Why IMS Caliper is so Important

Back in the 2000s, the early days of the LMS, people started to study the relationship between student activity in the LMS and in-class performance. Generally, results showed a reasonably positive correlation between the two. The more rich and engaging the type of activity, the better the correlation. For example, the number and length of posts in discussion boards were a better indicator of in-class performance than simple page views were.
Since then, the universe of e-learning tools has grown much larger. Much, if not most, of the student learning activity has always happened outside the LMS, but now it’s scattered across more tools than ever before. Various learning tools often offer very specific and highly interactive kinds of learning experiences, and capture data that would be useful in understanding and improving student performance, potentially even predicting future success. However, this proliferation of tools has generated an explosion of data that then requires interpretation.
At the same time, technologies have been developing to analyze extremely large data sets, along with tools (cousins of business intelligence tools) which are designed to use information from a number of different sources to look beyond individual student performance to larger educational goals: questions such as how to improve student retention and how to find programs that are a good fit for students so as to maximize their likelihood of graduating with some degree in a reasonable period of time. These have the potential to not only improve the lives of individual students, but also to help improve our educational systems and reduce the cost of education across the board.
To make good on these promises, there needs to be a way to collect all of the student learning data in a standard way across multiple independent systems and then get the data to the right place for analysis and reporting.
Let’s take the case of Kaltura as an example. Videos are a rich source of information about student activity, and represent a source which is growing in importance and volume as more and more educational content and interaction is moved to a video-based format. Information about views and drop-off rates can be indicative of how much material students have viewed. That’s only the beginning. Analysis can delve into student preferences, such as whether students prefer viewing at certain speeds, or with subtitles, and in which languages. Student engagement with in-video quizzes and other more advanced interactions can be stored and analyzed. Kaltura has always collected a great deal of data on these student activities. Currently, the data is displayed on Kaltura’s own analytics dashboards inside the various LMSs; this data can also be exported, or queried via API.
Our partner schools want to consume this data in their preferred system—which may be an LMS, or LRS, or other system—where they can roll up all of their student data for various kinds of analyses. And they want to consume this data from all of their vendors, in a reliable, standard, and future-proof way.
Caliper provides exactly such a standard, which is flexible enough to accommodate a wide variety of current and future interaction types.
Because Caliper is an open standard, it not only lowers the cost for existing companies to provide data, but also lowers the cost and therefore the barrier to entry for new providers to join the ecosystem. And perhaps most importantly, it provides assurances to everyone (most especially schools) that no matter how their various systems evolve, there is robustness to their interoperability, with minimal worry about breaking compatibility as new versions are released.
That’s why Kaltura is so enthusiastic about our adoption of Caliper, along with the other open IMS initiatives that we support. As one of the first companies to obtain certification for this new standard, we encourage all the other players in the e-learning space to join us in helping schools make more complete, and better, use of their data.
Learn more from our team of video experts this week at Educuase – booth 810 – we’d love to see you there!

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