Tracking of user behavior (most commonly implemented for assessments) is a possibility in the PeBL specification. PeBL extensions currently support the xAPI specification, and the use of a Learning Record Store (LRS) to store xAPI data. Other tracking protocols may be used in addition to xAPI, but current PeBL extensions are not instrumented with them.
Some uses for xAPI data in PeBL include controlling what happens in adaptive content, learning data mining and analytics, finding negative and positive correlations, and discovering what experts and novices do differently. The xAPI specification supports many optional fields that can be used to define additional characteristics as needed to support your use case.
Note that APIs are often available that allow integrations with other learning ecosystem items such as learning management systems (LMSs) and competency management systems. This allows scenarios where LRS data can be stored and used by other systems, possibly to build learner profiles that can inform algorithms used in adaptive systems.
The PeBL specification xAPI section currently captures the following with xAPI events:
You are encouraged to leverage the power of xAPI to the fullest and not limit yourself to these. It is also important that you have a goal for what you will do with this tracking data. Is it simply to assess learners? What happens after it gets sent to the LRS? How will you retrieve and analyze the data? (This question is addressed in the Dashboards, data analytics, and reporting tools section)
Given all of the above, the following are items that PeBL designers, authors, and developers must pay attention to in producing both books and extensions:
It is important that you follow best practices for xAPI verb choice as outlined in the xAPI specification. This supports interoperability between data gathered across different books, users, and systems. A list of recommended xAPI verbs for PeBL can be found here. You are not limited to using these verbs; xAPI allows you to define verbs to describe any behavior, for any purpose.
xAPI statements are usually triggered in PeBL books within extensions, since they provide the activities to be tracked within PeBL books. xAPI statements sent from extensions, the content, or the eReader can be captured by another PeBL extension, which collects all xAPI statements (as middleware or "wrapper" software) and sends them to an LRS endpoint.
The xAPI can be used as a communications protocol and data storage model, outside of user tracking purposes. This is the case, for instance, with the Discussion extension, which sends the content of messages inside xAPI statements.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of resources for understanding and using xAPI and LRSs: