The Personal Data Locker® (PDL)
The Success Story of an Open Source Software and what the future holds...

With the Personal Data Locker® (PDL) we aim to enable learners to create their own self-determined - formal and informal - lifelong learning process. The project provides enhanced data protection and the control of Big Data in e-Learning. The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) supports the process lifelong learning and grants data sovereignty to the individual learners.

The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) is an Open Source Software that provides an important extension for Experience API (xAPI) to increase data protection and personal rights. The Personal Data Locker® (also known as Private Data Locker, Private Data Store or simply PDL / PDS) doubles as a personal data safe and drives the digital documentation of lifelong learning. For a first-time, learners are able to claim data sovereignty in respect to all their learning data as well as to digitally document in a verifiable way their lifelong learning data and achievements.

The PDL project was inspired by the inexhaustible possibilities of data collection (Big Data) when using the Experience API (xAPI) in e-Learning. The combination of lifelong learning and modern e-Learning inevitably generates a huge amount of personal learning activities and learning results. With our - Personal Data Locker® (PDL) - Open Source Software - we provide the technical means to control Big Data in e-Learning in a responsible and transparent fashion.

At first glance data privacy and the protection of individual rights in the context of BIG Data does not appear as something that works well together. One who actively uses social networks, does online shopping with global providers or performs searches on one of the major search engines, knows that he/she has to renounce comprehensively in terms of data protection and personal rights.

Participation in online shopping, activities in social networks and the use of search engines are all voluntary. Each individual decides by themselves which offers to use, and how to be active on the Internet. The individual degree of media literacy is decisive for how much data a person is willing to provide about themselves, or what kind of data a person is willing to deliberately share and spread on the Internet, or not.

When making use of digital learning opportunities in schools and universities, in adult education or in vocational training the individual has hardly any choice. Whether one is voluntarily willing to participate or mandatorily has to do so, either way it is next to impossible to escape the accumulation of vast amounts of personal data. On the contrary, the more modern and promoting digital education is, the more data becomes available for each individual. Cutting-edge learning analytics allow to individually and dynamically adapt e-learning systems (in real time) to the learning behavior of each individual and the learning objectives they have set for themselves. For this approach to succeed, however, vast amounts of data are essentially necessary.

Privacy rules and data protection regulations for e-Learning in terms of schools, universities and in companies are currently very differently or not at all regulated and/or defined. In schools and universities this could lead to more bans and data avoidance. A more contemporary approach would be the implementation of laws and regulations that promotes lifelong learning allowing a diverse collection of learning data in order to support each individual learner. Our PDL project is doing its part to take the place of prohibitions and data avoidance to allow data sovereignty for the individual learner. With a Personal Data Locker (PDL) all learners have the right to own and control their learning data.

We are convinced that data stemming from modern e-learning belongs solely to the respective learners. By using this type of Personal Data Locker® (PDL) we certainly do meet this demand. Learners obtain data sovereignty over all of the records generated by and through their learning activities. The xAPI allows not only for the collection of huge numbers of records – which are beyond any doubt necessary for effective e-learning – but also for the differentiation and unambiguous classification of these records. Therefore, every learner must be entitled to take possession and control of their data.

Data protection, the protection of individual rights and Big Data can actually be friends, thanks to Personal Data Locker® (PDL) and the "extended" Experience API ;-)

With the Personal Data Locker® (PDL) the technical solution to control big data in e-learning and to establish data sovereignty for all users / learners, has been created by us.

Early 2016 we accomplished the first parts of our mission successfully. The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) enables educational institutions in Germany and the EU to enjoy enhanced data protection in e-Learning as well as data sovereignty when using the "extended" Experience API (xAPI). Next up is the second phase of the PDL development that will enable learners to create a learning preference based and self-determined - formal and informal - digitally documented lifelong learning process.

The PDL in 60 seconds...

Personalised Learning

The Story of Your Learning Life

Open Source PDL 1.0.2

The first development phase (version 1.0.2) of the Personal Data Locker® (PDL) was successfully completed end of 2015. We achieved with this version or goals to enhance data protection and personal rights as well as to create the technical means for users to claim data sovereignty. We demonstrated that with the PDL version 1.02.2 allows for educational institutions in Germany and within the EU the data safe use of the "extended" Experience API (xAPI). The project - Open Source PDL 1.0.2 - is closed and successfully completed (mission accomplished).

