The API Briefing: Keeping up with Federal Employee Training – DOD’s xAPI

Federal employee training is about to receive a much-needed boost in the President’s 2015 Budget Request. Training is essential to the federal workforce and agencies have a number of learning management systems to deliver online training along with the traditional classroom training. The problem is that all of these training sources don’t share information with each other about what training a learner has completed. Compiling a training record is a tedious and mostly manual process of printing out certificates, filling out SF-182s, and keeping paper records.

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DOD’s Advanced Distributed Learning program created the Experience API (xAPI) to alleviate the current problems in creating and maintaining a training record. The xAPI communicates with a secure Learning Record Store (LRS) to keep a history of the learner’s training history. Any training from reading a book to completing a five-day workshop is captured in the LRS through the xAPI.

But that is only half the power of xAPI. The real value of the xAPI is that the information in the LRS is made available to any learning platform or any agency human resources system. The employee’s training record travels with him or her as they change jobs and agencies. Developers can pair the xAPI with other APIs to track training trends, training costs, or even implement a training review system as you would see on Amazon.com.

The Advanced Distributed Learning program is creating a Training and Learning Architecture to help make federal training more effective while cutting costs and encouraging sharing among the agencies. The xAPI demonstrates the power of APIs in making government more efficient and performing better through increased collaboration and knowledge sharing.Each week in “The API Briefing,” I will showcase government APIs and the latest API news and trends. Visit this blog every week to learn how government APIs are transforming government and improving government services for the American people. If you have ideas for a topic or have questions about APIs, please contact me via email. Dr. William A. Brantley, PMP, is a Program Analyst, in Forecasting and Methods at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). You can find out more about his work in this space at BillBrantley.com.

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