Monday, December 5, 2011

Moodle 2.2-IMS LTI, Rubrics, etc.

Before I started working as Project Manager and Product Architect, I was a content guy, developing and delivering interactive rich media content online. So the thing I am most excited about in Moodle 2.2 is IMS LTI. 

Basically LTI provides a much improved method for content publishers to load content into an LMS (Learning Management System), VLE (virtual learning environment) like Moodle, Blackboard, etc. Over time this will likely replace or at least supplant SCORM, LMS specific 'course packs', and the old tried and true "copy/paste". 

Gavin Henrick has an excellent overview of how IMS LTI in Moodle works (link below) showing with screenshots and instructions how easy it is now for teachers to use this content in Moodle. So check out Gavin's article for the details of how LTI works in Moodle.

I wanted to just add a few thoughts of my own about the importance of IMS LTI support in Moodle:

I was talking to a publisher just the other day about how this will let them more easily publish their content out to Moodle (and other LMSs) with this general workflow: 

  1. Publisher sets up an LTI producer, provides teachers/instructors/professors with the credentials
  2. Teachers/professors just need to to put in their credentials to load the content into their course
  3. Students view content (as soon as instructors make it visible).

The main downside are the usual issues with external content - if the service provider has network/scaling problems, the content won't show in the LMS. For critical applications relying on LTI - especially for summative assessment, I recommend looking for strong SLAs and/or on-premise solutions.

Another downside is that every LTI producer will likely at first implement their own user interface, which can lead to confusion and frustration in students and instructors as they try to navigate different interfaces within their LMS. Producers might implement an LMS aware UI layer in their application to mitigate this, or adopt UI standards.

From a consumer side perspective, my then 7 y.o. daughter's school district last year had 11 different learning applications she was expected to use, with 11 different logins, 11 different progress reports, etc.If all those different applications had been delivered via LTI within Moodle, she would have had one login, the scores in the Moodle gradebook, etc. The she could have focused more on learning the content and doing the activities than on trying to keep her list of passwords and URLs straight.

LTI provides a way to make it simpler for students, and parents (at prek12), to consume rich media interactive content (without all those various logins!) and instructors to use external content, and for publishers to provide content, and I think that will make it very useful for content providers who use the standard effectively. It is similar to content broadcasting, or more specifically interactive learning content streaming.

This will make it easier for content publishers large and small to sell or share their content with students and teachers.

Check out Gavin's blog post to see how this works in Moodle:

Moodle 2.2 will support connecting to IMS LTI tools.

Moodle 2.2 has just been released today, get it here: