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Using H5P, xAPI and an LRS to better understand our students learning interactions

What is H5P?

H5P (https://h5p.org/) is a HTML5 eLearning authoring tool allowing the user to create interactive learning activities. These activity types range from content presentation items such as an accordion or image juxtaposition to highly interactive activity types such as course presentation and branching scenarios. H5P integrates with a number of LMS’s and CMS’s to allow activities to be added directly into existing courses and sites at the point of need.

What is xAPI?

Experience API, more widely known as xAPI (https://xapi.com) is a specification that allows you to store and track learning interactions. It uses simple vocabulary to store a learner’s interactions with your content and allows you to understand what activity was interacted with, which learner interacted with the activity and how they interacted with it.

Once we have created our interactive activities, the next step is to ensure we are able to capture our learners’ interactions with the materials so that we are better able to understand and support them, and where necessary modify our materials to better suit the needs of our learners. We can utilise the xAPI specification to assist us.

What is an LRS? 

A Learning Record Store (LRS) is a learning data storage system. It allows you to capture data about the “whole student” in a single location. Whether that be activities completed in a Learning Management System (LMS), interactions with external learning technologies or even something as complex as a Virtual Reality simulation, all of this learner interaction and progress can be stored against a learner in a single location. xAPI statements are captured from a variety of learning technologies and all stored centrally in the LRS.

Why use an LRS with H5P?

An ever-increasing number of H5P activity types are xAPI compliant, allowing you to capture the interactions the learner has with these activities. These interactions can be as simple as a page change, or as complex quiz interactions and results. Multiple pieces of data can be captured within a single H5P activity and can provide great insights into when, where and how your learners are interacting with your materials.

xAPI statements with H5P

The H5P website has a lot of information available on utilising xAPI with H5P activities that can be accessed at https://h5p.org/documentation/x-api.

If you connect your LMS (containing H5P activities) to your LRS, you suddenly have a whole new set of learner data and the ability to much better understand their course interactions and plan future resources and support.

Testing H5P xAPI statements without an LRS

If you do not have access to a LRS you can still test out your H5P activities to see what learner data you can see. This is useful if you want to understand the possibilities of capturing such learner interactions, prior to setting up your own LRS.

To test this out, you’ll need:

  • Web browser (I use Google Chrome)
  • H5P activity uploaded somewhere on the web.
  • Console code (listed in the steps below)

To run a test, complete the following steps (this was completed in Chrome, but steps for other browsers will be similar):

  1. Open a web browser.
  2. Navigate to a web page with an interactive H5P activity.
  3. Open Developer Tools panel (F12 key).
  4. Select the Console menu item.
  5. Paste the following code into the console window:
    H5P.externalDispatcher.on(‘xAPI’, function (event) { 
  6. Press theEnter key. At this stage your console window may throw an error message, this is normal and can be ignored.
  7. Complete (interact with) the H5P activity.

You should now be able to see several xAPI statements appearing in the console window. These statements provide information on the who, what and when of the interaction with the H5P activity. You can use the drop-down arrow to view additional detail. At a minimum, for each time you interact with the activity you should be able to see the Actor (who), the Object (what activity was the learner interacting with) and the Verb (what was the interaction, eg. interacted, attempted or answered). In addition, depending on the interaction type you will receive additional data that will provide you with even more insights into your learner’s interactions with your learning activities.

Catherine Duncan

Catherine Duncan

Catherine is a learning technologies and digital education practitioner with over twelve years experience across a variety of industries. She enjoys using her technical, educational and creative knowledge to assist organisations in determining their technical and/or training requirements and assisting them in finding the optimum solution.

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