There is no separate document outlining the information model of the new standard, but rather a collection of models. As explained by the Implementation Guide “the events and entities collected into metric profiles serve as the information model for Caliper”. There are profiles for different types of learning activities, like Assessment, Reading, Media, etc. There is, however, a Base Metric Profile, defining the core concepts for the Entities participating in Learning Interactions, and what constitutes an Event. An Event captures the Entities and Actions performed in a learning event, and consists of actor, action and object as required elements, and seven more optional elements describing what is generated, what is targeted, and so on.
The publishing of the standard was accompanied with the announcement that nine vendors have achieved conformance certification to the newly released Caliper Analytics standard.
RAM is not RAM any longer
Somewhat confusingly for the uninitiated, IMS has also had a parallel activity to Caliper, called RAM (Real-time Analytics Messaging) “to implement real-time, actionable messaging alerts”. According to the Implementation Guide, this work has now changed its name to IMS HED Analytics group. It is said to relate “to requirements to leverage a more minimal event with a free-form payload”. The current released Caliper v1.0 sensorAPI and CaliperEvent implementation and conformance validation support will be revised to a “transport” level of use”, informs the Guide.
“Interoperability standards that don’t interoperate”?
The publishing of Caliper will be met with great interest by the learning analytics community that has grown impatient waiting for an opportunity to compare Caliper with Experience API, the other activity specification in the field. One of the first tweets with the #imscaliper hash tag after the publications read “consider current disparity between #xapi & #imscaliper, interoperability standards that don’t interoperate”. It remains to be seen whether this is actually the case, or whether the differences between the two specifications are more a question of Caliper being more detailed in specifying a limited set of profiles, while xAPI keeps the specification and the profiling activities (recipe making in xAPI speak) separate.
If the alignment between xAPI and Caliper is to prove an easy match then this will also be to a great extent a question of politics and culture. The relationship between IMS and ADL has been tense at times, and the response to xAPI community suggestions to map out the differences may suggest that IMS will be reluctant to find common ground now that they have a specification with some uptake in the US higher education market.
Getting started video IMS Caliper