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LTI Advantage FAQ

 LTI® Advantage is the gateway to enabling digital transformation—rapidly advancing a secure educational technology ecosystem where users have more options for innovative tools that work together and result in better integrations, better user experiences, and better learning. By extending the foundation of Learning Tools Interoperability® (LTI) version 1.3, LTI Advantage adds features to enable deeper integration between learning tools and platforms and provides a trusted foundation for better app administration, privacy, and security.

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LTI Advantage Frequently Asked Questions

LTI Advantage Basics

What is LTI Advantage?

What are the components of LTI Advantage?

The components of LTI Advantage sound similar to other LTI specifications. Are they the same but with different names?

LTI Advantage for Institutions

What problems does LTI Advantage solve?

Why should educational institutions want LTI Advantage?

Why should educational institutions require edtech suppliers to be IMS certified for LTI Advantage?

How can educational institutions be certain that a supplier’s product is truly LTI Advantage certified?

What do educational institutions need to do to get ready for LTI Advantage?

What is required from a technical perspective if an institution wants to implement LTI Advantage in tools developed in-house?

LTI Advantage for Suppliers

Why should edtech suppliers implement LTI Advantage?

When will LTI Advantage be available?

Does LTI Advantage impact LTI 2.0?

Conformance and Certification

What does it mean to be IMS certified? Why do edtech suppliers need to certify products for LTI Advantage?

How do edtech suppliers certify products for LTI Advantage?

Do both the learning platform and all learning applications/tools using LTI Advantage need to be IMS certified?

If my product already passed certification for one of the LTI services does that mean my product is LTI Advantage certified?

Is my product certified for LTI Advantage if it has already passed certification for LTI Basic Outcomes Service?

Can LTI core be implemented and certified without the LTI Advantage services?

Is there an order in which the LTI Advantage services should be implemented and certified?


What is LTI Advantage?

LTI Advantage is a package of LTI services that are vetted, supported, and certified by IMS Global Learning Consortium. These services add new features to the core LTI standard (v1.3 or higher) that enable better user experiences from the deeper integration of any IMS certified learning apps and tools and IMS certified learning management systems (LMS). With LTI Advantage you can streamline the provisioning of course enrollment and automate the passing of assignment scores and grades from your digital tools back to the LMS. LTI Advantage builds on the LTI secure connection by adding a tool profile that provides a trusted foundation for better app administration, privacy, and security. LTI 1.3 and LTI Advantage are the first standards to leverage the newly released IMS Security Framework, which ensures the highest level of protection for sensitive and personally identifiable information being passed between applications, reducing both institutional and personal risk.

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What are the components of LTI Advantage?

Currently, LTI Advantage is a package of three services that add additional functionality to LTI (v1.3) to greatly improve user experiences, make it easier for faculty to innovate and meet the unique learning needs of students, save time spent provisioning courses, and dramatically reduce integration times. LTI Advantage includes: 
  • Names and Role Provisioning Services: automates the provisioning of course enrollment in a safe and secure manner, and allows for educators to receive reporting on student activity (and inactivity) within the learning tool
  • Deep Linking: simplifies the task of selecting and adding linked content when creating a course, and supports deep integration to specific collections of content, playlists, and tables of content
  • Assignment and Grade Services: provides a means for collecting actionable assignment scores and grades across a wide array of digital resources that can be viewed by all stakeholders in a single system of record, either within the LMS or SIS, along with any comments from the assessor

When applicable to their product(s), learning platform and application suppliers should implement and complete conformance certification for all three LTI Advantage services. The IMS Certified Product Directory indicates when a product achieves certification for LTI 1.3 core and the LTI Advantage services.

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The components of LTI Advantage sound similar to other LTI specifications. Are they the same but with different names?

Yes. Each service comprising LTI Advantage has been renamed to better describe and convey its features and value to teaching and learning activities.

  • Names and Role Provisioning Services is the new name for Membership Service
  • Deep Linking is the new name for Content Item Message
  • Assignment and Grade Services is the new name for Gradebook Service

Moving forward, all documents will use these revised names.

