Watershed Essentials: Editing an Activity Definition

 Heads Up: This article is for Watershed's free product Watershed Essentials. If you're a paid client, please visit our main help section.

 Expertise: This article is best executed with technical or xAPI knowledge.

Data flows into Watershed from all kinds of places. Whenever we’re involved, we make sure that data sources send complete, accurate, and clear data—but we don’t always have that kind of control. xAPI courses published without following our best practice guidelines, translated data from SCORM, and apps with poorly designed tracking can all result in data that's missing important information.

Watershed’s Activity Editor allows you to overwrite the Activity Definition portion of xAPI statements as they're represented in Watershed reports. This means, for example, you can change the name, description, and other data about an e-learning course, slide, or question that’s been poorly named. You also can use it to update definitions as needed. This guide explains how to edit activity details in three sections:

  1. Concept
  2. Editing an Activity Definition
  3. Advanced Edit


This section explains the technical background of how the Activity Editor works. Feel free to skip to the next section if you’d prefer to just dive in and get started.

Data comes into Watershed in the form of xAPI interaction statements. These statements describe interactions with the structure “I did this” (i.e., actor, verb, object), such as Andrew completed an e-learning course” or Brooks achieved a competency. The object part of these statements contains definition information about that object such as a name, description and type.

Learning Record Stores (LRSs), such as Watershed, store those definitions as part of xAPI statements, but they also store a canonical definition for each unique object ID. Different statements can have different definitions of an object due to an update or a bug, but Watershed only displays the most to up-to-date definition in its reports.

If you don’t use the Activity Editor, then Watershed’s canonical definition will be based on the most recent statement received for each object. The Activity Editor enables you to take control of that process and set a correct definition that will not be overwritten by future incoming statements. It’s even possible to transmit these canonical definitions between LRSs because the Activity Editor creates an xAPI statement with a special extension each time a definition is updated.

Editing an Activity Definition

Access the Activity Editor by selecting "Activities" on the Data menu, search for the name of the activity you want to edit and click the result you’re looking for. Edit the name and description and hit Save, and you’re done. Activity-Editor.png

The activity will now appear on your list of Recently Edited Activities, so you can quickly re-edit if you make an error.

Please Note: Saving changes to an activity will change it everywhere it appears in Watershed. Reports are cached for performance and can take up to several hours to reflect updated definitions. 

Advanced Edit

If you need to edit more than the name and description, advanced users can access and edit the full xAPI Activity Definition JSON by clicking on the Advanced tab. This editor allows you to add, remove, and edit properties of the definition within the requirements of the xAPI specification.

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