a particular classroom session.
  • Must include a dashboard for learners to view a record of recent learning activities they have completed that were tracked via Tin Can.

Need more help?

We’re happy to look over your RFP and answer your questions.

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