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What problems does LTI Advantage solve?

LTI Advantage features will enable institutions to move beyond first-generation learning architecture by enabling deeper integration that ensures better teaching and learning experiences. Leveraging the trusted LTI standard as the foundation, LTI Advantage adds key functionality beyond core LTI that enables deep linking of learning objects from anywhere in the learning environment, as well as the flexible and secure passing of user and assessment data across all LTI-enabled applications.

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Why should educational institutions want LTI Advantage?

LTI revolutionized educational technology by providing institutions and suppliers with a standard and secure way to connect to a learning tool from the LMS. LTI Advantage takes LTI to the next level; enabling faculty to more easily innovate with technology to improve the teaching and learning experience. Insisting on LTI Advantage gives faculty more control to integrate third-party resources, apps, and tools in the LMS, wherever and whenever, and can be assured that assignment and grade results are automatically synced to the grade book of record. LTI Advantage also lowers the time and cost to integrate digital resources into an institution’s learning ecosystem.

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Why should educational institutions require edtech suppliers to be IMS certified for LTI Advantage?

Much like the operating system of a computer or mobile device, the real power of a learning ecosystem comes when the platform, tools, and applications are leveraging the most current and advanced functions. Institutions want to choose the learning tools that best support their institutional mission to improve teaching and learning. Ensuring a more cohesive and effective edtech environment for teaching and learning is realized only when your learning platform and tools are seamlessly working together and support the most up-to-date features. Requiring suppliers to be IMS certified to LTI Advantage ensures that your ecosystem’s integrations are secure and your institution is maximizing the usability benefits of the LTI Advantage services. Only those products listed in the IMS Certified Product Directory are officially certified meaning they are guaranteed to meet the IMS standards for which they have passed testing. If you experience an integration issue with a product listed in the directory IMS will work with the supplier to resolve the problem.

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How can educational institutions be certain that a supplier’s product is truly LTI Advantage certified?

IMS Global provides and maintains a directory of products that have met certified conformance criteria for all of its standards, including the components of LTI Advantage. All certified products are issued a certification number and are listed in the IMS Certified Product Directory. Products listed in the directory are guaranteed to meet the IMS standards for which they have passed testing. If you experience an integration issue with an IMS Global certified product, IMS will work with the supplier and institution to resolve the problem. To ensure that the learning platform or learning tools you are considering are certified compliant it is recommended that you require IMS Global certification as part of your procurement process and in your RFP documents and verify their certification in the directory.

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What do educational institutions need to do to get ready for LTI Advantage?

All institutional stakeholders should understand the benefits of LTI Advantage and ask your technology suppliers to implement and certify the functionality you want. LTI Advantage improves your digital learning ecosystem by making it more intuitive for faculty to integrate third-party resources, apps, and tools in the right place in the LMS and to seamlessly sync data and results. LTI Advantage makes it easier for faculty to innovate to improve student learning and saves on integration time.

 

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What is required from a technical perspective if an institution wants to implement LTI Advantage in tools developed in-house?

LTI Advantage requires implementation and conformance certification for LTI 1.3 (or higher when available) and all applicable LTI Advantage services—Names and Role Provisioning Services, Deep Linking, and Assignment and Grade Services—depending on the in-house developed product type. IMS Global provides a test suite to check LTI Advantage conformance certification based on the service requirements. IMS provides the standards, sample code libraries and APIs, possible reference implementations and the testing harness you need. Conformance certification is a benefit of IMS membership.

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Why should edtech suppliers implement LTI Advantage?

Your customers want and need this capability. By implementing LTI Advantage and obtaining IMS conformance certification you are demonstrating your commitment to your customers that your tool, platform, or app supports the most current functionalities of the standard and will seamlessly integrate with other IMS certified platforms or tools thus enabling better learning. Implementing LTI Advantage will also save your organization money by lowering the time and cost to integrate instead of having to maintain multiple custom integrations, thereby lowering your total cost of customer support.

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When will LTI Advantage be available?

