The Tin Can API Forces Some to Rethink LMS

A learning management system (LMS) is a way to track, report, document and deliver online educational resources. The Tin Can API, provided by SCORM, is attempting to rethink the way that LMSs receive and catalogue information.

The Tin Can API is designed to receive information in logical value statements that summarize the lesson learned. For example, “Tim receives an 87% on the final exam”, is a statement that can be translated into a quantifiable assessment of that lesson. Some believe that this sort of a change is too great a risk. Read what posted on the subject:

“It has been 10 years, give or take, since the last major SCORM update was introduced to the learning community.  SCORM 2004 was a great evolution from 2.1, but can the same be said about the upcoming Tin Can API?  Unfortunately, I think not.”

Is it possible that too much change too quickly will lead to developers looking elsewhere for something that feels more familiar? SCORM obviously believes they can achieve adoption quickly and avoid losing the support of it's community.

The Tin Can API is one of 143 education APIs in the ProgrammableWeb directory.

Be sure to read the next API article: An API for Your DNA: Genetic Discovery Made Easy


Comments (3)

Just a few quick updates. You are referring to SCORM as if it were a person or entity and it is not. It is a standard, Sharable Content Object Reference Model. In the first sentence "The Tin Can API, provided by SCORM, " I think you mean to say "The Tin Can API, provided by Rustici Software Inc. at" and "SCORM obviously believes they can achieve adoption quickly " should be "ADL obviously believes they can achieve adoption quickly" because ADL is the organization that granted the money to Rustici Software to assist in the production and documentation of the Experience API.

Here is a link to ADL which are the actual Department of Defense Personnel and Readiness sponsors behind the API.

This post does not capture the essence, need, or current state of the Tin Can API (now known as the Experience API). In fact, this article totally misses the point.

"SCORM obviously believes they can achieve adoption quickly and avoid losing the support of it’s community" --> The fundamental design process for building the Tin Can API is rooted in community participation and adoption. Also, SCORM is not an entity, it is a collection of learning standards.

The Tin Can API is not the direct descendant to SCORM, but it may evolve into that in the future. It all depends on how it is implemented. Tin Can is meant to facilitate two way communication for learning experiences, wherever they may occur.

Once last point is that the spec outlines something called a Learning Record Store (LRS) that can be part or independent of an LMS. It is not forcing people to rethink the LMS, but instead affording them the ability to design learning experiences independent of the LMS as needed.

I would encourage those who are interested in learning more about the Tin Can API to visit or

Ali -- thanks for the clarification. I'm not sure we missed the point, but I see like most things there's a lot of nuance once you know the details of an industry. Thanks again for contributing to the conversation.