Actionable Data Book – What is It?

Actionable Data Book (AD Book) Project is under the auspices of the IEEE’s Industry Connections Program (IEEE IC12-006). The IEEE’s Learning Technology Standards Committee (LTSC) is a sponsor of the AD Book Project. We are early on in the process and looking to involve industry partners in our future work.

The ADB is just a container of stuff without regard to a where the content resides. The content is instrumented with xAPI that collects human performance data in real-time as the content is being consumed. The magic occurs with the real-time two-way feedback of formative and summative data from the ADB’s activities to the learner and teacher that informs both of the current learners trajectory. Learners can initiate community-based social interaction that enhances and accelerates the learning experience. Below is a set of FAQs on the project.

What is an Actionable Data Book?

Just as has happened with publishing in general, the use of tablet computers as a major platform for the delivery of educational materials is an inevitability. Educational publishers, following the publishing industry trend, have embraced the idea of delivering textbooks and other educational materials digitally. But their vision of the ebook starts from the paper books they already create—plus some nice, tablet-enabled features like portability, search for keywords, embedded video, and interactive graphics. The AD Book Project started from the other direction—if learners are going to have tablets in their hands, what kinds of educational products will publishers be publishing? How will authors and publishers make use of a hand-held, mobile, Internet-enabled computer with tons of embedded technology to advance the state of education and training?

Why does the IEEE AD Book Project think a standard is needed?

The AD Book Project is a small group of volunteers who have been meeting weekly for over a year. We include publishers, technologists, educators, and standards experts. People from the ADL have participated in the AD Book Project, and people from the Project have participated in ADL xAPI cohorts, twice. Our vision is quite simple: enable content portability, as SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) did, but in an e-learning ecosystem that has become much more complex:

Product categories that include the traditional products, Learning Management Systems, and content authoring tools, but also Learning Record Stores (LRSs); analytics engines; instructors’ lesson planning apps and dashboards; learner’s e-portfolios and calendar apps; ebook readers; job aids; competency frameworks; and publishers’ content and data platforms.
New pedagogical contexts: flipped classrooms; experiential or activity-based learning; collaborative learning; just-in-time learning; ….
New kinds of e-learning content and technologies: mobile; personalized (based on multiple cloud data sources); adaptive over time; immersive games and simulations; augmented reality for job support.
Published content that uses the functionality of the tablet (Global Positioning System (GPS), camera, mic, motion, orientation, touch, gesture, Wifi, Bluetooth) in a web-connected environment possibly surrounded by Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Also, the tools for creating such content.

The interoperability standard we envision will allow all of these new kinds of published materials to securely exchange data with all of the new kinds of products. Our goal is a plug-and-play architecture that allows creative assembly of products into a myriad of solutions and avoids vendor lock-in: preserving investment in learning materials while allowing new, innovative products to enter the market.

What is the Project’s technical approach?

The AD Book group has explored many technologies and related standards projects. We are committed to the concept of the AD Book as an open standard or a reference model based solely on open standards. Here’s where we’re at:

We have used the IDPF’s EPUB3 spec and the related EDUPUB specifications in our early explorations. We follow their evolution and hope that they will eventually meet our requirements. At this point, given the available EPUB3 readers, we see shortcomings, particularly as regards access to tablet functionality. There may be “open standard” issues as well. HTML5 is what we use mostly now to create AD Book publications.
The ADL’s xAPI spec is being used almost exclusively in our exploratory work. Hence the interest of the ADL in the AD Book Project. Here is the xAPI GetHub for more information site
We’ve also used the W3C’s Packaged Web Apps (Widgets)

What other capabilities would we like to see with the AD Book Project’s work

From our perspective, we’d like to see prototypes that:

Operate in a plug and play ecosystem
Incorporate commercial products from multiple vendors
Tie multiple learning activities together

We would also like to see demonstrations of how an Actionable Data Book can enable dramatic improvements or efficiencies in education and training. For instance, how can more data about learners, learning, and/or learning materials actually help instructors and learners? How can publishing teams author materials that are instrumented to generate useful data or use a tablet’s advanced functionality to improve instruction? How will Actionable Data Books change the relationship between training and on-the-job performance?

Finally, we’d like to offer our most advanced prototype to date as an example of what we are up to. This 30-minute video demonstrates the work done in the ADL’s xAPI ‘Data Trippers’ Cohort earlier in 2015.