Digital adaptive learning is often faced with integration problems between numerous learning technologies and apps. To overcome this challenge, IMS Global has introduced a way to provide a standardized and unified platform for learning tools and apps integration with its Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) compliance. And, EdTech services providers are offering LTI integration services for seamless navigation between disparate learning systems.
What is Learning Tools Interoperability?
The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is an open standard developed by IMS Global Learning Consortium to integrate various learning tools and applications. This standard was developed to enable seamless integration of education applications with the learning institution. By developing learning technologies and digital content around these standards, educational institutions have no longer to worry about how these applications will work together.
Prior to LTI standard, connecting external learning tools and applications with an LMS (Learning Management System) required the intervention of a developer of systems integrator. This connection work could take up to several months for completion, with additional efforts required for every new release. The LTI standard means that the learning applications and Learning Management Systems which conform to LTI specifications can be made interoperable. And what value does it bring to educational institutions? A less fussy, easy and quick integration cycle.
Uses of LTI
LTI is used to integrate learning tools and apps with the LMS or any other content authoring system of a campus. This includes authoring, assessments, grading, assignments, and other library resource tools. All the LMSs offer APIs (Application Program Interfaces) that allow Third Parties (external apps) to integrate applications into the platform. But, since all the LMSs are different and unique, a separate integration effort is required for integrating each additional external application. LTI takes care of this extra effort and largely reduces the need for the separate integration process. When the applications to be integrated are already LTI compliant, a much timely and hassle-free, deployment occurs through the introduction of common integration processes.
How? The LTI standard provides a standard mechanism for integrating learning applications with Learning Management Systems (LMS), Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) and Education Portals. This integration establishes seamless communication between tool’s provider (external website or content hosts) and tool’s consumers (LMS systems) through LTI launch service or framework
Basic Flow of LTI
- LTI connects Tool Consumer and Tools Provider together
- Tool Consumer can be any LMS like blackboard, moodle, canvas
- Tool Provider provides the content and it can be an external website
- Tool Consumer and Tool Provider can connect with each other using a secured connection
- Tool Provider takes care of authentication and authorization of users to Tool Consumer
- To connect with the system, Tool Provider provides 3 elements – Key, Secret and Launch URL to Tool Consumer
- After successful connection authentication, Tool Consumer is given the access to content
- LTI Request can be made using default parameters provided by IMS Global
Why should Learning Tools Interoperability be a part of every Learning Management System?
Every LMS would benefit from LTI integration; it is indeed one of the key features of a good LMS.
The benefits of Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) integration into Learning Management System include:
- Integration of multiple educational applications, learning tools and content into one LMS
- Enabling instant use by faculty and students across a variety of learning tools and applications (User-friendly LMS)
- Single sign-on login procedure (eliminating multiple logins into various applications)
- Facilitating easy sharing of numerous data
- Reducing maintenance of a large number of custom integrations required by developers for each learning environment
LTI standards can be rightly compared with a USB Port. Prior to the usage of USB Port, people required a range of different cables to connect to their hardware devices. But with USB port, Life is so easy – all you need to do is ‘Plug and Play’. Similarly, LTI brings in so much ease in EdTech integrations. As long as educational applications are developed in accordance with LTI standards, they can be used together easily. This means all those struggles of navigation between one system to another is largely alleviated.
Adapting to this common approach to interoperability will not only promote faster integrations but will also dramatically lower the costs with the easy migration of applications from one platform to another platform. The LTI approach clearly allows educational institutions to build customized learning environments with least IT support, facilitating connected learning.
How can Diaspark help in LTI Integration with your Learning Management System?
Diaspark Inc. provides LTI Integration Services to help institutions seamlessly deploy dynamic learning environment with the integration of multiple tools to campus platforms. Our team of EdTech experts has helped various education software vendors to integrate a variety of learning tools with their learning platforms like LMS and LEM with separate deployment for each tool with functionalities like:
- Single sign-on access
- Data migration with a stand-alone application
- Deployment of different tools to a learning platform
- Web-based code languages
- Detailed Reporting and Analytics
- LMS upgrades
As an example, Diaspark recently worked on a Learning Management product to make it LTI compliant. This LMS includes key features like wiki, blog, journal, and podcasts etc. which were to be connected with web-based and externally hosted applications. Diaspark established portable links to external applications by defining data elements that can be inserted in IMS Common Cartridges.
Today, more and more educational institutions are using LTI-compliant technology to shorten their integration processes. And many learning management systems, including the most popular and widely used names the in education industry, already are LTI compliant. The benefits of LTI compliance are going to grow further in the coming years. LTI has made digital learning technologies more accessible to organizations. And its new versions will make the education industry even better in the future.