LTI 1.3 proposal and appeal to LMS vendors

LTI 1.3 proposal and appeal to LMS vendors

Hi, all!

I have a proposal for LMS vendors to consider: emulate Canvas’s LTI 1.3 implementation rather than rolling your own, unique implementation.

Economy of scale for tool providers and ensuring your LMS—and your customers ultimately—get supported. LearnZillion has run the accounting numbers on all things related to LTI based on our LTI 1.1 implementation and maintenance the past three years, its Canvas 1.3 implementation, and accounting for less coding effort for each addition LMS. Bottom line: it will cost us $35K to implement LTI 1.3 for any one LMS and $25K per LMS each year thereafter for maintenance. This sets a profit margin floor that we have to see for each LMS. LMSes other than Canvas and Schoology do not cross this floor at LearnZillion. We regularly disappoint customers who use less popular LMSes at LearnZillion. I’m guessing other K-12 tool providers are in a similar position for the same LMSes based on various conversations I've had with others.

Why Emulate Canvas?
We serve the K-12 market. The overwhelming majority of our LMS customers use Canvas, and Canvas has a complete and functioning 1.3 implementation. Schoology is second for us but has punted its start on LTI 1.3 for now due to COVID impacts to roadmap. Additionally, we’ve learned that some LMSes already emulate Canvas’s LTI 1.1 implementation to enable integration with tool providers. (It seems they were already ahead of the curve here! Well done!) We’ve chatted with two LMSes—one that already has their own 1.3 implementation—and they are open or committed to the idea of emulating Canvas’s.

Standards are helpful, but implementations are reality.

I’m not sure what the next action step is here to discuss with LMS vendors. If anyone has a suggestion for next steps, please chime in.

Tool providers, if you support this idea, please let this forum, and your LMS points-of-contact, know too.


Ian Lotinsky
CTO & Head of Platform
LearnZillion, a Weld North Education company