You will find all relevant information - mission, goals, tasks, the setup of the Experience API (xAPI) etc. - in regards to the Open Source Software PDL 1.0.2 at personal-data-locker.org. On this website personal-data-locker.org you can access also the basic code that was published via Github as well as a simple public demo. You can use a Browser Extension for the Chrome Browser with the PDL code base. Download the Extension at the Chrome Webstore - PDL.

The PDL version 1.0.2 is at present not supported and it is primarily meant for users that would like to use the basic code for testing and/or as a starting point to build their own xAPI based PDL developments and applications. If the PDL basic code is integrated with a live Learning Record Store (LRS), LMS or learning system or any third party xAPI enabled system - users are required to update the xAPI version of the basic code.

The next and second Personal Data Locker® (PDL) development phase will include the xAPI certification as well as many APIs that will cater for a smooth and seamless integration of the Personal Data Locker® (PDL) in Personalised Learning Environments, any conventional learning system (LMS) as well as other third party xAPI based applications. At present (early 2017) we assume that the new development, the evaluation and the xAPI certification of the new Personal Data Locker® 2.0 will require about 2-3 years' development time. Learn more about the second development phase at » Personal Data Locker® 2.0

The Success Story of the Open Source PDL

Planning and the first "concept" of the Personal Data Locker® (PDL) started November 2013. At this time two of our PDL developers and project managers joined the discussion and development groups at Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL). ADL (eine US-Behörde) ist Urheber und Herausgeber der Experience API (xAPI). Von Anfang an war klar, dass mit den typischen US-amerikanischen Einstellung zum Datenschutz allgemein und zum Schutz der Persönlichkeitsrechte, die Experience API (xAPI) in der vorliegenden Fassung, für den Einsatz in Deutschland und der EU nicht geeignet sind. Die Idee und das Konzept für die "erweiterte" Experience API (xAPI) wurden bestätigt und 2013 war dann auch die Geburtsstunde des Personal Data Locker® (PDL).

In September 2014 the first release of PDL version 0.0.1 took place. Following initial testing and evaluation version 1.0.0 was released on time to be presented during Learntec 2015. The release at that time was ideal as the Learntec conference hosted an international conference part about the data safe usage of the Experience API (xAPI). One of the conference speakers was Mike Rustici of Rustici Software the company that on behalf of ADL lead the Experience API (xAPI) development. At the conference, we presented the PDL concept and the idea of the "extended" xAPI. The positive response by the audience and especially from corporations and global as well as private educational institutions was overwhelming. The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) was well received as it is promising a wealth of new technical improvements for vocational training, corporate learning and workplace readiness, allowing workers and workers unions to have their say in learning design as well as their requirements towards data protection and personal rights honored.

The positive response by corporations and global/private educational institutions is proven by the many recommendations and awards the PDL received in 2015 and 2016. Even though there was huge interest to enhance data protection and personal rights in e-learning in Germany (on an institutional and federal level) - decision makers are quite hesitant to pick up on the PDL concept. New data concepts are supported in Germany on all federal levels. However, since we purposely designed the PDL without a business model for data storage and learning analytics German decision makers did not see the light of the PDL innovation at the time. Primarily a monetary problem as enhanced data protection and personal rights in e-learning does require a financial investment. Hence, we were not too surprised that our first pilot and evaluation project partners are located in EU neighboring countries such as Austria and the Netherlands. Our first xAPI and PDL pilots started in 2015 with universities from Austria and the Netherlands.

We made already a lot of progress to let digital supported lifelong learning become a tangible reality and we will continue the success story in 2017 with the new Personal Data Locker® 2.0 in 2017!

profitbricks.de - The Cloud Computing Company

Many thanks to our sponsor! www.ProfitBricks.de, the Infrastructure as a Service provider from Germany, is Sponsor of the PDL-Version 1.0.2 Test Environment. www.ProfitBricks.de kindly supported the initial public pilot and evaluation projects as well.

Recommendations and Awards for the Personal Data Locker® PDL 1.0.2 for the period 2015 and 2016:

  • The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) receives "Best of Big Data 2015" award from Initiative Mittelstand
  • The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) Winner of the BITKOM d-elina Award 2016
  • The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) Winner Innovationspreis-IT 2016 in the category "Open Source Software"
  • The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) was nominated for the GESS Education Award 2016 in the category "Innovation Product Awards"
  • NachbarschafftInnovation – Community Success Model - Digitaler Lern-Lebenslauf - "Personal Data Locker®" is one of the Winners and awarded "Landmark in the Land of ideas" 2016
  • The Personal Data Locker® (PDL) was nominated for the Reimagine Education Award 2016 in the category "ICT Tools for Learning and Teaching" nominiert

Personal Data Locker® 2.0
xAPI certification, self-hosting or cloud based with current/up-to-date xAPI version

Site update/translation in progress...

