Real-time, Cross Application Educational Data and Analytics Real-time, Cross Application Educational Data and Analytics

There’s been a lot of hype regarding big data and analytics in education. In IMS Global we are focused on providing a foundation to make it easier to get usage and progress data out of any educational application or platform. This data, in turn, must be easily accessible by students, faculty and institutions so that it makes a difference in student success.

The effective utilization of analytics in education will take many forms, from real-time messaging to big-data analysis over long periods of time. The IMS community of leading institutions and suppliers is providing the leadership to make learning analytics possible across a wide variety of products and platforms. This will enable the full spectrum of possibilities, from research to operational solutions.

In general, most educational enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are facing challenges when it comes to the requirements put on them from 24x7 support of a growing number of teaching and learning applications.  One-off integrations to each application just doesn't scale in this new world.  IMS provides a range of standards-based options for ensuring that student and course data can be done the same way across all applications and enterprise systems. The savings to institutions are significant and the foundation for a scalable IT and academic technology infrastructure is ensured.

Caliper Analytics™


IMS Caliper Analytics is the world’s first interoperability specification for educational click stream analytics created by the education community for the education community. Major educational suppliers are using Caliper to collect millions of events every week and the data is helping to shape teaching and learning on multiple levels.  Several leading institutions are also working on putting Caliper in place. Now is a great time for both institutions and suppliers to begin putting learning analytics in place using Caliper.


Caliper Analytics provides more than a specification. Caliper also provides open source code and APIs (the Sensor API™) to enable rapid implementation of the standard.

The Caliper standard:

  • Establishes a means for consistently capturing and presenting measures of learning activity, which will enable more efficient development of learning analytics features in learning environments
  • Defines a common language for labeling learning data, which will set the stage for an ecosystem of higher-order applications of learning analytics
  • Provides a standard way of measuring learning activities and effectiveness, which will enable designers and providers of curriculum to measure, compare and improve quality
  • Leverages data science methods, standards and technologies
  • Builds upon existing IMS standards
  • Direct access to the LMS captured events as they occur
  • Use of scalable, commercially available messaging streams
  • Support for real-time messaging intervention use cases
  • Support for supplier-specific metric profiles
Learning Information Services, Course Planning & Scheduling, and OneRoster™

LIS and OneRoster

Learning Information Services (LIS)

LIS is a specification for the exchange of Enterprise Data between the major systems in use at learning institutions. Typically data about learners, faculty, courses and the enrollment relationship between them all is held within a Student Information System (SIS). This system typically is then used to populate other systems, for example Learning Management Systems, Library Management Systems, Learning Object Repositories ... and that process can often be manual - data being extracted from the SIS, and then subject to reformatting into proprietary APIs and formats for import. Often this is done by a human, often complex and error prone. As systems are upgraded, so the APIs and formats change.

LIS solves the scalable data exchange problem by providing standards based service and data models. LIS means that often "one click" in the SIS is enough to create student, course and enrollment records in Learning Management Systems - without the need for error prone human intervention or reformatting. Furthermore, at year end, LIS provides mechanisms to allow final grades to be exported back into Student Information systems.

Overall LIS means that labor is removed from institutional staff back onto systems developers at supplier organizations. Integration is no longer something that an institution needs to do in a proprietary manner. Rather the institution is freed to use technical and support staff to add value for students and faculty.

Course Planning and Scheduling (CPS)

CPS is an extension of LIS that allows for Planning and Scheduling systems to communicate with Student Information Systems in a standards based way. There is no need for proprietary integrations with several different systems - rather planners can implemnent the CPS model and be interoperable with all CPS enabled SISs. CPS means that SIS systems now can use more intelligent logistical information, provided by the planning system, when creating classes. This does not require the SIS to implement complex logistic and planning algorithms.

Overall, in a world where resources such as space are becoming more scarce, CPS provides automation to help instituional planners ensure that the right classes are being held in the right places and at the right times, without the need to manually create records inside an SIS, or by implementing custom integrations.


The OneRoster™ standard is designed to be a subset of the full Learning Information Services standard that focuses on a School's needs to exchange roster information and grades. The standard includes both SOAP and REST-based bindings make it quicker and easier to implement the exchange of information about people, membership, courses and outcomes. In addition to the services, OneRoster specifies a format for CSV files that are typically exchanged between the school and the vendor to populate the roster information needed to gain access to publisher content, learning tools, portals and learning environments. 



Initiative Sponsors


The data and analytics work coordinated by IMS Global is a positive thing for the higher education ecosystem. It promotes a common language for analytics events and fosters collaboration between institutions and vendors. Both are vital to furthering the state of analytics.

Mike Sharkey

Mike Sharkey

Vice President Analytics, Blackboard