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The Learning Record Store (LRS) is the heart of any xAPI ecosystem — receiving, storing and returning data about learning experiences, achievements and job performance. You’ll need an LRS in order to do anything with xAPI. Every other tool which sends or retrieves learning activity data will interact with the LRS as the central store.
It’s a lot of work to build your own LRS. This is because xAPI was designed to make it as easy as possible to develop products that interact with an LRS. As a result, all of the complexity of the specification has been put onto the LRS, much of which is hidden in the details of implementation.
Fortunately, there’s a whole range of commercial and open source LRSs available. There’s really no need for you to build your own. These LRSs come in lots of different flavors, so let’s explore some of the broad categories.
Learning Record Store (LRS) products can be categorized into three types. Some products might fulfil more than one role or do a little of everything.
In most cases you’ll only need one of these classes of LRS, though you can connect multiple LRSs if you need to.
The table below is a comparison of these types.
|Learning Analytics Platform||OEM LRS||Testing and Development LRS|
|Powerful reporting and analytics built in||Yes||No||No|
|Detailed error messages and debugging information||No||Yes, but specific to the LRS||Yes|
|Designed for production use||Yes||Yes||No|
|Learner interface||May have limited learner facing features||No||No|
|Power user (admin, analyst) interface||Yes||May have a limited interface||Yes|
|Developer interface to directly explore raw LRS data||No||May have a limited interface||Yes|
|Useful to organizations||Yes, to provide actionable insights from training and performance data.||Yes, to add LRS functionality to an existing product.||If developing in-house.|
|Useful to activity provider vendors||In later stages of development to test compatibility with reports.
Could also be used to prove the value of their product to customers.
|If an LRS is required as part of the product.||Yes, to test and confirm interoperability.|
|Useful to LMS vendors||Potential to integrate a Learning Analytics Platform into the LMS||Yes, to incorporate an LRS in the LMS.||Yes, to test and confirm interoperability.|
As well as thinking about what type of LRS you need, there are some other factors you should consider when choosing an LRS:
Be sure to discuss these and any other questions you may have with your LRS vendor; some of the questions might require you to find an answer internally, but your LRS vendor should give you advice on them all.
Once you’ve decided which type of LRS you think you need and put together a list of questions to ask vendors, you should look at some specific products. There are a range of LRSs and products that include LRSs listed on the adopters list.
We have a range of LRS products available:
Cloud includes a free option with basic functionality which may be sufficient for the needs of your first xAPI project.
Follow the links above to find out more about each of our products. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, please contact us.