The Learning Tools Interoperability standard (LTI) is a promising common language for platforms that host “tools,” or applications that can be part of a technology-based learning intervention. Under LTI, a system like Moodle can offer students activities hosted somewhere else online, get data about their performance and scores on those external activities, and incorporate it into the general intervention within Moodle, for analytics, assessment, or grading, just to name a few examples.
Now, IMS Global, a non-profit consortium of EdTech organizations that is responsible for maintaining LTI and similar initiatives, has announced “LTI Advantage,” a program designed to accelerate the rate of adoption of LTI across systems and vendors.
On a technical level, LTI Advantage consists of a series of packaged extensions for the LTI specification, which “makes it easier for faculty to innovate and meet the unique learning needs of students.” The built-in solutions bundled in the LTI Advantage package include:
- Name and Role Provisioning to simplify the way systems authenticate and identify users across platforms;
- Deep Linking to connect tools to sections or courses in a more straightforward manner, with fewer pages and clicks in between, and to help manage lots of activities through unique IDs; and
- Assignment and Grade Services to make it easier to exchange performance and outcomes information between systems.
In addition to supporting interoperability and standards solutions, IMS Global also offers leadership and certification programs. Customers can ask vendors to offer LTI Advantage, which they can certify in IMS’ “Certified Product Directory.”
Blackboard’s Jace Howard welcomed LTI Advantage as a sensible response to the growing interest in LTI he’s witnessed across EdTech conferences. Lingering questions remain about whether LTI Advantage will help unify the different versions of the specifications still out there. A less than perfectly clear “Adoption Roadmap” was set forth recently by IMS and later revised. As of today, LTI 2.0 is to be phased out in favor of LTI 1.3, with questions about security protocols still lingering.