Edlink has helped nearly two dozen companies build and support integrations between their products and the variety of learning management systems that their customers use. Over the past year, we have onboarded over 8 million users and serve nearly 1000 school districts and universities.

How do we do this all?

The fact is that building and supporting LMS integrations is not as easy as it may seem. There is a lot of work that goes into making seamless integrations that schools can easily connect to. Frankly, much of this work is tiresome and is likely not central to your core product. Meanwhile, our core business is creating and supporting data integrations in EdTech. Because this is our primary focus, we've done all of the heavy lifting for your LMS integrations.

Below are four key topics you should keep in mind when you're planning out your integrations and how partnering with Edlink can address them.

1. Each LMS is unique in the way that it supports integration.

There is no primary LMS that is used throughout K12 or higher education. Schoology, Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas, and Google Classroom are all very popular and see widespread adoption. If you're in EdTech you're likely working with schools with different learning management systems. What complicates this is that each LMS also has different methods to support integrations.

Each LMS has its own proprietary API. By definition, these APIs are not standard. While many of the LMSs also support the LTI® standard from the IMS Global Learning Consortium® for integration, not all of them do and some only support the LTI standard partially. Thus, you may need to provide multiple methods of integration for the schools that you work with in order to meet their needs.

Since Edlink provides integrations for all of the major learning management systems, you're covered no matter which school you're working with.

2. Each LMS structures data differently.

Not only does each LMS support integration differently, but the ways that LMSs structure school data also greatly varies from platform to platform. This can cause some serious issues for your app if you're not prepared to abstract data that you are retrieving from different platforms. For example, users in Google Workspace for Education and in Google Classroom are divided into Organization Units (OUs). These OUs rarely mirror specific departments or schools at a district. Thus, you'll need to build a way to handle Google Classroom users, especially if your app needs to know what department or specific school a user belongs to.

Edlink was designed to abstract user data across various learning platforms. This allows our clients to communicate with each LMS through our unified API. Our platform is prepared to handle situations that are unique to each data source.

3. Getting schools to integrate with your product can be a challenge.

A major part of a successful LMS integration is the ease at which a school's LMS administrator can enable the integration between your app and their platform. Each LMS has its own process to allow administrators to connect their LMS environment to third-party applications. This process ranges from somewhat easy to quite difficult depending on the platform and the type of integration. For example, integrations with Canvas and Brightspace requires administrators to create developer keys that your app will need to connect to these platforms. You'll need to make sure that you provide a secure method for administrators to transmit these developer keys to you.

Edlink has made the administrator onboarding process simple and fast. Most admins can integrate their LMS with Edlink in under five minutes, regardless of which platform they are connecting. Our team also provides personalized guidance for administrators who need help in setting up the connection or who have questions about the integration.

4. You can spend more time and resources focusing on your core product.

Building and managing LMS integrations can be tiresome and costly. Employing developers dedicated to building integrations in-house can be expensive and takes time away from improving your core product. There are many hurdles and issues your team is likely to run into if they are new to working with learning management systems.

Additionally, there are many ongoing costs related to managing LMS integrations that many companies fail to recognize. Building an integration is just the first part. Continually supporting the integration and having a way to manage your integrated users comes with a price.

Read More on Integration

Here are other articles we’ve written on building 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!