Why You Should Care About Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI)

Why You Should Care About Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI)

In the current social and economic climate, anything that makes it easier to customise, extend, simplify, and operate online learning is a big deal. 

Even before the pandemic, 83% of organisations reported using a Learning Management System (LMS), and 73% of talent professionals noted a rise in their employer’s use of these platforms.

Source: https://www.td.org/insights/new-from-atd-research-is-the-lms-dead

But there is a crucial technology that doesn’t get talked about a lot which is key to making everything work—Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI).

What is Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) and how does it work with Learning Management Systems (LMS)? 

LTI allows you to plug and play a variety of external tools, content and applications, into your LMS. 

This means that the content and tools you use in your online resources and training materials are hosted right within your own platform.

With poor usability cited as one of the biggest drawbacks to these systems in the past, LTI helps make for a much better user experience (UX) and learner experience (LX). 

E-Learning Challenges: LTI Tools to the Rescue!

Frequently, training providers or organisations are using multiple tools for online learning.

When these tools don’t integrate, or learners have to keep track of them with multiple logins, it causes a lot of problems, hassle, and confusion. 

Put yourself in the shoes of a learner or trainee. There’s a tool for assessments and testing, a tool to find your grades, maybe several apps for learning, and another one to communicate with your trainer and other students. 

Learners may get stuck trying to remember what tool is for what. 

“What app holds my course information? What app has my grades? What app has my assignment? Darn, where did I put all those logins?” 

Some people might throw up their arms in frustration and give up at this point.

If you’re a trainer, your employer may want you to use a particular learning platform, but you hear about all these cool tools that could save you a lot of time and effort that your current platform just doesn’t support. 

You can either try to use these tools separately, which gets complicated and may not even be possible, or try to get your organisation to pay for custom technical development requiring time and money– both of which are often in short supply. 

LTIThe LTI and External Tools Solution

In response to the problems mentioned above, IMS Global Learning Consortium, a non-profit collaborative advancing educational technology, developed the Learning Tools Interoperability standard. 

This standard saves developers from doing a lot of custom work for each system, facilitating easy integration of different tools and apps with a growing set of cloud-based learning applications. 

The aim is to create a seamless experience for the user while maintaining a secure exchange of information between the LMS and external tools. 

LTI Brings a Range of Potential Benefits:

  • Trainers are not limited to whatever external tools their LMS will support. This gives them much more freedom to choose the tools and apps that are best for facilitating learning. 
  • A single login is possible for all the different tools students and trainers are expected to use. What a gift it is not needing to keep track of different logins for different apps. 
  • It allows trainers and learners to access external platforms as easily as internal ones. 
  • With the wide range of capabilities LTI makes possible, it can save instructors a lot of time with arduous, time-consuming tasks such as adding a group of students name-by-name into an app.
  • In addition to assessment, communication, learning, and grades, LTI could connect authoring, homework, plagiarism detection, library resources, tools, and so much more.

The Technical Benefits

Previous to the LTI open standard, connecting external learning tools and applications with an LMS or other training platform required a technical developer to create a custom linkage. 

An LMS would usually offer an API (Application Program Interfaces) that allowed third parties to integrate other applications within the platform. 

However, because each LMS is different, a separate integration effort was required for each external application. This work could take several months to complete, and every time a new version of an app was released, more technical toil was needed. 

The LTI standard means less integration time with a lot less work, making it easier for organisations to provide the best LX for students.

Cloud Assess uses LTI to integrate tools like learning content, interactive materials, supporting resources, knowledge base and technical documents. 

In Closing

LMSs have come a long way since the dawn of the information age. Innovations like LTI have made these leaps accessible to learners around the world.

They also help powerful learning platforms like Cloud Assess bring the best technology for an optimal LX and easy development. 

We may be living through challenging times, but for online learning, it’s a Renaissance era.


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