On a wider scale the PDL is providing users to take possession of their learning data, allowing BIG Data in e-learning to be controlled and for the first-time data sovereignty by the actual user/learner. As the use of Experience API is not limited to e-Learning the idea of "Big Data under control" will have an impact the world will look at Big Data, privacy protection and data control. With the development of PDL version 1.0.2 we concentrated purely on e-Learning. However, the basic principal of the Personal Data Locker® can be utilised for many areas in which Big Data plays an important role such as the Internet of Things, or what is called in Germany the "Industrie 4.0", "Arbeiten 4.0", user accounts with invoicing and payment functionalities, usage of energy (electricity) and many more. The second development phase - the PDL version 2.0 - will cater for these areas of possible PDL usage.

The PDL Success Story continues in 2017...

Personalised Learning Environment with Personal Data Locker® 2.0 - The second development phase includes the upcoming xAPI certification process and it will allow the simple integration of the PDL into a Personalised Learning Environment (PLE). The combination of PDL and PLE enables learners to document the story of their learning life. For the first time ever self-determined lifelong - formal and informal - digitally supported and documented learning will become a tangible reality.

  • Lifelong learning with Personal Data Locker® 2.0 nominated for GESS Education Award 2017 - Category "Innovation Product Awards"
  • Personalised Learning Environment with Personal Data Locker® 2.0 receives a "Best of 2017" - Category "Smart Data"
  • Personalised Learning Environment with Personal Data Locker® 2.0 receives a "Best of 2017" - Category "Service & Dienstleistungen"

Personalised Learning - Personalised Learning Environment (PLE)

Lifelong digital supported and documented - formal and informal - learning will become a tangible reality for everyone. The individual profile of each learner is at the center of an individual learning environment. The learner can - like in a sweet shop - "pick & mix" content, OER content/learning nuggets and learning activities from a variety of LMS as well as informal learning sources in order to create his/her learning experience. The learner is not caught in a particular and closed up system but rather creates his/her own open and highly personalised learning environment.

A Personalised Learning Environment (PLE) can be deployed as a stand-alone application to be used alongside and/or integrated via APIs in conventional LMS/learning systems in schools, universities, vocational training institutions or businesses. We have a very clear vision and in fact a conceptual model that already takes shape for learners to "own their learning" using a Personalised Learning Environment (PLE). A test environment is being setup and will be available in the context of our global digital education project "The Creation of Equal Opportunity in Education". The test environment will be available to the public during the cause of 2017.

Find here a demo for a Personalised Learning Environment (PLE) powered by a PDL. This is a hard-coded and simplified visualisation of how a Personalised Learning Environment (PLE) could look and function. This demo was designed for and presented at the Learntec 2015. This is a hard-coded demo and no real life data or connections to any live learning system is used. You can surf the demo without any login credentials - simply click on the blue buttons to login. . Demo PDL/PLE - Custom UI & Settings.

Join us & Support us

We come already far... together we go even further...

Lifelong - digital supported and documented - formal and informal learning is a major project that has the potential to change the way we learn and collaborate across the world. In fact, it will change the world and e-Learning / digital education in particular. The word is out and people will quickly pick up on and build upon this idea and possibly create their own visions on how to improve the process of lifelong learning in their school, university, their work places and communities. We will however, continue to work on our vision to make a dream come true and to work towards our goal for lifelong - digital supported and documented - formal and informal learning to become a tangible reality.

We would like to invite you to support our initiative.
There are many ways you can give us a hand. Share this website, blog about it, create articles, videos, interview people that work with and for Personal Data Locker® (PDL) and spread the word across all your social networks, E-Mail lists and talk to people in the real-world face to face about lifelong - digital supported and documented - formal and informal learning.

When you are ready to really get hands on, then please do not hesitate to contact us and we will explore the best ways and means of how you can get involved actively with lifelong - formal and informal - learning. The school or university you attend can apply to take part in one of the many pilot projects that will spring up around the globe in the context of our global digital education project "The Creation of Equal Opportunity in Education". The company you work for can get involved using our system for vocational training and / or direct financial support as well.

Dear Friends & Colleagues in the software industry,
if you can spare a few heads and hands for a number of hours per week or month, then we would be grateful if you could take up some tasks such as programming, testing and evaluation work. We will happily accept your financial contribution, the benefits of your media reach and the power of your networks and most certainly we are more than happy to add and integrate the Personal Data Locker® (PDL) and/or a Personalised Learning Environment (PLE) into your tools and e-Learning solutions.

