Seethaprasad Mandikel is the founder and CEO of TriByte Technologies, a Bangalore (India) headquartered company, focused on developing a cutting-edge Interactive Learning Platform. Seethaprasad comes with 25 years of experience in building technologies for large scale deployment with the last 10 years focused on EduTech. He has grown TriByte from start-up to enterprise by providing white-labelled solutions for many marque customers serving millions of users in 25 countries and 3 continents. Prior to starting TriByte, he was part of the founding team of PI Corporation (later acquired by EMC) as Development Director.
Interoperability is defined as making different platforms from different providers integrate or inter-operate with each other. To make the integration process standardized and secure, IMS Global, the institution which has developed other important standards like SCORM and QTI, also developed a standard for interoperability called the Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard. The current version of LTI is 1.3.
An LMS platform can integrate with one or more learning tools which is cloud hosted at a different location in a secure and standard manner without the need of custom programming. For example, an LMS platform can link to a video, interactive assessment or any learning material created by a compliant third-party vendor or partner and use that as learning material in its course structure. The LTI standard defines the confirmation of the authenticity of the tools with messages defined for exchanging the grade and assignment data between the tool and the LMS.
The integration process is as follows. To begin with, the LMS platform users are authenticated using OAuth2 and JSON Web Tokens, by the learning tool provider. The LMS platform provider passes on the contextual information for the user, such as the user’s unique identification and specific course or group context, to the learning tool. Once authenticated, users can seamlessly access the features and services offered by the learning tool provider. The learning tool provider is also responsible for sending back user activity and progress data back to the LMS platform.
There are many benefits of LTI.
- Smoother Integrations: It is easy to integrate a third-party tool and authenticate the platform users, access specific linked resources, and get access to data on user activities in the learning tool
- Improved User Experience: By extending the capabilities of the LMS platform, it allows platform providers to provide new functionality to users in an efficient and speedy manner
- Better Learning: By being able to integrate new capabilities into the platform and to be able to track learner activities in the integrated learning tools, platform providers can better influence learning outcomes.
More recently, in 2019, an extension of LTI, called LTI Advantage, was released. It is a more secure standard and has improved privacy protection. LTI Advantage extends LTI v1.3 in three ways.
- Names and Roles provisioning service: This service helps automate course enrollment into the learning tool and provides the LMS platform with reports on student activities performed within the learning tool.
- Deep Linking: With this extension, course building is simplified. We can add deep links to content and to content playlists and tables of content. It allows the faculty to search and configure the learning tools in the learning tool repository environment and use in the LMS inside the course wherever required.
- Assignment and Grade Services: Using this service, we can dynamically update scores and comments from the learning tool into the LMS grade book.
The TriByte Learning Management System is LTI v1.3 compliant. We have several successful LTI integrations including authoring tools such as H5P, Cisco NetAcad and Google Assignments. Implementation of open standards like LTI 1.3 makes it possible for our customers to seamless access content repositories and tools to extend the capabilities of their solutions.
In summary, LTI and LTI Advantage are quickly evolving to support more heterogeneous platforms, giving users enhanced functionality in the platforms they use. Content as LTI 1.3 service on cloud will soon evolve to a pay per use model removing the content repository barriers and allowing newer and creative ways of usage of content.