Storyline 360 xAPI Updates (Winter 2021)

Exciting xAPI update for Storyline users!

Articulate has updated Storyline 360 to support custom xAPI statements alongside a few other xAPI-related updates.

(These changes will likely come to Storyline 3 soon, though not as of November 30, 2021.)

The TL:DR; Version

We’re glad to see these features added to Storyline! We always intended for to be a temporary solution until the authoring tools built these features into their products natively, and this is the first step. isn’t going away, and your courses will continue to work as-is alongside the new updates and in past live courses. There are still some things you’ll want to rely on for (read about them below). That said, you just may find that your basic xAPI needs can be met with Storyline’s built-in tools.

The Detailed Version

What does this mean for First, let’s take a quick look at the new Storyline features - we’re pretty excited about them! Note: this is a pretty technical post intended for people who know Storyline and xAPI pretty well. If you are new to xAPI and Storyline, this is probably not where you want to start.

Send Data to an External LRS

Storyline xAPI External LRS - 1

For users, this is roughly the equivalent of the “Sidecar” publishing method where you can send custom xAPI statements to an LRS separately from a SCORM course. This new built-in publishing method can be used with SCORM, AICC, xAPI or cmi5.

Storyline xAPI External LRS - 2

You can either supply the LRS info at launch (via query string in a similar way to current xAPI launch methods, though could require some extra work in some circumstances) or manually enter them right into Storyline.

Send Basic Custom xAPI with Triggers

This is the most anticipated update, and the lack of this feature was the impetus to build 3+ years ago.

Storyline xAPI Basic Trigger

You can now send basic statements from a set of pre-populated verbs, where the xAPI Object can be a slide title, object (layer) name, or custom text. The rest of the trigger works as normal (conditions, etc.).

Storyline xAPI Verb List

Send Advanced Custom xAPI with Triggers

If you need more customization beyond the basic statement, you can edit the raw JSON in the updated code editor pane, which has line numbers and syntax highlighting. For xAPI JSON, it validates on save to prevent errors in your statements.

Storyline xAPI Advanced Trigger

You can choose from a Variables dropdown to insert many of the Built-In system and your own Project variables. You can also name the statement for display in the trigger panel for easier management.

If you know enough about building statements from scratch, you can also add context, extensions, etc., but these are not yet supported in a code-free way in Storyline.

xAPI Debugger

Storyline xAPI Debug Mode

With a little post-publish editing, you can enable a debug window to check and export your xAPI statements when the course is launched.

“Left” statement for each slide

One common question/request for xAPI data on slide-based courses is “how long did users spend on this slide”?

Each slide sends an “experienced” statement upon slide entry (existing behavior) and now there is an additional “left” statement on navigation away that includes the duration.

Storyline xAPI Left Statement

New Built-In Variables

There are some new variables - a couple for xAPI (course ID and slide ID), and now a few elapsed time variables for Project, Scene and Slide.

Storyline xAPI Variable List

These can be used with conditions to perform an action after a certain amount of time has elapsed, as a value to display, embed in statements, etc. and since they are stored as a variable, they can be sent as part of an xAPI statement.

Storyline xAPI Menu Variables

What does this mean for can continue to work alongside these new updates. Any existing projects using statements will continue to work as-is.

With these new built-in features, some aspects of’s value proposition are covered - the core purpose was to allow more sophisticated xAPI data to be captured manually until the authoring tools built these features natively, and Storyline is on its way.

However, there are still some advantages to using

  • Management of custom xAPI statements in one place
  • Team project management
  • Standalone course launcher (for launching a course outside an LMS)
  • Embed Storyline blocks within Rise published for xAPI
  • Automatic Resource panel tracking for Storyline
  • Easily save/retrieve variables for use between courses (upcoming)
  • Captivate support (upcoming)

All in all, we’re happy to see xAPI progress in the rapid authoring tool space, and are excited to see what we can do with it. We’ve long said that xAPI needed geek-free tools in order to gain mass adoption and this is an important step for our industry toward that direction.

This post also appeared on LinkedIn.