LTI-Connections Between Learning Management Systems and Gaming Platforms: Integrating a Serious-Game Prototype Into Moodle Courses

LTI-Connections Between Learning Management Systems and Gaming Platforms: Integrating a Serious-Game Prototype Into Moodle Courses

Michael Winterhagen, Munir Salman, Matthias Then, Benjamin Wallenborn, Tobias Neuber, Dominic Heutelbeck, Michael Fuchs, Matthias Hemmje
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/JITR.2020100104
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E-learning standards like learning tools interoperability can support at realizing innovative learning scenarios in distributed architectures. A learning tools interoperability connection between a learning management system and a gaming platform offers possibilities like embedding a game into an online course and sending player-specific data back to the learning management system. This allows for a new and data-driven evaluation of students' individual learning performances, especially for alternative methods like qualifications-based learning. The learning tools interoperability-specified mechanisms can also be applied for implementing functionality to exchange students' competence profiles and traces within a knowledge-management eco-system portal that provides a toolkit for creating competence-based games that meet the requirements of qualifications-based learning as well as tools for creating game-specific analytics. As a first result, the authors made a prototypical implementation with a serious game prototype based on the unity game engine and unity analytics as analysis platform.
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Introduction And Motivation

IT-infrastructures at Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) nowadays are required to offer the best possible conditions for seamlessly integrating innovative tools and technologies into online learning programs. A key component for organizing and executing courses is the Learning Management System (LMS) – in many cases an open-source software based on a plugin-architecture which offers an Application Programming Interface (API) for developing extensions without modifying the core code. However, this flexible way to introduce additional functionality is not intended for the replacement of well-established e-learning tools with LMS add-ons of lower quality. In many cases, a distributed solution for transparently embedding external tools or resources into LMS-sided online courses is a better choice. The Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) standard has been designed for that purpose and was released in 2008 in version 1.0 by the IMS Global Learning Consortium, the current version 3 2019. (Imsglobal, 2019). LTI provides mechanisms for authorization, authentication, tool launch, data exchange and is supported by many common LMS and other educational software solutions; in (Imsglobal, 2019), over 200 IMS-certified LTI tools are listed. LTI is chosen for the research objectives of the work as it meets all our requirements and represents a de facto standard.

LTI allows for the implementation of innovative learning scenarios within online-courses because besides, e.g., new media types, miscellaneous software systems can be easily integrated into the learning process. This paper in particular examines integration with learning objects which are implemented in the form of games based of a variety of platforms. LTI can be used to introduce game-based learning approaches into learning environments that originally have not been specifically designed for this kind of education. An LTI-connection between a game and the LMS would enable an LMS-course to embed a game as a standard course resource which can be opened from within the course. After the connection is configured, the fact that the embedded object is hosted by an external system is hidden both from producers (teachers, trainers, etc.) and from consumers (students). However, during such an applied gameplay, user-specific data about progress, status, and history have to be collected by the game or gaming platform. Especially in the context of educational games, this tracking functionality is optimized for evaluating criteria like a player’s learning performance and capabilities, so on LMS-side these data can also be applied, e.g., to support some grading or certification procedures. Alternatives to traditional grading processes are competence-based approaches like the Qualifications Based Learning (QBL) concept described in (Then, 2016a; Then, 2016b; Then, 2016c). In this case, the performance data tracked during gameplay would be used for assigning competences and updating personal competence profiles.

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