Tin Can version 1 released today - what does this mean for learning?

Tin Can API logoToday the version 1 spec of the Tin Can API was released. Big congratulations and thanks to the Tin Can API working group and the ADL (Advanced Distributed Learning), who are the custodians of the SCORM and Tin Can standards.



I know they have given up a lot of their time to get the standard this far. For some, this day has been several years in the making.

GitHub and the Open Standard

Additionally, ADL's decision to put the near-finished version 1 standard on the open source community site GitHub and ask for feedback was the right move. It's been fascinating and rewarding contributing to the effort while watching, in real time, the standard move closer to the release day.

Up until now organisations developing with the Tin Can API have been using a 'work in progress' specification that was nearly there, but rough around the edges. There can be risk involved with using a WIP spec, however so many companies won't consider working with a standard until it is considered stable.

So, version 1 of the Tin Can API is the release that everyone has been waiting for - it's a sign post to say that the standard is robust, real and recognised by the standards body (ADL).

This should be enough for learning product and service vendors to start incorporating the Tin Can interface. My personal hope is that the Tin Can API can now make the jump from the learning industry to the wider world. For example, it would be great to see a company like LinkedIn showing experiences on user profiles, or Amazon building it into their Kindle platform to record experiences when users finish books.

Stand-out features in version 1

Although version 0.95 was most of the way there, early adopters (like Brightwave) have been eagerly awaiting new key functionality to put to use in our applications. Version 0.95 was great but our thinking has moved on and we now need the enhancements.

So here are the two stand-out features new with version 1.


Let's say you went to an all day workshop, your Tin Can statement could say that you 'attended' but what if you recorded some video of part or all of the session? You may also have some notes that you want to save alongside the statement. Version 1 allows you to save these attachments with your statement in the Learning Record Store (LRS).

At Brightwave, we have been eagerly awaiting this addition and have already started work on implementing it in our upcoming tessello mobile app. This will allow users to video or photograph things and include them in their experiences.

Statement signing

A lot has been said about the self-reporting nature of the Tin Can API experiences. There is a fear that the value of experiences is diminished if there is no way to prove that the user has actually done it.

In the physical world the proof that somebody has done something would be a certificate of completion issued by a recognised authority.

In a Tin Can digital world this same action can now be performed by using the statement signing feature. When issued, a statement can be digitally signed by the issuing body. This will enable individuals to prove that the statement for completing course X came from the authority body Y and not a self-posted forgery.

What's next…?

The ADL is committed to building up the documentation and guides around the standard to make it easier to adopt. I'm sure there will be more blogs, tech guides and open source projects created by the wider community. There may even be books!

We're certainly looking forward to what's next, as we start experimenting with further new features that could be in future versions of the standard.

Does your organisation plan on working with the Tin Can API now that the standard has reached version 1? We'd be interested to hear how you plan on using it, or what you'd like to see going forward, so feel free to share in the comments below.