Learning Tools Interoperability fulfills its promise!
Posted by Steve Lay
In previous blog posts I’ve discussed the new specification that the IMS Global Learning Consortium (IMS) has been working on called Learning Tools Interoperability or LTI for short. See my first post on this subject here and the later update here.
In March, IMS released the final version of the specification. This clears up any confusion between the earlier variants (Basic and Simple have been used as prefixes in the past) and sets a single standard for embedding tools in learning management systems (LMS) and portals. The final specification also introduced an important new feature: a method of returning grade information from the tool to the LMS gradebook.
At Questionmark we have developed a number of connectors for integrating with popular learning management systems and portals, such as Blackboard and Moodle. LTI provides us with an opportunity to replace those connectors with a unified approach to integration, so I can’t wait to get started with the new specification.
To this end we are now working on adding LTI support to our own software. I recently attended an IMS workshop called “Creating Enterprise Aware, Multiplatform Apps with IMS Interoperability”. At this workshop we heard about the latest developments in both IMS Common Cartridge and IMS LTI. It was a great to meet some of the key people in the community and take a deep-dive on some of the technical details involved in implementing the specifications.
So how will Questionmark integrate using LTI?
In LTI terminology there are tool providers and tool consumers. A tool consumer is typically an LMS or other type of portal that deals with user registration and assignment to courses where learning and assessment activities are aggregated. A tool provider is a web-based service that provides a specialized experience to the learner such as an assessment.
Our first steps with LTI are aimed particularly at users of the Moodle LMS, though anyone with access to a web server running PHP and a suitable database will be able to integrate this way. We’ve teamed up with an LTI specialist, Dr Stephen Vickers, to create an open source Community Edition connector that makes it easy for Moodle users to talk to Questionmark software using the new LTI protocol. The project is hosted on the OSCELOT community development system.
This is just the beginning for Questionmark and LTI – so stay tuned for more updates on the role LTI will play in future Questionmark assessment technology solutions!