Tin-Can API Renamed To Something Even Sillier

For quite some time now the learning community has been referring to the upcoming eLearning protocol as “Tin-Can API” due to the back and forth communication nature of this new standard.  I think this name was well suited for the project initially, but it was starting to pose some problems.  Specifically, in an industry where it can be hard to establish credibility, talking about “Tin-Can” didn’t do me any favors 🙂 . But, Tin-Can is no more.  The API is now being labelled as “Experience API”.  Initially thoughts?  Not much better.

Personally, I am not one for cute or crafty names when it comes to this kind of thing.  I can only imagine the conversations with clients…

“Yea, we need to make sure that we publish to Experience API”

“Are you publishing to SCORM v1.2, SCORM 2004, or Experience?”

“Does your current LMS publish to SCORM or Experience?”

“You should really considering upgrading to Experience API”

Ugh, I’m not looking forward to that.  It just sound silly.  Nonetheless, a rose by any other name is still a rose.  This new direction for our industry is still the correct direction, regardless of the silly nomenclature.

If all this Tin-Can/Experience talk is new to you, then take a look at this post located on eLearning Industry.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

8 Comments
  1. Steve

    Experience API (XAPI) was the original name from the ADL Initiative, it hasn’t been renamed. Tin Can was a working name. Experience API more closely describes what it is, in my opinion. An API that captures the expression of experiences. Why do you think it sounds silly?

    • Justin

      In the end it’s just a name, so it’s not all that important. And naturally, like anything, some will like it and some will not like it so much. While Experience API does describe it, I personally think it sounds a little too “Disney” for my liking.

      Just curious, how does one pronounced XAPI? “Ex-API”?

  2. Experience API makes total sense. An API that is designed to allow data on experiences to write to an LRS. Not sure where the disconnect is.

    But I agree, not really important. It’s not like SCORM really was catchy (if I had a dime for every mispronunciation or each time it was written as SCROM…).

    Let’s worry less about the name or any pronunciation, let’s just build great stuff with it. Perhaps if we came up with an unpronounceable symbol and called it “the artist formally known as SCORM” (which isn’t really true, it’s focus is quite different).

  3. I agree with David and prefer the name Experience API. I feel it is much more descriptive of what the protocol is about. It is a way to generically register events that contribute to a person’s training resume. In my opinion, Tin-Can API sounds a lot more Disney-like that Experience API.

  4. Now I’m really confused. Is this a new, revised and updated SCORM?
    If so, then knock off the silly naming conventions and stay with the long-established tradition of SCORM v1.2/2004/2012 or SCORM 2.0.

    Google has set a nonsensical precedent by referring to its Android software updates with non-aligned and non-intuitive terms of “froyo”, “jelly bean”, and navel lint. This nonsense leaves no trail of which is older/newer and compatible with what version of hardware or other software kernels.

    Yes, I am semantically-challenged and resist the coinage of unrelated terms to describe similar items. Apparently the original working name of “Tin Can” only made sense to the software programmers devising it, not to the users who will employ its function and be forced to refer to something by future names of TinCan, TinCan+, EXPERIENCE, INTERPRETATION, or KNEE-JERK that may be only an updated version of SCORM protocol.

    • Justin

      I think I might fall into your camp Randy when it comes to preference of naming conventions. From the ADL website:

      Since the conclusion of the 2011 Experience API BAA (Nicknamed “Project Tin Can”), ADL has been busy paving the way forward for what will be the Experience API (Tin Can API) specification. We’ve researched activity streams and we’ve expanded our collaboration capabilities.

      We’ve re-combined the outputs of the 2011 ADL BAA, Project Tin Can, into specific goals for the next generation of SCORM.

      ADL views this as the next generation of SCORM. As such, I think SCORM 2.0 would have made sense as it conveys “generation next” much in the same way “Web 2.0” does.

      Then again, that name isn’t as sexy I suppose. Again, it’s all just a name so “whatever” right? To be frank, the only thing I am disenchanted with is the name, not the functionality or direction, so I guess it could be worse.

  5. Can you imagine the confusion in the Instructional Design-101 class trying to explain to entry-level students “the requirements for SCORM-compliant training modules, which must meet the customer’s (often confused) need for reusable content. Today’s lesson is how to ensure compliance to SCORM v1.2, SCORM 2004, or “Experience,” which is also referred to as EAPI, XAPI… formerly known as “TinCan. You can think of it as SCORM 2.0, because that’s what it really is.”

    I think I just lost credibility with my student audience. I know they’ve already forgotten the point and merit of reusable content.

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