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 the LTI standard. This means that edtech developers must use the proprietary APIs of these LMSs to integrate their app with them.
2. Not all LMSs support LTI in the same way
Even if an LMS supports the LTI standard, there are still some quirks that could cause challenges when developing an LTI tool for a specific LMS. For example, some LMSs, such as Edupoint® Synergy® LMS, provide no documentation around how to support the LTI Advantage specification (the newest specification within LTI).
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 the application. 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 can’t 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.
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.
Interested in LTI?
Read these other articles we've written on LTI.
- Updated | What is “LTI Integration”?
- What’s the Difference Between API and LTI Integration?
- Rostering Students and Teachers in Your App: What Are Your Options?
- The Challenges of Using the LTI Standard for K12 and Higher Ed LMS Integrations
- Why would I work with Edlink instead of just building my own LTI application?
Learn More about Edlink
If you’re looking for a partner to guide you through LMS LTI integrations, then let’s introduce ourselves. We’re Edlink!