Best practice recommendation: allow both REST and SOAP based API’s for LMS tenders

This document will give an overview of the philosophy behind the design of itslearning API’s as well as a best practice guideline when it comes to specifying both REST and SOAP based APIs and integrations in upcoming LMS tenders.

The philosophy behind the design of itslearning API’s

The overriding purpose of the itslearning interconnectivity tools is to make our LMS an open and flexible platform which can be integrated with a multitude of system and third-party software solutions.

As can be seen from the graphic (image below), itslearning is designed such that all the various areas of the system can easily be interconnected to a multitude of third-party solutions via a number of open standards:

itslearning API's

As can be seen from the image above, itslearning LMS supports the workflow relating to the integration with a wide range of third-party solutions (such as media files, storage, web publishing etc.). Note that itslearning has good experience with using SOAP based API’s for user provisioning, and we recommend that any forthcoming LMS tender allows both REST and SOAP based API’s.

Description of the API’s and the proprietary integrations with other systems

Below we have summarized our most commonly used APIs, and how organisations around the world are using the APIs to build custom extensions, applications, and plugins to populate information to a variety of sources and to push information into itslearning. Examples of integrations are also mentioned below.

Organisation API

This is a series of enterprise-level web services designed to give organisations more control of the set-up and management of itslearning, course materials and course structure. For example, it can be used to create course materials on the fly, read student assessments, gradebook and grade categories, read course content, read course learning objectives. The update service allows, for example, adding course structure/content such as files, folders, pages, surveys, tests together with educational scaffolding in the form of plans and plan content. The API supports create, read, update and delete (CRUD) operations on content such as files, IMS Packages, tests, links, assignments, LTIs. The API also supports calendar synchronization. For comprehensive documentation, see

LTI and relevant IMS integrations

itslearning is an IMS Member and an affiliate partner since 2010. We adhere to all the key standards such as LTI 1.3 and we have also earned certifications for many new industry protocols. itslearning supports the latest version of LTI 1.3. As user, you can use LTI to connect apps. LTI Apps can be made available to all users by an administrator or if teachers are familiar with LTI then they can add their own to their Modules. itslearning is certified for LTI v.1.3 specification, including LTI Advantage ( This includes:

  • LTI Assignment & Grade Services 2.0
  • LTI Deep Linking 2.0
  • LTI Names and Role Provisioning Services 2.0


The itslearning IMS-ES API follows the standard IMS Enterprise Services. Additionally, the itslearning IMS-ES API has extensions to the standard covering functionality that is not part of the standard. This API is used for the provisioning of groups (course groups, faculties, departments, etc), users and memberships. The API supports CRUD for users, groups, memberships. For more comprehensive documentation, see


Recommended requirement for LMS tenders:

Best practice recommendation for the forthcoming tender (allowing both SOAP and REST API)
Since there are no particular advantages between using SOAP based API’s versus REST API’s, we would strongly recommend that any forthcoming tender does not specify either of these API’s are mandatory, as otherwise you will arbitrarily eliminate several vendors from the competition: Instead – we recommend using the following wording in your tender:

“The LMS must have an extensive and documented set of REST APIs and/or SOAP APIs that are actively maintained.”

Personal API

The Personal API also supports server-to-server interactions. For this we use two-legged OAuth. A site administrator pre-authorizes an application to access data on behalf of the user. This is also commonly referred to as “delegating domain-wide authority”. Administrators are able to delegate this authority on a scope level. For example, you can authorise an application to impersonate users for reading notifications, but at the same time you could restrict the same application from impersonating users to read messages. This is useful for populating student portals or intranet pages.

OData – Data warehouse API:

The Data Warehouse API exposes enterprise-level store of data accumulated from a wide range of sources within itslearning. It employs a star-schema layout and optimises key information from itslearning for reporting, data analytics or predictive analytics. The Data Warehouse includes, but isn’t limited to: structural information (organisations, terms, assessment scales, etc.), achievement information (student grades, learning objectives, etc.), activity information (logins, student course visits, time in course) and progress information (time spent viewing resources, resources read, etc.). The warehouse is updated nightly via an Extract, Transform, Load process. The API is used to pull the information into customers’ data warehouse or reporting tools. This API is REST and adheres to the Open Data Protocol (OData). It can be accessed by many different desktop and cloud-based BI/reporting tools.

For comprehensive documentation. Please see:

Examples of frequently used integrations (itslearning LMS): 

Test Mode Browser: itslearning has a proprietary integration with this Test Mode Browser which universities to set digital tests in exam conditions – and benefit from the time-saving features of the itslearning advanced test tool. The Test-Mode Browser ‘locks-down’ the student’s computer while she takes a test, so she can’t use her computer to access the internet, communicate with friends or open other files and programs.

Plagiarism control integration with SimCheck and Urkund. These are web-based systems that allows student papers to be submitted and checked for plagiarism.

Integrations with several collaborative platforms, examples include GSuite and Microsoft Office 365 

Integrations with several cloud storage vendors, examples include Microsoft OneDrive, DropBox, Google Drive 

Integrations with several e-mail vendors, including Office 365 and Google mail (Gmail) 

LTI 1.3 Integrations with: Cornelsen, EduPool HP5, FeedbackFruits, Padlet, Prodiags, SESAM, Mundo, BookWidgets and several more. Including LTI 1.1 integrations there are over 50 different tool providers.

This means that itslearning can offer ‘plug and play’ integration with certified vendors in the higher education marketplace:

Certifications supported by itslearning

Further to the above, itslearning supports key certifications, including:

Security Assertion Markup Language (SAML) as applied to the EduGain authentication service.
itslearning provides a range of SSO and authentication options, and fully supports SAML. “eLogin” is the itslearning component for authentication with external systems. It is proven to interoperate with Active Directory (including ADFS 2.0), Novell eDirectory, simple saml php, CAS, Shibboleth and others. Support for authentication protocols and options include SAML 2.0, LDAP, CAS, and UNI-login (DK). itslearning has ready-to-use integrations with several national federations and can work with any SAML2.0 federation using a hub and-spoke infrastructure.

Learning Tools Interoperability Core Specification (LTI v1.3)
itslearning is certified for LTI v.1.3 specification, including LTI Advantage ( This includes:

  • LTI 1.3
  • LTI Assignment & Grade Services 2.0
  • LTI Deep Linking 2.0
  • LTI Names and Role Provisioning Services 2.0

OneRoster 1.2 and Common Cartridge v1.3 Standards

The itslearning LMS platform conforms to the OneRoster v1.2 standard, which streamlines the way districts send lists of their teachers, students and courses to their different vendors along with assignment score pass back for teachers using itslearning for their learning management system. When teachers update scores in itslearning, they will be reflected in their Student Information Gradebook.

itslearning also conforms to IMS Global Common Cartridge v1.3 standard, which allows for flexible combinations of learning resources in an assessment-rich and collaboration-rich environment. Users can import course materials using IMS Common Cartridge v1.3 and v1.2. Export is in IMS Content Package standard.)

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) at level 2

Yes itslearning is compliant with WCAG at level 2.1 level AA.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) standard which provides details on accessibility requirements for software product designers and developers. It defines three levels of conformance:

  1. Level A
  2. Level AA
  3. Level AAA

Although our goal is WCAG 2.1 Level AA conformance, we have also applied some Level AAA Success Criteria. For example, our UI components are created to support both AA and AAA color contrast standards.

Our accessibility statement can be viewed here:

Accessibility Statement

We have a commitment to ongoing improvement to accessibility including support for WCAG 2.2 Level AA in the future and Mobile WCAG 2.1 with the planned update of our app in 2023.