Help us, join us.... let's together change the way the world is using e-Learning.

Current User / Best Practice

The following is a brief introduction of current participants that use in parts or whole the PDL concept to explore and further the use of e-Learning in Schools, Universities and Corporation's. Participants listed here are using the I Invent initiated Personalised Learning Environments and / or taking part in the evaluations process of key components such as the use of xAPI inside, the Personal Data Locker® project and the cross linking of Personalised Learning Environments into third party platforms and tools.


Donau Universität Krems The Danube University Krems supports the PDL project with scientific surveys and evaluations for the xAPI use within Moodle and Mahara -based learning environments in the context of academic learning and teaching. The Danube University Krems supports the evaluation of big data strategies in connection with xAPI and PDL. On the basis of its findings the Danube University Krems will describe and scientifically evaluate possible xAPI application scenarios for businesses such as classic e-learning, training, process optimization, etc.

Danube University Krems started their first evaluation project already in 2015 and first experiences and results have been presented at the Learntec 2016 (Karlsruhe/Deutschland) conference "Lernen sichtbar machen - Experience API (xAPI) vs. SCORM" as well as at the ICELW - The International Conference on E-Learning in the Workplace 2016 (New York/USA) with the conference contribution titled "xAPI and Privacy: How the Personal Data Locker Can Solve this Issue".

With its practical use experience of xAPI the Danube University Krems functions as a catalyst for the xAPI in Austria for schools, universities and companies. As a pioneer in the xAPI use in German-speaking countries, the Danube University Krems takes in future a special position as a competent consultant for universities from Germany and Switzerland. The Danube University Krems will be the partner of choice for xAPI based learning analytics and Big Data strategies within the German-speaking xAPI community.


OERDROID - Open Educational Resource LMSOERDROID - an Open Educational Resource LMS. OERDROID is based on the Open Source Software OER LMS. The OERDROID integrates the Personal Data Locker® 2.0 (PDL) and a PDL powered Personalised Learning Environment (PLE). The OERDROID is intuitive and easy to use and OER online courses are created in just a few minutes. OERDROID has no limits in regards to the number of courses that can be published and number of users that might join in is unlimited as well. OERDROID can be used with OER content for any learning and teaching purpose. There can be OER online courses from hobby experts, teacher and trainers as well as from pupils, students and apprentices (Peer-to-Peer learning/teaching). The OER LMS can be used in schools, universities and corporations alongside an existing conventional LMS.

There is probably no easier way to build online course as with the OERDROID "Copy & Paste", "Drag & Drop" and "Upload" functions provided. Content for online courses can be extracted from licensed websites (i.e. Wikipedia). Video URLs are simply dropped in (i.e. YouTube, Vimeo), online presentations (i.e. Slideshare, Scribd, Prezi), Text from Word or similar file types can be dropped or copied in the respective fields. Simply upload images, photos, mp4, mp3, power point presentations or PDF and you are done. To each OER content element one can add own text or a quiz/test. All OER elements of an online course can be mixed and reordered with "drag & drop".


Create your own project with xAPI & PDL/PLE...

Sicherung der Chancengleichheit in der digitalen BildungYou are invited to start your very own pilot and evaluation project in the context of "The Creation of Equal Opportunity in Education". "The Creation of Equal Opportunity in Education" project is designed to provide access for anyone to a highly effective, intuitive, fun to use and affordable learning environment that can be easily implemented anywhere in the world as a local, regional or cross linked e-Learning solution in order to form a global e-Learning network. The Creation of Equal Opportunity in Education project will promote actively equal opportunity for internet based lifelong - formal and informal - learning for all users regardless of the country of origin and/or social and cultural background in a data safe and multilingual learning environment.

At the heart of "The Creation of Equal Opportunity in Education" learning environment is the individual learner that can create his/her own highly personalised learning experience. This approach takes into account that a "one size fits all" does not exist in teaching or learning. Conventional LMS and learning programs are able to provide a lot of help and assistance but force teaching into quite a narrow corset and hence, allow learning only to follow the very narrow roads within a particular system. Our programming approach allows a maximum of openness and it enables to teach and learn beyond the limitations of conventional LMS and teaching traditions and/or convictions.

Read more about our project at » The Creation of Equal Opportunity in Education and apply to take part in the project at » Test Environment - The Creation of Equal Opportunity in Education