eRecess - eLearning Recess

A Playground for Thoughts on Educational Technology and Training. Topical discussions on educational technology and elearning for technology-minded educators and training professionals. Hosted by Avron Barr and Tom King.
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eRecess - eLearning Recess


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A Playground for Thoughts on Educational Technology and Training.
Hosted by Avron Barr and Tom King.

Join the conversation as we engage in topical discussion on educational technology and elearning. Our intended audience is technology-minded professionals in the fields of education and corporate training.

Please participate. The podcast first “semester” is January - June of 2016 and our goal is to publish 1-2 episodes a month.

Use the moderated comments below or @eLearningRecess for follow-up questions or future topic ideas.
Everybody loves a little encouragement.

Sep 21, 2016

Avron and Tom interview guest speaker Mike Rustici. We discuss TinCan, xAPI, Learning Analytics, Watershed LRS, Rustici Software, the Learning Technologies Group and more.

See all the show notes and add your comments at or reach us on twitter @eLearningRecess

Watershed LRS and Rustici Software

Watershed LRS
twitter: @WatershedLRS

Rustici Software
twitter: @rusticisoftware

Learning Technologies Group Plc acquires Rustici Software and invests in Watershed


Presentation from 2016 Learning Analytics Conference in Nashville

Andy Web - Applied Industrials - “Gaining Executive Buy-in for a Learning Record Store (LRS)”
Andy presented a 26 slide Learning Record Store (LRS) case study that correlates online learning results to KPIs from operational SAP results. Corporate users improve basic financial acumen while learning the benefits of utilizing the new SAP process. He also discussed obtaining leadership adoption throughout the LRS process.

Additional Companies and Technologies Mentioned


degreed (a Lifelong Learning Platform)


IMS Caliper Specification

Pathgather (a non-LMS LMS)

Good Stuff

Referral links to some iOS apps that Tom likes to make use of:


Aug 1, 2016

cmi5 Discussion with Bill McDonald

Guest speaker Bill McDonald discusses the cmi5 spec for xAPI and LMS use. Bill provides a clean, simple description of cmi5 while he combats the hype and Tom’s leading questions like, “is cmi5 really a better AICC than AICC, a better SCORM than SCORM, and a better xAPI than xAPI?” Avron gets answers about content launching and reporting. Along the way we share insights, insider jokes and helpful references for the curious.

See all the show notes and add your comments at or reach us on twitter @eLearningRecess

Learn About cmi5: Intro Articles and Overviews

Time to Plug Into CMI-5 by Bill McDonald
Bill explains cmi5 in layman’s terms.

Experience API, cmi5, and Future SCORM by Art Werkenthin
Art provides some background on SCORM and xAPI and the shortcomings that cmi5 addresses. NOTE: this May 2015 article predates the May 2016 publication of cmi5 “Quartz” (the 1st release).

What is cmi5 (from

cmi5 is a "profile" for using the xAPI specification with traditional learning management (LMS) systems.

Since the xAPI specification is highly generalized to support many different use cases, a set of "extra rules" (called a "profile") is needed to ensure interoperability for a given use case. The cmi5 profile ensures plug and play interoperability between learning content and LMS systems.

The use case that the cmi5 profile is specifically designed for is one where the learner launches the learning content/activity from the LMS user interface.

cmi5 defines specific interoperability rules for the following areas:

  • Content Launch Mechanism
  • Authentication
  • Session Management
  • Reporting
  • Course Structure

cmi5 Details and Workgroup Activity

The Main cmi5 Workgroup Web Site on Github -

Project Information & Spec -

Group Conference Calls, Meeting Minutes, & Email List -

cmi5 on twitter: @cmi5spec and #cmi5

cmi5 Group on LinkedIn:


Jun 6, 2016

TLA - Training and Learning Architecture

During this recess: Training & Learning Architecture (TLA), an attempt to integrate more complex edtech/elearning ecosystems in a post-SCORM world. TLA reflects the need for more than “an LMS and content tools” as we work and learn in a more performance-oriented, collaborative, social, immersive, and mobile modern world.

See all the show notes and add your comments at
or reach us on twitter @eLearningRecess

Resources to Help Understand TLA

An early notion of TLA elements as diagrammed by Damon Reagan in 2014

Larger image here:

TLA Components might include:

  • xAPI
  • LRS (Learning Record Store)
  • Analytics Engines
  • Competency Models
  • Content Brokers
  • Content/Activity Registries
  • Content Repositories
  • Items to be determined as product categories and needs emerge

Systems and Terminology

LRS on Wikipedia:
TinCan and LRS:
Rustici Software:
Watershed LRS & Analytics:
Saltbox WAX LRS:

Presentations, Implementations, Prototypes

Mimi Ito, an expert in young people’s use of digital media, shares her research on informal learning in online communities, where students can build technology skills, learn media literacy, and create and share their work.

Eduworks RUSSEL and DECALS
The Re-Usability Support System for E-Learning (RUSSEL)
DECALS on GitHub:

PERLS: A Pervasive Learning System (mobile personal assistant for learning)

More Information and Participation

Connections Forum (xAPI Camp Organizer):

Things We Like

Stay safe online with their super-simple VPN.
Tom uses and feels like it is safe and the simplest, easiest best VPN for iOS and Mac. Automatically secure WiFi with VPN when roaming or traveling and automatically switch back when connected to your home or other preferred networks. It just works!! Highly, HIGHLY recommended for iOS and Mac OS X.


