Learning Impact Blog

Community leadership for more effective use of technology in service to education

If you want to know what your future will look like take a look at what you are thinking about today. What is IMS thinking about as we begin 2015?

2015 is going to be a supercharged year of additional progress on the open digital revolution in education via IMS Global. We’re over 280 members, over 400 conformance certifications strong now: without a doubt the largest edtech development community on the planet – and the only one that cuts across all product categories and suppliers.

Please contact me if you and your organization would like to get in front of one of these parades, become part of one of them or start your own (note: this list is not in any particular order):

1. Transition from LTI 1 to LTI 2: By the end of 2015 I guarantee you will be wishing your LMS or your product was LTI 2 certified. Why? Because LTI 2 removes the final barriers to achieving 1-click integration of educational apps. Once you experience LTI 2, LTI 1 will seem like a distant memory. Note: If you are not yet anywhere on the LTI adoption spectrum don’t dismay – we will help you start on LTI 1 in a way that will get you ready for transition to LTI 2. Thank you Vital Source for leading us on LTI 2!

2. Deployment of very important LTI services: Rich outcomes, gradebook and content item: Part and parcel to the transition from LTI 1 to 2 will be market deployment of some essential services that the sector has been shouting for. These services will work with either LTI 1 or LTI 2 and provide some very critical functionality (hopefully the names are pretty self-explanatory).

3. Community App Sharing Architecture (CASA):  Mi casa es su casa! Dear CIOs – it is time to transition your students/faculty from being “users” to “choosers.”  CASA is a peer-to-peer open source reference implementation for an institutional app catalog, based on open standards, for your LTI and mobile apps. We will see the first operational deployments shortly.  Thank you UCLA for leading us on CASA!

4. K-12 Searchable, Learning Objects-based Publisher (large and small) Content: In 2014 something amazing, called the “thin Common Cartridge” emerged from Orange County Florida, HMH and SAFARI Montage.  As a guy working on enabling “learning objects” since 1995 – well, this is the first approach I’ve seen that seems to actually make sense for all parties concerned.  Indeed HMH now has over 200 titles available as Common Cartridges and we've got a new conformance certification, including K-12 metadata, for the thin Common Cartridge.  Also, TCC is easier to implement than the full CC for the learning platform providers. In 2015 will see acceleration of market adoption of TCC and some related work, including federated search will be sorted out.

5. Learning Information Services: I’ve often been worried about the market adoption of this important standard for syncing student information between SIS systems and learning systems, but the reality is that important adoptions are continuing to occur – the issue has really been the glacial speed at which SIS systems are evolving in HED (the core adopter of LIS). But, I’m expecting some significant new adoptions in 2015, as well as some potential breakthrough application in K-12 (see next item).

6. K-12 Rostering & Gradebook: Aggressive adoption of LTI in K-12 among some key leading districts as well a turning tide against business models like Clever (aka let’s try the per drink model again that has failed so many times already in the education space). Districts and suppliers have decided to apply a combination of LTI, LIS and reality to rapidly achieve a vendor-neutral community-owned opens standards-based approach to enterprise app/content authorization. First implementations/deployments? 30-60 days from now . . . Some of the newer IMS K-12 members as well as some of the long-time members are taking the lead on this.

7. QTI v2.1+ and aQTI: The Next Generation: Like LTI, I expect 2015 will be the year that if by the end you are still on version 1 of QTI (the version supported natively in Common Cartridge and most LMSs) you will be pretty far behind.  In 2014 the assessment community, now the largest single segment of IMS members, proved to any doubters left that QTI v2.1 is ready for prime time use and conformance certification.  However, they also identified where they want to go next – which is an end-to-end accessible version of QTI (think APIP) but with better support for assistive technology and serving as an actual rendering format (versus just an interoperability format – which is what QTI is) for the range of devices supported via the web. They are calling this aQTI. Some long time contributors, such as ETS, along with some newer IMS member organizations, like Dutch Exam Board, Cito, TAO, NWEA and Smarter Balanced are leading the way on all of this.

8. EDUPUB: You’d have to have been sleeping through 2014 to not notice the partnership between IMS and IDPF (and a few other partners including DAISY, BiSG and W3C) to combine native web content formats (ePub3) and educational tech integration standards (LTI, QTI, Caliper) to get to the next generation educational content interoperability. In less than one year we went from an exploratory meeting (hosted by Pearson) to an implementable draft specification, not to mention meetings around the world with EDUPUB as a key focus. In 2015 we will establish conformance certification. The Summit session at our February 2015 meeting will focus on EDUPUB and related matters. EDUPUB is another area in IMS in addition to aQTI where accessibility requirements will be prioritized and addressed via the large body of work in IMS led over the years by IBM and WGBH, namely Access for All

9. Caliper Analytics: Hotter than hot! Many thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for awarding IMS a 3-year grant to accelerate adoption of Caliper and LTI in the education space. Lots of code has been generated, led by McGraw-Hill, Elsevier, Intellify Learning, D2L, Canvas among others – but 2015 will see actual deployments. Analytics is kind of a 20-year horizon project in education if you consider all the pieces. But, that does not mean that there is not some low-hanging fruit to be harvested. See it begin to happen in 2015.

10. Extended transcript/Student Achievement Record/Competency-based Education: In 2014 IMS learned from some of our members who have been leading an area that all education enterprises need to get better in: defining and authorizing a more robust set of outcomes or achievements beyond grades. I’d like to tell you that we have this all figured out from a standards perspective – but we don’t. We do have some historical work and some newer work that seems to be potentially relevant – along with some great partnerships we’ve established with C-BEN, AACRAO and JISC, among others. 2015 will be the year we focus in on one or more specific areas under this category that we feel IMS can make a lasting contribution.

We also have a variety of leadership councils/advisory boards for specific groups (like K-12 school districts/state departments of education and Connected Learning App Community) or specific market sub-segments.

Let us know how we can help you become part of the largest edtech ecosystem on the planet (whether you are an existing member, new member or non-member). Contact us. Or, plan to come to the Learning Impact Leadership Institute in Atlanta in May (or an IMS quarterly meeting).