L&D Spotlight: xAPI & Learning Fitness

Anyone who knows me also knows how much I like to participate in sports and coach activities that test fitness. Consequently, I see a lot of similarities in how we, as learners, need great teachers and coaches to help us realize the potential to be better than yesterday.

This idea inspired me to create the concept of “learning fitness.” Just as a Fitbit tracks steps as data points of activity, learning fitness is the aggregation of learning experiences to better understand tendencies, patterns, activities, etc.

It’s a way to reframe learning and develop mindsets focused on growth, so we’re constantly aware of and improving our learning frequency and quality.

Track learning fitness with xAPI.

Building and maintaining a culture of learning and development fitness is an ongoing process that consists of communication, user experience and analytics.

  • Communication helps us to engage our people in development opportunities.
  • User experience enables us to nudge our learners to want to learn more through personalized recommendations.
  • Analytics support and enhance user experience that helps us visualize when L&D fitness is not consistent. They also can help us understand trends, correlations and moments of need when it comes to organizational learning slow down.

And xAPI is the best way to structure all of our learning data. If learning fitness comprises the aggregate events—or activities that enable our development—then xAPI allows us to count those “steps” in a way that means something to the organization, regardless of where it came from.

Data is a great conversation starter.

A simple fact, such as “John Doe completed the mandatory compliance training last year,” is a data point that tells us learning was focused in one area.

Does that showcase all of what John might have done last year? No.

Will we capture everything John did? No.

Will we have a better idea through L&D fitness approaches if our people are engaged in becoming more learning fit? Yes.

This is just the start, though. Learning fitness should be an evolving experience where data leads to conversations, which leads to focused outcomes, which leads to more opportunities, which comes back to additional data.

Remember, data provides new signals that allow organizations to have higher-fidelity pictures of their organizations’ development and growth.

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