IMS Basic LTI: connector-less integration with the LMS

Posted bySteve Lay

At this year’s Questionmark Users Conference I ran a session in our Product Central strand about our Open Assessment Platform. An important part of this strategy is to adopt technical standards where they exist and encourage the development and adoption of standards where they don’t. Our Product Central sessions give customers a chance to look ahead at our product road map and to discuss and influence our direction.

One of the topics in my session was the future of LMS integration. During the session I demonstrated a prototype connection between the popular Moodle LMS and Questionmark Perception using the IMS Basic LTI standard. LTI stands for Learning Tools Interoperability and defines a standard way for a tool like Perception to be used or ‘consumed’ by a learning management system.

LTI solves a similar problem to our LMS-specific integration connectors but in a standard way that can be supported directly by the LMS vendor. Basic LTI support is already available through a Moodle module (as demonstrated at the conference) and in Blackboard from 9.1 SP4.  There is also a plug-in available for Sakai and a development project on the codeplex open source hosting site working towards support from Sharepoint. You can see the full list on the Basic LTI status page.

Basic LTI is a relatively new standard so this adoption list is impressive. It usually takes years to get to this level of support. In my opinion, the reason for this rapid adoption is the simplicity of implementing the standard in a tool or product. The prototype Basic LTI support I demonstrated at the users conference was implemented in less than 300 lines of Python code.

A prototype Basic LTI connection between Moodle and Perception.

The LTI adoption community is being spear-headed by Charles Severance, aka Dr Chuck, who wrote in a recent blog post: “One key observation is that Basic LTI really reduces the barrier to entry for building a tool to plug into Sakai”.  We’re excited about the potential that LTI holds for connecting Questionmark with a broad range of learning systems.  Watch this space!

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