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LTI Resource Search: A New Standard to Improve Access to Online Learning Resources

Imagine you are a teacher accessing the internet to gather some relevant videos for your students who have challenges with certain skills.

Today, you would begin a time-consuming search by browsing various catalogs like ACT’s OpenEd, Knovation or SAFARI Montage. Once you locate the relevant materials, you would then need to copy the URLs of the various videos and paste them into your Learning Management System (LMS) so you could assign them to the students. You would open lots of browser tabs while constantly switching away from your LMS’ “teacher cockpit.”

Now imagine that your learning management system could search online learning catalogs for you by your criteria, such as standards, skill, subject, grade, resource type and keyword or phrase. The LMS would not only save you search time but immediately display the results, allowing you to review the materials and then quickly assign them to your whole class or to a single student with one click!

Thanks to IMS Global Learning Consortium and ACT, there’s a new technology standard for describing and accessing online educational resources, called LTI Resource Search.

In the process of building access to educational resources from OpenEd and other resource libraries into its products, ACT recognized the need for this standard last year, proposed it to IMS Global and then co-chaired a task force charged with its creation.

LTI Resource Search, which is built on work done by LRMI and schema.org, standardizes attributes available to describe educational resources.

IMS Project Group members from a variety of learning platform companies and institutional members came together to determine the specifics to make this new standard a reality.

In addition, LTI Resource Search adds more robust support for describing learning objectives for resources by using the recent IMS Competencies and Academic Standards Exchange© (CASE©) standard within the learning objectives structure.

The new Resource Search standard exposes a simple REST API for performing the search itself based on metadata that can be associated with each resource. This REST API is modeled on the patterns established by IMS Global’s OneRoster© standard (a set of REST APIs for exchanging roster information and grades between systems).

The result for the teacher: you can remain on your primary learning platform while seamlessly searching for educational resources by useful attributes like the title, subject, description, resource type (such as a video or a test), age range, publisher, and most importantly, learning objective.

Even before its formal release, LTI Resource Search was supported by ACTs OpenEd and Knovation, and supported as a learning platform by SAFARI Montage and Knovation.

ACT has provided an open source resource search client with functionality to search LORs from the command line by various criteria. It is intended as a simple example of code which providers of educational apps, tools or Learning Management Systems can use. One set of code can be used to integrate with all Resource Search-supporting Learning Object Repositories.

To learn more, the specification for LTI Resource Search’s API is available on IMS Global’s website here. In addition, you can request client credentials to search ACT’s OpenEd product by writing to resource-search@act.org.

Learning Management Systems can benefit from this new resource, saving time and improving searches for learning objects. Simply stated: open standards open opportunities for everyone.



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ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as a leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality assessments grounded in nearly 60 years of research. ACT offers a uniquely integrated set of solutions designed to provide personalized insights that help individuals succeed from elementary school through career.

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