By Joy Church Millard, Sr. Editor, Expertus

With the rise of Experience API (xAPI), learning record stores (LRSs) have gained in popularity and now top many learning organizations’ must-have lists.

Are you still on the fence about how big of an impact an LRS can make for your company? Or maybe not sure what to look for for optimal success?

Read on to learn why learning record stores matter and key features you should look for.

The LRS Defined

Wherever learning happens, an LRS can capture it. It collects learning data from multiple content sources, including LMSs, content platforms and even other LRSs. Then it stores all learning interactions (from eLearning, web pages, games, videos, simulators, etc.) in one consistent format─as xAPI statements.

Why LRSs Matter

Okay, so here is why capturing learning data and storing it all in one format, xAPI, matters–bigtime!

Because all learning data is held in one consolidated repository in an LRS…

And all learning activities become part of each user’s recorded training history…

This provides a complete picture of their entire learning experience, including: real world activities, mobile app interactions, learning achievements and more. So, this means no training gets left behind.

With the trend of more and more learning becoming informal (YouTube videos, gaming, sharing, etc.), an LRS provides an easy, uniform way to track it. And then, more importantly, use its data to continually improve learning program effectiveness.

Basically, by having one location for all learning data, it simplifies how you measure the return and impact of your learning investment. Aka–it’s an easy way to raise your LMS’ or learning system’s value!

What to Look for in Your LRS

Standalone or native? That’s the first big question you should consider when adopting an LRS. Even if your LMS has an LRS built-in, if your LMS doesn’t have advanced analytics and data visualization capabilities, then you’ll only harness a fraction of the LRS’ power.

Here are the top three things to look for:

  1. Real-time dashboard views that can help you quickly see and act on the latest learning trends, such as: popular courses and activities, most active users, highly accessed content and so on
  2. Drill-down functionality that makes it quick/easy to perform deeper analysis on specific learning activities─by content, user and activity type
  3. Detailed xAPI statements that ensure you can accurately analyze how learners are consuming content and how to improve your training’s effectiveness and value

Here’s an example of ExpertusONE’s LRS statement…

It All Comes Back to Design

One other must-have LRS feature that umbrellas the three we just covered is design. Your LMS and LRS must have an easy to use design, or you’ll just be wasting your time and money!

And don’t just look at their design from an admin’s or even learner’s perspective… but also consider your customers and partners (if applicable). Give the UIs a quick 10-second glance with fresh eyes, and ask yourself…

“Can my customers login and intuitively know how to upload and manage their xAPI content?”

If the answer’s no, it’s time to move on. The reason why people are embracing informal learning is because of its convenience—speed, access, simplicity. So, if the tools you give them to use and manage learning aren’t convenient (even if you offer to train them), they won’t use them.

Ready, Set, Go!

Hopefully this blog gave you a good starting point for your LRS journey. Read this LRS data sheet if you’d like to learn more about our solution. And if you’d like to continue the discussion, please post your questions/comments below or reach out to us at