Adopting the experience api to work with the virtual patient standard how what and why
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Adopting the Experience API to work with the Virtual Patient Standard - how, what and why?. Matt Cownie , Jonathan Wright University of the West of England, Bristol. Abstract.

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Adopting the Experience API to work with the Virtual Patient Standard - how, what and why?

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Adopting the Experience API to work with the Virtual Patient Standard - how, what and why?

Matt Cownie, Jonathan Wright

University of the West of England, Bristol


The eXperience Application Programming Interface (xAPI) is a new specification that allows learning content to link with learning systems to track and share all types of learning experiences. Learning activities can be tracked using combinations of a limited vocabulary of activities, verbs and subjects. While the specification provides a default profile of activities and verbs it allows for communities of practice to develop custom profiles of their own agreed activities and verbs. This presentation will have main 3 parts.


Actor, Verb, Object

Leaner , Completed, Virtual Patient

Caveat Emptor

  • Tincan OR experienceAPI OR xAPI

  • Versions 0.90-0.95-1.0-1.01

  • Many examples are ‘slightly wrong’

  • Libraries for Java, JS and PHP

  • New .NET Library for the Tin Can API is Now Available!

  • Refer to the final spec 1.0.1

  • Assumes you are VP Standard aware

Part 1 - How

Firstly it will demonstrate how to use the experience API to capture the stream of activities a learner generates while playing a Virtual Patient (VP). It will show technical examples that map VP concepts onto XAPI calls that can be used to populate a Learning Record System (LRS) with VP related learner data.

Simplest example (C#)








statement = actor + verb + activity

We made a statement

Statement in the LRS

JSON payload




Simplest example (JavaScript)

More detail?

COP Verb ?

“verb” : { “display” : {“en-US” :”visited”}, “id” : ”http://medbiq/exapi/verbs/visited },

COP Activity ?

“type” : http://medbiq/exapi/activites/virtualPatient/ } } }

Looks like, but

More detail with context (simple)

Tie everything together


XAPI - ContextActivities

XAPI provides four possibilities - ‘parent’, ‘grouping’, ‘category’, and ‘other’

Parent - model the Virtual Patient as parent activity and set that as the context for all subsequent related activities. Further granularity would be a video and MCQ with a node as parent activity.

Grouping - might want to group an activity within the VP with related activities in same VP or other VPs

Category - “Category SHOULD be used to indicate a "profile" of xAPIbehaviors” - e.g. PhysicalExam, Medication?

Other - none of the above, perhaps supporting learning material or making a branching decision?

Some Concerns

  • Media Resources, Counters, CounterRules, DataItems,NodeRules, NodeAccessRules

  • Extensions

  • Exposing internal workings and Id’s

  • Name spacing

  • Versioning

  • Who’s the audience?

Part 2 - what

Secondly it will review what this data looks like in an LRS and examples of querying it for meaning. It will outline what verbs and activities might be contained in a Virtual Patient specific profile and what use cases these could meet.

Simplest – manual get (c#)




A Report Builder

Statement Forwarding

Painting by Eugene Delacroix, available under a Creative Commons Public Domain license.

Verbs and Activities and URL’s

VP Activities + types

Page : page

Video : video

Html5 activity : interaction

Document : file

audio : audio

MCQ : question

YouTubeVid : media

Short answer : note

Flash activity : interaction

CounterRules : event

DataItems : file?

Image : media

NodeRules : event

Blood Test : media

Unity activity : interaction

DataItemRequest : interaction

CounterRules : event

Media Resources : media

NodeAccessRule : event

VP Verbs

Visited : was at

Commented : commented

Played : played

restarted : terminated?

Listened : listened

Watched : watched

Altered: updated?

Read : read

Triggered: ?????

Started : started

Answered :answered

Requested :requested

Completed : completed

Exited : exited

Extensions and Profile

counter : extension

feedback : extension

Part 3 – why (for VP’s)

Lastly it will outline why the virtual patient community might want to adopt the experience API and ask whether a specific community profile is necessary. Influences for consideration include the “Internet of Things”, mobile learning, data-mining, combining virtual patients with other simulation activities, capturing the complete educational context of a learners VP experience and reporting into competency frameworks.

What were my use cases?

  • Reporting

  • Big Data

  • Learning Management System(s)

  • LTI 1.1 &outcomes

  • Simulation

Other VP use cases?

  • 3D & Games

  • Multi-modal simulation

  • Team based

  • Platform transition (state API)

  • Learner Profiles

Wider reasons to adopt XAPI

  • Transversal

  • Transparency

  • System silos

  • Simulation (non-linear)

  • Mobile

  • Innovation

  • Future proof

Answer the Question…

Is a specific VP community profile necessary?

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