On it’s release in 2014, Learning Locker became the world’s first Open Source Learning Record Store. Version 1 has been installed thousands of times since and is now widely acknowledged as being the most installed LRS in the world. Today, Wednesday 20th September 2017, it just got even better – with the long-awaited release of Open Source version 2.
WHAT’S NEW IN LEARNING LOCKER V2 OPEN SOURCE LRS?
In a word: Everything! We’ve literally rebuilt the platform from the ground up, with the Open Source Edition now running on the same set-up as the Enterprise Edition (of which version 2.3 was released back in April). We’ve rebuilt our core codebase to deprecate PHP in favour of NodeJS. Using Node’s event-driven model and huge ecosystem of libraries, we’re now in a much better position to grow, both in terms of how much data we can handle and how fast we can iterate new versions – and faster speeds for everyone!
Here’s a quick overview of some of the key improvements, that go alongside our completely overhauled the User Interface:
- Customised Dashboard Builder – we’ve included a complete visualisation tool to draw a wide range of graphs, with customised series and axes, all of which become embeddable on sharable dashboards.
- Personas – Multiple actors for a single person can be grouped under a single persona; these are available in the UI and on each statement for easy querying and reporting.
- Query Builder – Learning Locker maintains a database of all queryable values that it has ever encountered; this is used to make searching for statements – even those made by custom extensions – really easy.
- Statement Forwarding – Built-in statement forwarding (which includes filters) allows you to send your data to another LRS, or to a 3rd party service, in the style of a WebHook.
- Multi-tenant, Multi-LRS Model – Data has been restructured into Organisations and Stores, which enables finer control and reporting across multiple stores within a multi-tenant environment. You can run multiple LRSs within a single Organisation, but still report across the data from every store in a single query.
- Faster xAPI Processing – By leveraging our experience of hosting some of the world’s largest Learning Record Stores (such as that used by Jisc), we have made significant speed improvements across all xAPI endpoints.
- All of the APIs – everything in the UI is driven by Learning Locker’s own APIs. If you can do it in the UI, you can do it outside the UI too. Amazing news for integration with your own products.
- 100% conformance with xAPI Specification – V2 has been certified by ADL as being conformant with the xAPI specification. We’ve also gone much further; adding thousands of our own tests.(More on that below..!)
And… vastly easier installation!
With our new automated installation – A cross-platform installation script is now available to automate the installation of the Open Source Learning Locker, it’s dependencies and the server configuration required to get up and running as soon as possible.
LEARNING LOCKER LRS IS NOW FULLY XAPI-CONFORMANT
When choosing a new Learning Record Store, one of the most important considerations for many is whether or not it meets the ADLs xAPI Conformancy Requirements.
ADLs LRS Test Suite evaluates whether an LRS correctly implements the mandatory xAPI server-side requirements by automating HTTP requests to an LRS and evaluating its responses. The Test Suite evaluates over 1300 LRS testing requirements, which were derived from the xAPI specification as well as community input from the Policies and Procedures for Conformance Testing Group.
Learning Locker is now 100% conformant with the ADLs requirements. This goes for both our current Enterprise and Open Source Editions, and you’ll now find Learning Locker listed on ADLs ‘Conformant LRSs’ Registry, in addition to HT2 Labs inclusion on the xAPI Adopters Registry (where we’ve been from the start).
MOVING FROM VERSION 1 TO VERSION 2 OF THE OPEN SOURCE LEARNING LOCKER LRS
Whether you’re entirely new to Learning Locker, or already have an older Open Source version installed, it’s likely that you’ll have a few questions at this point.
You’ll find answers to all of your questions in the new Help Documentation, but here are the answers to what we expect will be your most common questions:
How do I upgrade from a version 1 installation?
We’ve built a handy migration tool to take your data from a v1 installation and munge it over into v2. The migration is non-destructive, meaning you can rollback without losing anything. All of your v1 xAPI data will be retained, including any existing stores / auth / credentials.
What if I don’t want to upgrade to version 2?
Then stay as you are! V1 of Learning Locker is still available to download and from time-to-time we will issue patches for any critical flaws that might happen to emerge. However, all of of our feature development work will be in v2 from this point forward (in honesty it has been for months)… We will sketch out a timeline to the full deprecation of V1 in the coming months.
Can I get support getting up and running with version 2?
Yes – just register your new installation and we’ll give you 3-months free support.
Alternatively, if you need help with hosting too, we recommend you go with our Enterprise (SaaS) Edition.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE ENTERPRISE AND OPEN SOURCE EDITIONS OF LEARNING LOCKER?
The Open Source product is a fully-fledged LRS in its own right. The Enterprise Edition extends on top of this to give some more powerful features, enterprise support and a range of new add-on services to help every department contribute data to the record store:
Advanced Business Rules (Journeys)
A key feature of the Enterprise Edition is the ability extend WebHooks into Journeys. This allows you to specify multiple criteria that learners must meet in order to trigger an outcome. You can visualise a learner’s progress through a journey right back in the Learning Locker GUI, and get to grips with measuring more complex performance indicators, like ‘time to competence’.
Managed Hosting and Support
Our Enterprise Edition is available both on-premise and fully managed. Whilst we default to AWS as a de-facto service provider, we can use Google, Azure and Rackspace on-demand. We can use data centres located throughout the world dependant on your geographical need and we have all of the Enterprise security certifications you would expect of an Enterprise software partner; ISO27001, ISO9001 and SOC I/II through our hosting providers.
When hosting with us, we offer a 99.5% uptime guarantee, 24×7 hardware support and office hours technical support over the phone and via our online helpdesk.
Our Customer Success team is our free consultancy service to help you make the most of Learning Locker. You can call on our team to ask any questions about xAPI, LRS’s or overall system architecture principles.
Transformation Pipelines. We build custom transformation pipelines to take data from non-xAPI data sources (either in API or CSV format) and transform activity data to the xAPI specification for storage in your Learning Locker. We’ve worked with data from Yammer, Slack, SalesForce, Skillsoft, Degreed and more to take data into Learning Locker from the services you already use, with no work to do.
Content Launcher. We’ve built a service that uses the ADL launcher specification to pass authenticated user details to an eLearning content package and track activity back to the LRS. This service acts as a proxy, obscuring the actual location of the LRS and limiting client-side access to xAPI authentication details. A must have for anyone launching xAPI content on the client-side.
Business Intelligence Integration. We use BI connectors to take data directly from our hosted Learning Locker instances to popular BI tools like Tableau, Power BI and more. Data connections work in real-time with no need for bulk loading or batch jobs.
GETTING STARTED WITH THE NEW OPEN SOURCE LRS
The install file for the Open Source Edition of Learning Locker is available to download from the Learning Locker repo on Github now.
Community support can be accessed through the Learning Locker Gitter channel. We’ve also updated the Learning Locker Help Documentation and added some more information to the Open Source Learning Locker website to help you get started.
If you’re interested in getting hands on with the new Open Source release but feel you’ll benefit from a guided walkthrough, we invite you to register for our new course, starting 16th October, which will see you get up and running with your own LRS in 4-weeks or Less.
About the Author
Andrew started his development career at the age of 8 when he got his hands on a DOS manual. He’s thankful that those days are over and he can use Bash instead.