Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) is an IMS specification aimed at providing a single way to integrate rich applications – referred to as ‘Tools‘ – with portals such as Learning Management Systems (e.g. Blackboard) – know as ‘Tool Consumers’ .
Now I realise that this sounds a bit technical, and unfortunately it is. This one really is for the developers, but the impact of implementing LTI will be beneficial to students and teachers alike.
So lets look at what LTI will allow us to do and what the benefits are…
We decide that we would like to use a new web-based tool, e.g. a blogging tool, wiki tool, social networking tool, which requires students and teachers to have their own accounts to do all the cool funky stuff. This is incredibly relevant in the current web 2.0 world that most learners inhabit, where they are used to using a multitude of different tools to suit their needs.
Now wouldn’t it be nice if we could use the same accounts that we use with Blackboard, in fact wouldn’t be even nicer if we could just click on a link in a Blackboard module and use the new tool directly with no account or information setup?
LTI has been developed for this exact reason, to allow far better integration between multiple systems. It will pass over user information and course information from Blackboard (or another LMS) to another tool that would normally require separate account information.
From a developers perspective it also means that they need only implement one thing, rather than the traditional method of creating separate plug-ins for multiple LMS’s. This has major benefits in terms of integration as it becomes more likely that a system will support LTI.