All too frequently, schools buy teachers access to online resources they can't access or use properly. This causes a high rate of customer attrition and leads to lost sales and churn for edtech vendors. For Edtech companies, it's imperative to get teachers started and set up on the new platform as quickly as possible. Teachers don't want to have to wait to start using third-party apps – they want to get on now.

LMS integrations can reduce the amount of work that teachers usually have to endure when getting students onto a new app. Integrations can also enhance how teachers use an app’s content alongside the LMS.

Here are our top 5 reasons why LMS integrations make teachers' lives easier.

1. SSO integrations will make access faster and easier.

The first challenge in getting teachers to want to use a new platform is to get them and students logged in. One of the easiest ways to overcome this hump is to integrate SSO. LMSs like Canvas offer some form of SSO that allows users to log into third-party applications and platforms with a Canvas account (think: a “Sign in With Canvas” button on the app’s login screen). Teachers and students no longer have to remember a different set of credentials to log in to an integrated platform with SSO.

With SSO, teachers don't have to set up accounts for their students to log in or manage student passwords. A student coming from Schoology would simply click on the “Sign in with Schoology” button and enter their Schoology credentials to get signed into an integrated app.

2. LMS integrations allow apps to sync courses and student rosters.

LMS integrations allow edtech platforms to retrieve lists of courses and students on behalf of an authenticated teacher. This can save teachers time if the platform is designed to pre-provision accounts for students before they log in.

With rostering, teachers also won't have to spend time manually entering student information, which could lead to errors. Additionally, the integration can automatically take care of changes that are made to the course in the LMS. If a student is added to a course, the change will be reflected in the app.

Furthermore rostering this way keeps student data safer, since developers won’t have to generate CSVs of roster information and send them through insecure methods.

3. Integration allows edtech companies to incorporate content into the LMS.

Integrations can go beyond simply reading data from the LMS – they can also create and update content inside the LMS. Depending on the LMS and the type of integration, authenticated users can push resources like assignments and quizzes from the application into their LMS.

For example, a teacher who has signed into the application with their Google Workspace for Education credentials could click a button in the app that creates a new assignment in their selected course in Google Classroom. Students could then access this assignment by going straight to Google Classroom.

4. LMS integration makes grade passback possible.

One of the best time-saving features of LMS integrations is grade passback. Teachers hate entering grades twice. LMS integration can enable applications to automatically sync grades to the LMS, which saves teachers time overall.

Without grade passback, teachers either have to manually enter grades back into their grade book, which is error-prone. Or teachers can download a CSV file of the results from the app and upload it into their grade book, which could take time and may require modifications from the teacher.

For example: Let's say a teacher assigns a multiple-choice quiz to their students in Canvas from an edtech platform. Students can log in to the app using their Canvas credentials and then complete the quiz. Once completed, the app can grade the quiz and send the results back to the Canvas grade book automatically. The teacher only has to review the grades once.

5. Integration makes students' lives easier too.

Perhaps the best way to help teachers is to help their students. Integrations improve the user experience and can save class time. Integrations can bring down barriers to logging in, viewing resources, and interacting with outside platforms. Highly integrated products can offer a seamless experience for students so they spend more time learning and less time figuring out how a digital product works.

And another thing...

Teachers and students benefit greatly from LMS integration. When done properly, it saves them time, cuts down on errors, and allows them to focus on teaching and learning. Most educational institutions are aware of what LMS integration can provide and value integrated learning products.

Developers should note that there are different ways to integrate external platforms into an LMS. One method involves using the LMS’s API, which allows an integrated third-party application to act on behalf of an authenticated user (e.g. viewing courses, submitting assignments, saving grades, etc.).

Another method is to provide content to schools in a standardized file format. Typically, this type of integration is done through the LTI specification. LTI-enabled apps allow teachers to launch into an external tool from within their LMS. Thin Common Cartridge, thick Common Cartridge, and SCORM files are also standardized formats that are supported in several LMSs but come with their own set of limitations. Be aware that some platforms, such as Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams, do not support LTI or other standards for importing content.

Read More on Data Integration

Here are other articles we’ve written on integrations to help you on your journey:

If you're looking for a partner who can help guide you through developing LMS integrations (like these), then let’s introduce ourselves. We’re Edlink!