Mar 24, 2016

During this recess: views from an xAPI bootcamp, LTG acquires Rustici Software and invests in Watershed LRS, British veterinarian/novelists, bullets and armor, Learning Analytics, and US DoDI 1322.26.

LINKS (in Bold)

xAPI Camps, Presentations, and xAPI General Information
xAPI Quarterly  a great place to watch for the next xAPI camp or general news relating to xAPI.
MakingBetter Aaron Silvers and Megan Bowe connect and contribute to the global xAPI community, and often facilitate xAPI camps.

xAPI Practical Work with Veterinary Technician Certification [or what Tom calls learning that puts the Labrador in Lab work]

Using the Experience API to Manage Informal & Experiential Learning [referenced by Avron as Marty Rosenheck's "Extending Classrooms" presentation ad the Trek system]

Connected Learning Analytics Toolkit [referenced by Avron as Kristy Kitto's work and an excellent example of an architecture with analytics for education]

xAPI on Wikipedia
xAPI on the ADL website

xAPI LRS Vendors and Analytics Tools
Cogntive Advisors Trek Learning Experience Manager
Riptide LRS
Learning Locker LRS
Watershed LRS

Rustici Software, Watershed, and LTG Acquisition/Investment
Third party news release on Learning Technologies Group acquisition of Rustici Software and investment in Watershed LRS
Rustici Software and their blog post on acquisition
Watershed and their blog post on the LTG investment
Learning Technologies Group (LTG PLC) and their post on acquisition & investment

A Directive that Helped Drive Initial SCORM Adoption
U.S. Dept. of Defense Instruction 1322.26 for Procurement of Learning Systems - due for update, perhaps later in 2016. Will it include xAPI?? TLA?


Backblaze - Simple, reliable, affordable off-site back-up. This service has saved the proverbial bacon of carnivores and herbivores alike.

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot - The stories of a young veterinarian making his way in the English countryside-- and the people and animals he meets along the way.
Available on iBooks   iTunes Audio Book  IMDB information on TV series (8.4/10)

Working Copy - Tom finds this to be the most productive Git client for iOS. It works particularly well with Textastic. [free, plus in-app purchases for push, etc.] or Working Copy Enterprise version [all-in version (all in-app purchases incl. for easier purchase), $15 USD]

Textastic - Amazing code editor for iOS. Syntax highlighting and code completion as good or better than desktop tools. Fantastic companion to Working copy. Be sure to get Textastic 6- it's worth the $10.

Backblaze - Simple, reliable, affordable off-site back-up. This service has saved the bacon of carnivores and herbivores alike.

Dec 29, 2015

Show Notes: Semester 1, Episode 1 - Whither Flash

In late November of 2015 Adobe announced that Flash Creative Cloud will become Animate CC. Avron and Tom provide background on how and why Flash became so important for elearning. Finally they wrap-up with thoughts on HTML5 and what is next.

Adobe Announcement - Welcome Adobe Animate CC, a new era for Flash Professional
"To more accurately represent its position as the premier animation tool for the web and beyond, Flash Professional will be renamed Adobe Animate CC, starting with the next release in early 2016." [Posted November 20, 2015]

Adobe Flash - History (Wikipedia)
More information on the evolution of Flash from the Pen Computing platform at FutureSplash through to Macromedia and the current Adobe offerings.

Jonathan Gay (Wikipedia)
Original developer of Flash, along with Robert Tatsumi. Jonathan’s innovations included introducing Flash video and communication capabilities.

CNET - "The Death of Flash is Lingering, Not Sudden"
Correction to podcast statements, that referenced this article; it was NOT 26% of top 500 sites. The correct quote is: “Though Flash has steadily declined in usage, the technology is still common. On the 482,000 websites the HTTP Archive monitors, 21 percent still use Flash as of mid-November [2015].

Wired - Adobe Flash Is Dead in Name Only [was: Adobe Flash Is Now Called Animate. But It's Still a Mess.]
Interesting that the original headline got “re-wired.”

More coverage on Flash, HTML5 and video-
Facebook switches to HTML5 for all video instead of Flash | ZDNet
and the original post by Facebook: Why we chose to move to HTML5 video

Microservices Architecture/Design Pattern (Wikipedia)
"Microservices is a software design pattern or architecture style in which complex applications are composed of small, independent processes communicating with each other using language-agnostic APIs. These services are small, highly decoupled and focus on doing a small task, facilitating a modular approach to system-building."

Our Non-Sponsors
Things from this episode, things we like, things we thought of during production and affiliate links.

School’s Out - Alice Cooper

Jumpin' Jack Flash - The Rolling Stones

BackBlaze - Unlimited Cloud backup just $5/month

Adobe Captivate - Create any kind of eLearning end-to-end. For any device.

Articulate Storyline 2 - Easily create any interactive course with Articulate Storyline 2, the e-learning authoring software that grows with you.