LTI®, a standard developed by the IMS Global Learning Consortium®, is a popular method for integrating third-party content into a learning management systems. Many of the most popular LMSs support some form of the LTI standard. Furthermore, many schools require LTI integration from any vendor that wants to work with them.
While LTI certainly sees widespread usage, there are challenges associated with integrating through the standard. Here are some issues that you should keep in mind if you're building an LTI app.
1. Not all LMSs support LTI
Some LMSs do not support the standard at all. Both Google Classroom and Microsoft Teams - both of which have over 100 million users - do not support LTI. This means that you must use the proprietary APIs of these LMSs in order to integrate your app with them.
2. Not all LMSs support LTI in the same way
Even if an LMS supports LTI, there are still some quirks that could cause some challenges when developing an LTI tool for a specific LMS. For example, Schoology only supports up to LTI v1.1, so you cannot use an LTI Advantage app in Schoology.
3. The experience for users may not be consistent
When an LTI app is launched, the app appears in an iframe inside of the LMS. This does restrict the user experience of your application. It should also be noted that many LMSs allow users to add LTI tools to different placements in their LMS. A placement refers to the location on screen or context in the LMS where the user will launch the LTI application. Since placements can change where the user is launching the tool from, it can alter the experience for the user.
4. LTI cannot see enrollments outside of the class that it was launched from
When a teacher launches an LTI resource from their course, the LTI app can only read the enrollments of teachers and students of that specific course. The app cannot see the enrollments of any other course that the teacher is a part of. In fact if the app is not using the Names and Role Provisioning Services in LTI Advantage, then the app cannot even read the enrollments of any users in the course who have not yet launched into the LTI tool. This obviously can cause some issues if your app needs to roster users in advance.
5. LTI cannot access all relevant data
There are several valuable parts of the LMS that LTI integrations do not touch. For example, an LTI app cannot communicate with a user's calendar in their LMS through the LTI standard. This type of integration must be completed through the LMS' API.
Since so many schools are asking for LTI apps in their RFPs, it certainly makes sense to develop LTI tools as an option for your LMS integrations. While LTI doesn't answer every need for every LMS integration, it does provide a standardized format for learning tools that can be used across different platforms.
If you need help managing your LMS integrations, then we would love to chat with you! The Edlink platform supports both API and LTI integrations. No matter which method you want to use or which LMS you are trying to connect to, Edlink can help you get started. We help clients connect to nearly every major LMS, including Google Classroom, Schoology, Canvas, and Blackboard. If you want to learn more, please message us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message at our support page.
Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI®) is a trademark of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc. (www.imsglobal.org). Edlink LTI integrations are not certified by the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Inc.