Linqur - What is the difference between LTI 1.1 and LTI 1.3 Advantage? (LTI 1.1 vs 1.3)
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Joris Even

What is the difference between LTI 1.1 and LTI 1.3 Advantage? (LTI 1.1 vs 1.3)

With LTI 1.1 currently being used in most of the platforms Linqur clients connect to, we often get the question "What is the difference between LTI 1.1 and 1.3 Advantage?". Well, the differences between LTI versions are significant, both in terms of security and functionality. In this article we will elaborate on the differences for you.

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The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard, developed by the IMS Global Learning Consortium (now called 1EdTech), provide a way for learning management systems (LMS) and external tools to integrate with each other seamlessly. 

Even though most platforms currently use LTI 1.1 or 1.0, the current industry standard is LTI 1.3. The 1EdTech Consortium is still improving LTI 1.3 but has annouced this will be the last version. So it is to be expected that at some point we will all be using LTI 1.3. 

What is the difference you ask? 

LTI 1.1

  1. Security: LTI 1.1 primarily uses OAuth 1.0a for security, which is a protocol for authorization. While OAuth 1.0a provides a level of security, it has certain limitations and is considered less secure than newer standards.

  2. Data Exchange: In LTI 1.1, when a learning tool is launched from an LMS, it includes a basic set of information about the user, the course, and the role of the user. This data is passed through HTTP request parameters.

  3. Extensions: LTI 1.1 introduced extensions that allowed for additional services, like returning grades to the LMS.

LTI 1.3

  1. Security: LTI 1.3 represents a significant upgrade in security. It shifts to using OAuth 2.0 and JSON Web Tokens (JWT), which are more secure and modern standards for authorization. This change addresses various security concerns present in the older version.

  2. Data Exchange: LTI 1.3 uses a more structured and secure approach for data exchange. Information about the user, course, and role is packaged in a JWT, which is a compact, URL-safe means of representing claims to be transferred between two parties.

  3. Extensions and Services: LTI 1.3 introduces a more robust way to extend functionality. It supports LTI Advantage, which includes services like Deep Linking (for content integration), Names and Role Provisioning (for retrieving information about users in a course), and Assignment and Grade Services (for syncing grades and assignment data with the LMS).

  4. Interoperability and Flexibility: LTI 1.3 is designed to be more flexible and interoperable, making it easier for different tools and platforms to work together seamlessly.

  5. Future-proofing: The shift to OAuth 2.0 and JWT in LTI 1.3 aligns it with current industry standards, ensuring better compatibility with future technologies and security practices.

So we can say the transition from LTI 1.1 to 1.3 is a substantial upgrade in terms of security, data handling, and functionality. By adoption LTI 1.3 you will make it a more secure and future-proof choice for integrating learning tools with platforms. How ever, for now, you are safe to use LTI 1.1 when setting up your LTI connection. 


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About the author
Joris Even

Joris Even is our founder and the brains behind our products, with 15 years in e-learning. He loves the outdoors and lives to enjoy every moment. Joris’s easy-going approach and deep industry knowledge make our work both fun and impactful.