Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) for Better Learning Experiences
  • Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) for Better Learning Experiences

    March 1st, 2022

    In the modern digital learning landscape, a growing number of high-quality web-based applications are being used to improve teaching and learning. These applications could be anything, from general communication tools for virtual classrooms to domain-specific learning engines for almost every subject. The Learning Management Systems (LMS) typically provide access to these myriad learning applications.

    With an LMS, educators and students can navigate the apps through carefully crafted hyperlinks and data flows between the two systems, made possible by custom communication protocols. This is where Learning Tools Interoperability or LTI comes in. It works as a single framework for integrating any LMS product with any learning app.

    For instance, educators can use G Suite’s Google Assignments to export LTI-compliant assignments that they create in Google Docs for students. It automatically manages file permissions when a student submits assignment files. So, editing is locked after submission. 

    It also offers several other benefits to educators while grading, including in-line editing suggestions and access to a comment bank from which they can easily re-use frequently used margin comments. Once the assignments have been graded and returned to the student, they also get a copy of the assignments in their Google Drive while the grades are synced to the LMS grade-book.

    You can even connect an interactive assessment application or virtual chemistry lab with your LMS in just a few clicks. 

    What is Learning Tools Interoperability?

    The LTI data standard by the IMS Global Learning Consortium, allows you to easily and securely connect learning apps and tools with learning management systems on your premises or in the cloud. The level of integration on this platform depends on the learning app and the version of LTI that it complies with. If it is the right fit, users can access digital learning resources, apps, and tools within any LMS with a one-click, seamless connection.

    LTI 1.0 to LTI 1.3

    LTI 1.0 was launched in 2010 and focused on launching users into external tools. For instance, it helped authenticate the students and the parameters passed to the tool provider so that they can know which chapters or resources the student should look at.  LTI 1.1 gave the tool a location to which an outcome (or grade) could be placed and a ticket that ensured the outcome was properly labeled for the specific user and course. The simplicity of the LTI 1.1 framework helped in its widespread adoption.

    IMS Global developed and released LTI 1.2 and 2.0 in 2014 to improve interoperability. However, these frameworks did not see widespread adoption due to their complexity and security concerns. IMS Global then came up with a new model built on the popular LTI 1.1 specification that took advantage of industry advancements in security and decreased complexity for tool developers. It was called LTI 1.3 and its services were packaged as LTI Advantage. It even allows publishers to build on the LTI 1.1 model and develop applications using the core LTI 1.3 framework.

    What’s New with LTI?

    The LTI standard has revolutionized the workflow for educators and students. But, IMS has made it even better by launching LTI Advantage. This has dramatically enhanced usability and data security with the help of a package of services that add new features after integration. The three key feature services of LTI Advantage are:

    1. Names and Role Provisioning Services: This allows automated course enrollment into third-party tools and provides faculty with timely reports on student activity within the tool.

    2. Deep Linking: This simplifies course building with the easy addition of deep links to content, including content playlists and tables of content.

    3. Assignment and Grade Services: This dynamically updates scores and comments from third-party tools in one place, such as your LMS grade book.

    LTI can serve as an important tool to empower digital transformation in education. It can help you catch up with rapid advancements in the EdTech ecosystem too. It can also provide your educators and learners with more options for innovative tools that work together and result in better learning.

    Benefits for Educators

    • It can streamline enrollment into learning tools and automatically transfer the assignment scores and grades from your tools back to your LMS. It also offers industry-standard security and helps establish a reliable foundation for better applications administration and data privacy.
    • It can improve your digital learning ecosystem by making it more intuitive for educators. They can integrate third-party resources, applications, and tools in the right place and sync results continuously.
    • It grants educators greater control to integrate third-party resources, applications, and tools in the LMS at any time. They can rest assured that assignment and grade results will be automatically synced to the grade book of record.
    • It also reduces the time and cost required to integrate digital resources into an institution’s learning ecosystem.
    • Another benefit of using LTI is that the courseware, software, and web services developed at an institution by educators can be made available for prompt use elsewhere. Additionally, it allows educators to select and integrate learning applications to create a do-it-yourself environment without compromising on students’ learning experience.

    Benefits for Students

    • With LTI, students get a single access point to more diverse content to succeed in their classes. It provides them with a single sign-on online environment to access digital content.
    • It helps in integrating a system with multiple other systems and tools. It streamlines the learning experience for students as they need to sign into only one system to access all content provided by the tool provider. So, they are more likely to actually access the digital content rather than getting frustrated over acclimatizing to and managing multiple platforms while trying to meet deadlines and perform well.
    • It protects student data, especially if you are using the latest security model adopted by IMS, based on industry best practices for user privacy and security. This version offers improved consistency between IMS standards and enhanced support for mobile implementations.

    Choose an LTI Compliant Digital Learning Platform

    Everyone involved in the education industry knows that LTI is of immense importance when it comes to the interconnectedness of learners and learning resources. Both educators and students want and need this interoperability. So, when you choose an LTI compliant platform that has IMS conformity certification, you can gain the trust of your users. 

    Anyone using such a platform will realize that it supports the most current functionalities of the standard. They will know it can seamlessly integrate with other IMS-certified platforms or tools and ensure better learning outcomes. Additionally, it can help save money by lowering the time and cost required to integrate apps and tools and eliminating the need to maintain multiple custom integrations.

    MagicBox™ is built on the LTI module and eases education delivery and learning through MagicSync (Single Compliance and Integration Platform) for all industry standards. It can put all your integration and deployment problems to rest. Check it out for yourself with a demo.