Identify The Skill Gap Via xAPI And Boost Learners' Performance (KPIs)

Identify The Skill Gap Via xAPI And Boost Learners' Performance (KPIs)
Summary: Are your eLearning courses improving learning performance? This article is about identifying common denominator between learning and performance. We need to stop designing SCORM-based courses. xAPI gives you more analytical data to compare with KPIs.

How To Boost Learners' Performance By Identifying The Skill Gap Via xAPI

According to ATD’s State of the Industry report, organizations spent $1,296 per employee on learning in 2017. Yet many companies are not happy with the Return On Investment they receive from training expenditures. Organizations aren’t attaining the ROI they are looking for because current courses are not driving the results they’re supposed to be achieving. One of the reasons eLearning gurus stated (at Learning Solution Conference 2019) is that they are not able to identify the gaps and design the content that actually drives the performance.

I am sure there are so many delivery methods we are using in the companies but let’s focus on the most common delivery method for now, which is eLearning.

Are your eLearning courses impactful? If you are from training world, I bet you know that many eLearning courses are designed for the sake of learners taking them and so it shows “completed” in the Learning Management System (LMS). But is there a way to design courses that can actually improve learners’ skills? It’s imperative to know how performance is measured in corporate sectors and how eLearning courses can help. Also, finding a common denominator between them would help Instructional Designers to analyze the gap.

Existing Evaluation Is Broken

The customer support department is one of those departments where you can see the rapid impact of your eLearning courses. It could be either scenario-based learning or microlearning. Unfortunately, the existing evaluation criteria are broken. Courses are connected with completion rather than skills. Key Performance Indicators can help you to identify the skills. But eLearning courses that are published via SCORM can only report “completion” as the end-of-course assessment score in the LMS. How do you make a connection between an eLearning course and an agent’s abilities, rather than reporting completion?

How To Solve The Mystery

The best solution is to design eLearning courses that follow skill-based learning so that each course will help learners classify the skill gaps, along with recommendations on filling them. Depending on the nature of the business, find the best KPIs that will measure performance and identify key skills that the learner will likely need. Once the skills are identified, create a pre-assessment to measure the employee’s abilities in those skill areas. Each ability must be tracked separately, which is impossible in SCORM courses. For that, xAPI plays a vital role to report scores as statements. Once gaps are identified, recommend courses you think will fill those gaps.


In this article, I have designed a scenario using xAPI to demonstrate how skill-based evaluation looks like.

Let’s meet Bob. Bob is an Instructional Designer for ABC company. Recently, he found out that too many customer support agents lacked the necessary communication skills to do their jobs effectively. His manager, Sherin, gave him a task to design a pre-assessment module that will help agents measure the ability of each communication skill needed for the job, such as listening, Body language and nonverbal cues or writing skills with course recommendations. Bob’s organization has an in-house Learning Management System (LMS) integrated with the SCORM Cloud.


It’s obvious that skill-based learning is the best approach to overcoming the skills gaps of these customer support agents. But Bob ran into several challenges:

SCORM Limitation

The biggest limitation of SCORM is, in eLearning developer's language, that it reports only one result slide per SCORM package. For this scenario, the mode of evaluation must be different. Instead of showing complete or incomplete, the system needed to report scores of each ability with the overall progress of a skill.

LMSs That Support SCORM Only

Most LMSs support SCORM files only. In this case, Bob needed a reporting tool to track abilities of each skill.


Bob learned that all the reports of the in-house LMS were coming from SCORM Cloud and SCORM Cloud is not only LMS but also an LRS that supports xAPI.

It’s important for Bob to understand the fundamentals of xAPI before he moves forward. xAPI is governed by Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) that gives the authorization to use for data usability. Some authoring tools like (Storyline and Captivate) allows Bob to create xAPI statements by using Javascript and publish the eLearning courses as TINCAN xAPI instead of SCORM.

It’s easier for Bob to upload the xAPI published eLearning courses in SCORM Cloud and send all the statements to LRS.

Using the best authoring tool, Bob was able to create pre-assessments that can send results to LRS via xAPI statements. These statements will help Bob and Sherin to analyze the learner’s abilities in each skill and recommend courses. Once a learner takes those courses, Bob and Sherin can compare the skills of eLearning courses with KPIs to track the impact on learners' performance.


Using xAPI bring a significant impact on the ABC company. Sherin, the manager, is now able to analyze the agents' skill gap with the help of skill-based assessment with course recommendations.

Next Step

This is just the beginning. Pre-assessments will help you to track the existing skills of the learner. Courses or modules will be recommended depending on their scores. Nevertheless, once the course has been taken, there will be another round of assessment called post-assessment, which will show the effectiveness of the eLearning course.


  • Beer, M., Finnström, M. & Schrader, D. (2016, October). Why Leadership Training Fails—and What to Do About It. Harvard Business Review.