Learning Tools Interoperability®



This page offers an introduction to IMS Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI®), a brief history of the development of the specification, and details about current work being done by IMS and its members around LTI. Links to other resources and information about how to get involved in the LTI work or to begin implementing the specification are also provided.

Introducing Learning Tools Interoperability
The principal concept of LTI is to establish a standard way of integrating rich learning applications (often remotely hosted and provided through third-party services) with platforms like learning management systems, portals, or other educational environments. In LTI these learning applications are called Tools (delivered by Tool Providers) and the LMS, or platforms, are called Tool Consumers.

The basic use case behind the development of the LTI specification is to allow the seamless connection of web-based, externally hosted applications and content, or Tools (from simple communication applications like chat, to domain-specific learning environments for complex subjects like math or science) to platforms that present them to users. In other words, if you have an interactive assessment application or virtual chemistry lab, it can be securely connected to an educational platform in a standard way without having to develop and maintain custom integrations for each platform.

History and Current Status of LTI
Initally dubbed "Basic LTI", LTI v1.0 (released in May 2010) provides a simple but standard method to establish a secure link to a Tool from inside a Tool Consumer. The launch of this link allows a seamless learning experience for students who gain access to rich applications that appear to take place inside the learning environment. Version 1.0 is the first step in the continued development of LTI.

LTI v1.1 (released in March 2012) adds the ability to pass back an outcome from the Tool to the Tool Consumer. This allows students to receive a grade or score from their interaction with the learning application.

LTI v1.1.1 ( released in July 2012) includes support for the Mentor role which can be used to represent a parent, guardian or auditor.

The LTI working group is actively working on the next version of LTI. LTI v2.0 seeks to establish a new framework for the same kinds of integrations as specified in v1.x but using a foundation that allows a gradual introduction of richer services and interactions as the market matures and evolves. The scope of v2.0 includes:

  • The Tool Proxy, represents the product profiles of both a Tool and a Tool Consumer that want to enter into an integration contract with each other. The Tool Proxy provides the way to establish the services that will be offered, outlines the security specifics, and defines the capabilities of each.
  • Adopting a REST based framework with the data exchanged being described using JSON-LD.

The LTI v2.0 specification is currently in Internal Draft and under review by IMS members. Prototyping and initial implementations are underway with the intention of having the Public Draft version ready for public comment and review during the last half of 2012. If you would like early access to the v2.0 draft, details about joining the CC & LTI Alliance are included below.

Who is Using LTI?
Many learning management systems, including the most widely used in education across the world, already support LTI, as well as a growing list of application and content vendors. Those systems and applications that have achieved official conformance are listed on the IMS website.

Adopting LTI
The latest drafts of the Final (and Public Draft) versions of the specification are available from the LTI section of the IMS website. Conformance testing for Tool Consumers and Tool Providers is available through the CC & LTI Alliance.

Getting Involved
Join in the discussion about LTI on the IMS Public Community forum.

For more information about Learning Tools Interoperability, please contact us.