You can begin implementing LTI Advantage today. Implementation resources and certification instructions are available on the LTI Developers page. If an LTI Advantage service does not apply to your product, you may waive the implementation of that service. The current status of LTI Advantage certifications and those under development is viewable in the IMS Certified Product Directory

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Does LTI Advantage impact LTI 2.0?

LTI Advantage services are separate from the LTI 2.0 specification. For more information on LTI versions including LTI 2.0 see the Recommended LTI Adoption Roadmap & FAQ.

What does it mean to be IMS certified? Why do edtech suppliers need to certify products for LTI Advantage?

Institutions trust IMS Global Learning Consortium as the neutral arbiter of truly interoperable products and content. IMS certification designates passing a set of tests that verify the standard has been implemented correctly and guarantees your product’s interoperability across a growing range of hundreds of certified digital products. Conformance certification is much better than claims of “compliance," since the only way IMS can guarantee interoperability is by obtaining certification for the latest version of the standard. Only products listed in the official IMS Certified Product Directory can claim conformance certification. IMS certification provides the assurance that a solution will integrate securely and seamlessly into an institution's digital learning ecosystem to enable open innovation today and well into the future.

When a product completes certification testing for LTI 1.3 Core and all three LTI Advantage services it will be recognized as LTI Advantage Complete. LTI Advantage Complete certification is required for learning platforms and available for tools. Any tool that completes certification for LTI 1.3 Core and either one or two services is considered LTI Advantage Certified. Products with only the LTI Advantage designation may be working toward LTI Advantage Complete certification or do not support all of the feature services.

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How do edtech suppliers certify products for LTI Advantage?

IMS Global provides development resources and a series of tests to check both digital resources and software for conformance certification for LTI Advantage, which includes LTI 1.3, Deep Linking, Assignment and Grade Services, and Names and Role Provisioning Services. The conformance certification tests are based upon the extension requirements. IMS provides the standards, code libraries, APIs, reference implementations and the testing harnesses you need. Conformance certification is a benefit of IMS membership. To join IMS, decide which membership level best meets your needs and follow the directions on the membership page. Additional details about the benefits of conformance certification can be found on the Get IMS Certified page.

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Do both the learning platform and all learning applications/tools using LTI Advantage need to be certified?

Yes. To ensure successful integration without the need for custom development, both the learning platform and the learning tools and apps must be certified to the LTI Advantage services via the IMS Global Learning Consortium conformance certification program. Learning platforms should be certified to all three of the LTI Advantage services (Deep Linking, Names and Role Provisioning Services, and Assignment and Grade Services). All tool providers should be certified to the services that are applicable to their product. There are learning tools that do not include assignments and therefore would not have the need to pass back an assignment grade.

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If my product already passed certification for one of the LTI services does that mean my product is LTI Advantage certified?

No. Products that have passed certification for Names and Role Provisioning Services (formerly Membership Service) or Deep Linking (formerly Content-Item Message) will be required to recertify for the full LTI Advantage set of services. To achieve LTI Advantage certification and be listed in the LTI Advantage Certification Directory, suppliers must test their products for the LTI Advantage features supported by the product type or indicate that the product type is not applicable for the extension.

Is my product certified for LTI Advantage if it has already passed certification for LTI Basic Outcomes Service?

No. For assessment related product types, LTI Advantage certification is based on the new Assignment and Grade Services 2.0, which provides a substantially enhanced feature set beyond a basic outcome.
 

Can LTI core be implemented and certified without the LTI Advantage services?

Yes. Implementing and certifying LTI core enables the basic features of the LTI standard: establishing a secure technical connection, confirming the authenticity of a tool, and enabling the launch of feature services. However, LTI Advantage is needed to get the most secure exchange of data and usability benefits from LTI, enabling deeper integrations that ensure better teaching and learning experiences and outcomes.
 

Is there an order in which the LTI Advantage services should be implemented and certified?

No. You may select the LTI services that fit with your product's functionality and implement them in whatever order makes sense for your organization/product.