Yes We Can? Can Tin Can API Change E-Learning?

Business man holding tin can

There has been a lot of discussion about Tin Can API transforming E-Learning.

Let’s start by debunking the tech-talk.

What is Tin Can?

Tin Can API is a tool that provides the capability to track a learner’s progress both as they move their way through traditional, formal learning and the big, bad world of informal learning that is life.

The Need

Tin Can API is the baby of Rustici Software who responded to a tender by the Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) Initiative of the U.S. Department of Defence.  The ADL wanted to see:

“Greater communication between systems and content types and tracking learner activity including non-linear learning experiences and social media interactions.”

Previous versions of SCORM simply weren’t keeping up.

The Reality

The latest draft standard of Tin Can is version 1.0.1. It is technically still in development albeit with a large number of high profile early adopters.

Tin Can vs. SCORM

SCORM has the capability to track the completion of learning modules, time, pass/fail rates and to report a single score.

Tin Can on the other hand has the capability to do all of the above as well as report multiple scores and detailed test results with no LMS or internet browsing required.

With Tin Can, it is possible to record learning progress within mobile apps and without cross-domain limitation. E-Learning administrators can keep complete control over their content.

Tin Can is capable of tracking serious games, simulations, informal learning and real world performance, as well as offline, interactive, adaptive, blended, long-term and team-based learning. The possibilities are endless.

What can Tin Can API be used for?

Tin Can standardises reporting like this:

Actor – Verb – Object







75% in an online assessment.



three assignments.



level two of an E-Learning game.

It’s possible to create Tin Can API services for a wide range of tools including social media, Learning Managements Systems and a variety of learning and productivity tools.

Are we about to experience an E-Learning revolution?

Whilst it is clear that the capabilities of Tin Can API creates a myriad of new opportunities in the area of learner progress tracking, it is important to remember that tracking completion doesn’t mean we know whether learners have achieved their goals.

Learning happens in minds and comes to completion when applied in real life.

Today most organisations evaluate performance using quantitative reports and Tin Can API is a fantastic tool to communicate learning progress to decision makers.

On the other hand, Tin Can API is not able to record and communicate if real learner objectives affecting performance are being met.

It is important not to get swept away by the hype of new technology and remain focused on learning.

User-centred learning principles need to lead to new technology and not vice-versa.

SCORM has been the industry standard for some time now. It is widely used and understood by those responsible for developing E-Learning programmes. Regardless of how revolutionary the actual features of Tin Can API are, the combination of the necessity of some designers to develop a new skill and the general rule that adoption to new things is often sluggish, it may take some time for Tin Can API to create an E-Learning revolution.

In conclusion, Tin Can API is certainly a step forward from SCORM. It holds the potential to track learning progress in a more meaningful and broad-minded context.

Tin Can API is however still in early stages and as with all learning technologies, it is important to assess whether or not it meets your own organisational needs.

So whether or not Tin Can API is set to start a revolution in one thing is for sure, online learning is changing, quickly. As the old Chinese proverb says:

“Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.”

If you would like some assistance with identifying your organisation’s learning and development needs, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Please let us know your comments or share with others who you think may benefit from this. Follow us on twitter @aurionlearning for our latest blog articles and updates.

3 Things Dragon from Shrek teaches us about storytelling

shrek blog

Everyone loves a good fairy tale and we couldn’t resist talking about one of our favourite fairy tales and sharing why we think it contains some great tips for creating original stories.

Although Disney are famous for their fairy tales; at Aurion, we are not all traditional Disney fans, we love doing things differently; just like the team at Dreamworks Animation. To celebrate and honour a fairy tale come true, we’ve shone the spotlight on the character of Dragon from the Dreamworks Animation production of Shrek.

We’ve compiled a list of three things that Dragon has taught us about creating great stories:

1. Don’t judge a book by its cover
There is more to Dragon than meets the eye. When we first encounter her, she is charged with the task of guarding the castle where Princess Fiona is imprisoned. She is fierce, she is scary, and she is after all a fire-breathing dragon. Dragon is the trial that Shrek and Donkey must overcome in order to complete their quest. When Donkey has only his powers of persuasion left between him and imminent death by Dragon, we see a different side of Dragon. She becomes soft, flirtatious and affectionate. This creates a hilarious scene. Any audience loves to see a different side of characters that moves far beyond the stereotypes and typecasts. The best storytellers add depth and originality to their characters by doing the unexpected. The audience then gets to go on a wild adventure and discover new things.

2. Plot twists are the best
Audiences love nothing more than being taken on a rollercoaster and the absurd becoming reality. As Kurt Vonnegut said about writing, “We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” Great storytelling is about creatively capturing the narrative and stories that have not yet been told. When Dragon becomes infatuated, heartbroken and then overjoyed as Donkey returns her affections, the audience are taken on an emotional trip where they become invested in Dragon and her story. In a remarkable change of events, Dragon, who originally was cast as an obstacle for Shrek and Donkey becomes the hero when he devours Farquaad in the wedding scene. Dragon teaches us that the unique, inventive and creative storylines are the best.

3. Everyone loves a good ‘happy ever after’
The allure of a ‘happy ever after’ is irresistible to almost any audience member. Dragon and Donkey’s ‘happy ever after’ fulfills all of the stereotypes; romance, family, their children growing up with Shrek and Fiona’s children. The end of every good story need not be as obvious as this children’s movie but must contain a degree of resolution for each of the characters. Great storytellers take care to tie up the loose ends and present a solution to the challenge faced by the characters in the plot.

Later this year, Aurion Learning will beta release a new bespoke toolkit for creating short digital stories. The online toolkit; storee, will allow anyone to create and share stories for free using their own narrative, video clips and photos, quickly and easily.

If you are interested in taking part in storee beta can register at

So why not embrace your inner Dragon, get creative and tell your story. For the latest storytelling updates, tips and guides, follow @tellmystoree on Twitter.