Constant innovations in technology have opened the door to a number of new possibilities when it comes to eLearning. One of those innovations that really changes the way we see and engage in eLearning is a Learning Record Store (LRS). It gathers and stores all of the activities and experiences of learners, and it does so from various remote sources, which goes way beyond what a Learning Management System (LMS) can do.
Why is that exactly? An LRS gathers more data than an LMS because it is Tin Can API (Application programming interface) compliant. Not to be confused, you can make your LMS Tin Can API compliant, but that means adding an LRS to it.
Tin Can API (also known as Experience API or xAPI) is a learning technology specification that enables you to collect data concerning both online and offline experiences of your learners. All of those learning experiences and activities are gathered, recorded and stored in a Learning Record Store.
What Exactly Is a Learning Record Store?
A Learning Record Store is a new type of data storage system that is used for gathering, recording and storing learning experiences and transforming them into data that serve as learning records. It is a repository of learning experiences collected from various sources, such as the Intranet or mobile apps, and even collected from offline sources.
A Learning Record Store and Tin Can API go hand in hand, since it is the Tin Can API that actually makes it possible for you to gather every piece of data from learning activities and experiences. It sends those experiences to an LRS in the form of statements, using very simple vocabulary and, thus, making communication between different systems (between an LRS and an LMS, or between different LRSs) pretty easy. It uses nouns, verbs, and objects to describe learning activities, so you can easily monitor your learners’ progress and keep track of everything they have learned.
For instance, if one of your learners watches a video regarding your training, Tin Can API records that activity and sends a statement to your LRS, which would look something like this: “ben-watched-video”, where instead of the word “video” would be the actual title of it, so that you can know exactly what your learner watched.
You can easily retrieve all of the statements in your LRS dashboard, which provides a number of reporting functions for enabling you to report and easily interpret all of your learner data.
What’s important is that Tin Can API enables you to track your learners’ progress regardless of the devices and platforms they are using. This is precisely why an LRS is so much more beneficial than an LMS, since you don’t have to be using an LMS in order to monitor and track your learners. All you need is a Learning Record Store.
However, this doesn’t mean that you should completely drop your LMS. As a matter of fact, you should use both an LMS and an LRS because, when they are integrated, they can help you accomplish much more and take eLearning to a whole new level.
What Is the Difference between an LRS and an LMS?
The main difference between a Learning Record Store and a Learning Management System is that, although both of the systems collect and record learners’ activities and experiences, an LMS collects all of the learning data only within its own system, while an LRS has quite a larger reach, allowing you to collect learning data from other systems as well, and to share that data between different systems.
Both of the systems can exist completely on their own but, as already mentioned, when they are integrated, both of them can reach their maximum potential. That is why educational institutions, companies and various other organizations are choosing to use both an LRS and an LMS and provide their learners with better education and training. The integration of the systems provides a much better insight into learner experiences and, thus, enables educators and trainers to know how to improve their teaching efforts and create a much richer eLearning environment.
An LMS helps you provide your learners with an impeccable learning experience, but an LRS literally arms you with richer learning records and enables you to improve your lessons and teaching style, so that you can yield much better results and make your every effort truly effective and successful.
Again, you should not choose between the two, because an LMS can provide you with something that an LRS can’t, such as creating eLearning courses and quizzes, adding various types of media to your courses, managing your learners, scheduling, assessment, automatic grading, delivering certifications to your learners, to name just a few of the many useful features.
An LRS is only for storing your learner data and reporting on all of the collected data, but it arms you with a pretty vast amount of data for improving and personalizing your teaching process with the goal of helping your learners master their knowledge and skills.
Hopefully, you can now understand how important it is to add an LRS to your eLearning and how much difference it can really make. If you are still using only an LMS, make sure you integrate it with an LRS as soon as possible and take your eLearning to a whole new level. The ProProfs Learning Record Store is one of the best ones you can choose from, so be sure to check it out. There is a free trial period, so you can take it for a test drive to see how it works before making your final decision.
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system & elearning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs.
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