IMS Learning Information Services: The State of the Union

Regular e-Literate readers know that I am a big booster of the IMS Learning Information Services specification. (For an overview of the basics of the specification, see my posts here, here, and here.) There has been a lot of news recently about adoption, and I thought it would be worthwhile to pull together a unified post of who is doing what. I’m going to divide vendors and projects into a few different categories based on their released code, public commitments, etc.

Shipping Code

The following software has production-ready LIS support. (Yay!)

  • Peoplesoft Campus Solutions 9.0: Oracle has supported LIS for over a year now via it’s Student Administration Integration Pack add-on product for Campus Solutions. (Full disclosure: I work for Oracle, although the opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own.) Pretty much every system that is consuming the LIS has been tested for compatibility with LIS. The next version of SAIP is going to have some super-cool enhancements; I’ll blog about them as soon as that version is released.
  • Sakai 2.5/2.6: Unicon developed LIS integration and released it as open source back to the Sakai community. rSmart has adopted this code and bundled it with their own Sakai distribution, the rSmart CLE.
  • Moodle 1.9: Moodlerooms provides LIS integration for its hosted Moodle customers.
  • Schools on Facebook: Inigral provides LIS integration for their private-label Facebook add-on for schools. The company is also working on a REST binding for the LIS spec, which they intend to submit to the IMS LIS working group for eventual inclusion in the standard.

Committed to Adoption

The following products have supporting vendors who have made a public commitment to adopt the LIS, but have not yet released code:

  • Banner: SunGard has committed to supporting LIS in the 8.1 release of their product (due out the first half of next year). This will mean that the two most widely adopted SIS systems in North America will be supporting the standard.
  • MyLabs: Pearson has announced a commitment to support LIS integration with their MyLabs products. No release has been named yet.
  • LearningStudio: Pearson has also announced a commitment to support LIS integration in their new LMS, LearningStudio. No release has been named yet.

Thinking About It

  • Jenzabar: These guys may move up into the “committed to adoption” category shortly, but since their interest is newly announced and a bit vague, I’m going to put them in the “thinking about it” category.
  • Desire2Learn: They co-chair the LIS working group and have done some interoperability demo work in the past, but so far they have not publicly announced specific plans to support LIS.
  • Blackboard: They have participated in the LIS working group and expressed public interest in the spec, but so far they have not publicly announced specific plans to support LIS.

Nowhere To Be Found

  • Datatel: They just sponsored a white paper by the Gilfus Group basically arguing that SOA and integration standards (neither of which Datatel appears to support in meaningful ways) aren’t good enough to solve the problems of campuses. Instead, what they need is for the SIS to swallow the LMS through proprietary, one-off integration, which is exactly what they’re doing with Moodle right now. Too bad.
  • Kuali Student: I suspect that the Kuali team is focused on getting the first release of their product out the door, but I sure would like to see them at least participate in the working group on an input level.


If you use any of the products in the “shipping code” or “committed to adoption categories”, then yay for you! If you use any of the software in the “thinking about it” or “nowhere to be found” categories, then you might want to start shaking the trees and telling your vendors (or open source project teams) to get on the stick already.

And just for fun, here’s a list of non-traditional, non-LMS platforms that I would like to see support LIS integration (in no particular order):

  • Apple’s iTunes University
  • Atlassian’s Confluence
  • Google Apps
  • Ning
  • Metaplace
  • Flickr
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About Michael Feldstein

Michael Feldstein is co-Publisher of e-Literate, co-Producer of e-Literate TV, and Partner in MindWires Consulting. For more information, see his profile page.
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3 Responses to IMS Learning Information Services: The State of the Union

  1. Peter Abzug says:

    Hi Michael:

    Glad you found the Gilfus paper that we sponsored. What you might have missed, though, were our announcements around EDUCAUSE concerning our commitment to open source with our partners Moodlerooms. There was great reaction to this by our clients and we already have about 20 betas lined up to start in the first quarter 2010. So, I would hardly say Datatel is “Nowhere To Be Found.” Take a look: news/moodle+datatel+moodlerooms+open+source.htm

  2. “Nowhere To Be Found” refers specifically to support for the IMS LIS specification, and the comments about Datatel refer more generally to the fact that your white paper appears to denegrate standards (and SOA) and promote non-standard integration, point-to-point, with Moodle. Open source and open standards are not the same.

  3. Pingback: IMS Global Meeting: Learner Information Services « Linking research & learning technologies through standards

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