Branding Crisis: TinCan API or Experience API
The elearning world has been waiting for the release of the new API that is promising to break down the barriers that the clunky SCORM protocols cannot overcome. This light weight standard is more in line with our mobile devices, and frees-up browser restrictions – acknowledge that learning can take place outside of a browser window.
While this new protocol is proving to be rather exciting, it is suffering from an identity crisis that is hindering its general adoption. To date, I am aware of the following names for this new API:
- TinCAn API
- Experience API
There are a few others, but these are the four major version that I have come across. If we want to narrow it down further, it appears that the community is struggling to decided whether it should be called TinCan API (a name championed by Rustici Software) or Experience API (a name supported by Advanced Distributive Learning).
From a marketing standpoint, TinCan API has seen more traction because it has been around a bit longer. This was the unofficial name given to the project when it first started. Personally, I think this is a rather silly name as it is difficult to demonstrate any credibility in consulting arrangements talking about tin cans… but that’s neither here nor there.
Rustici Software, the folks who helped pioneer the SCORM protocol that we are all used to, is really pushing for TinCan API. I suppose this makes sense. They own the domain name (tincanapi.com), much like they own scorm.com. It gives them a very strong position in the market as the go-to shop for all things TinCan. Advanced Distributive Learning (a division of the U.S. government), the organization responsible for commissioning this new protocol to be developed, are pushing for Experience API. If I had to pick based on name alone, I would go with Experience API (for no other reason than it doesn’t sound like a children’s book title).
That said, TinCan API is what we have chosen to go with when describing the functionality to LearnDash customers. However, we may consider the switch, as more organizations are starting to adopt the Experience label. Ultimately, I think that the final name will depend on what the major rapid elearning development programs call it (Articulate Storyline in particular). If Articulate and/or Adobe Captivate call it TinCan – that’s probably what will stick.
Still, I can’t help but wish that it was just called SCORM 2.0. People who aren’t familiar with elearning are often familiar to some degree with “SCORM”… and the moniker “2.0” carries its own implications as enhanced, improved, better, and new.