Learning Tools Interoperability, commonly known as LTI, is an education technology specification created by the IMS Global Learning Consortium. It creates a standard method for a learning management system (LMS) to interact with external software.
LMSs use LTI to host content created with an external system (e.g., a gamification authoring tool, branching scenario software, etc.). This allows users to interact with external content without leaving their learning platform, while also sharing the data from those interactions with the external system where the content was first created.
It’s the simplest way to diversify learning content while limiting learning to a centralised location. LTI allows educators to go beyond simply embedding video content into their learning platforms by linking the content within the LMS back to the software used to create the content. Educators can then take advantage of whatever learning analytics capabilities that software has to offer, all without leaving their LMS. It streamlines workflows and simplifies the entire educational process for both teachers and students.
LTI is compatible with all major learning platforms (Moodle, Canvas, Tortara, Blackboard, Brightspace, Sakai, and Schoology to name a few).
Both interactive video and VR and gamified content allow educators to track user behaviour. They can view student results, completion rates, and trends for what students do and don’t understand. Tracking these metrics gives teachers an in-depth view of how students interact with their learning material. Educators can use this perspective to optimise their lessons according to student needs. Learning gaps are then filled, and interactive content is tweaked to be more engaging.
This is a huge time saver for teachers, as the data helps them input grades and create teaching strategies with just a quick glance at the learning analytics dashboard in their LMS.
Without LTI, educators lose that level of efficiency. If they embed their interactive content so that the data is gathered on the external software, they’ll have to exit their LMS and open the external software to view it.
To use LTI, educators must first head to their external tool of choice. There, they will collect a URL, key, and secret that will allow them to access the external tool within their LMS. Next, the educator will add a link to the external tool in their LMS course structure, entering the information gathered above as metadata.
When students click the link in their LMS, the external tool receives a request with that user’s info, the key, and the secret. That information is sent using an HTTP request signed via the OAuth standard.
Clicking the link takes the student straight to the external tool’s content in the same window or a new one. The result is a seamless learning experience where the student never has to actively leave their learning platform.
There are quite a few LTI versions, the latest of which is LTIv1.3. Below are the differences between the four versions:
Platforms that support those added services are referred to as LTI Advantage Complete.
While some LMSs use bespoke frameworks that allow integrations, setting up these individual integrations is time-consuming. The IMS Global Learning Consortium developed the LTI standard as a solution to that problem, with the sole purpose of simplifying integrations for all tools.
LTI is widely recognised as the best way to integrate external learning tools with LMS, especially in academia and higher education. It’s compatible with more tools than any other integration standard. While other standards require users to leave the LMS to log in, LTI uses a single-sign-on authentication portal within the LMS. Additionally, not all standards sync user behaviour results straight to the LMS.
Because LTI does not require LMS customisation, the implementation process is much easier than other standards.
While not as widely recognised as xAPI or SCORM, LTI is the simplest way to integrate interactive video for learning with your LMS. LTI is unique in that it preserves the viewing experience of the tool provider. Learners can view the content you create in the interactive video software directly in your LMS without sacrificing the viewing experience or learning context. This includes customisations in the play/pause bar, ensuring educators have control over whether or not students can fast forward through learning content.
Thanks to learning tools interoperability, enriching learning experiences with interactive video and VR within the LMS is a breeze.
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