An API is a standardized interface that allows different software components to communicate to fetch data. There is hardly any IT application that does not come with an API. APIs have become increasingly crucial for modern learning since they are an integral part of the Learning Management System (enterprise LMS).
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APIs are the most reliable medium for any enterprise LMS to share data with client applications. API serves many purposes for enterprise LMS, such as content management, reporting, and integration. Let us understand these reasons one by one.
Learning content creators, content authors, learning resources, corporate trainers, HR professionals, and assessment tools demand flexibility and independence in the context of their toolsets, hosting environment, and work location. To address these concerns protocols like Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM), xApi, and cmi5 were built.
They ensure that any compliant enterprise LMS can reliably play any course content created by any course author. But the exchange of learning assessments and content between enterprise LMS environments can be allowed only by APIs.
It gives customers and course authors the choice to either host their content in the SCORM Cloud or directly in the API. It applies to Canvas, Moodle, or other learning platforms that support an API. Likewise, with the API, you can share learning management information, results, and trainee data with other online services.
APIs are responsible for providing updated, convenient, and accurate information to dashboards, reports, and data feeds. These reports play a crucial role in learning management systems like tracking the candidates’ performance, attendance, scores, certification, completion rates, etc.
One of the popular applications of APIs is using Power BI dashboards to present training data with highly interactive visuals and graphics within the business intelligence (BI) frameworks. In the context of reporting, APIs need to deliver information. For instance, client apps bring data from the server but they do not modify or post it. Though this enhances security, preventing unauthorized access to sensitive and private data is still a big concern.
Enterprise LMS platforms do not operate in an isolated environment. In a corporate environment, the learners are the employees. They have their profiles on multiple platforms like Active Directory, HR, and ERP Systems.
Managing the copy of every employee’s profile manually by the admin team for each system creates a lot of scope for errors, duplication, and inaccuracy in the employee’s records. API integration sets one of the systems as the source of “true data.” The other systems can access and maintain the data in one place.
There are several benefits of integrating systems for learning. Some benefits are enhanced interaction, keeping track of the learning activities, comparing their effectiveness, enhanced user control, and much more. However, these benefits need to justify the cost and time investment.
Let us discuss some of these benefits:
There are hundreds of enterprise LMS in the market. Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to choose the best option from such a huge list. Every API has its own set of unique features, pros, and cons, and comparing all of them isn’t an easy task. So we have created a list of the top APIs for you along with the breakdown of their features so that you can decide for yourself.
PrepAI is one of the best tools for generating quality question papers for practice sessions or offline exams. Administrators and teaching professionals can easily create Q and A pairs with this API. It will reduce the scope of human error or bias and significantly minimize the recurring operational cost & time.
PrepAI allows you to prepare test papers in a few minutes. So you can take an instant test right after the lecture to check if the students have grasped the concept.
You don’t need to outsource the course content creation part of your business anymore. PrepAI will give you access to multiple question sets. So you do not have to invest time or money in the process.
Schools & colleges can maintain consistency in the quality of question papers with a tool like PrepAI. There will be no scope for human bias and error, so assessing a student’s capability will be much more accurate.
Some of the best blogs have FAQ sections at the end of the blog to solve all the reader queries. With PrepAI, you can generate these questions easily.
Every course content creator needs to prepare assessments and update them with every update in the course content. PrepAI will do all these tasks for you and will save you time.
As the syllabus and course curriculum gets updated, textbook publishers need to update the question banks, textbooks, and sample papers. It can be quite a tedious job. PrepAI can help you do these revisions automatically.
Every business has compliance documents that the employees need to read and understand. With PrepAI you can create an assessment of the changed policies to check their understanding.
This API can help you locate schools in your area by entering details like city name, complete address, or zip code. You can get comprehensive data on any school including reports of test scores from students. It provides educational guidance to parents to help them find the right school for their children.
This API allows programmers to include classroom project lists in their app or website. App users can buy gift cards and donate to projects with this API. The educators can submit requests on the organization’s website for donations to project resources. The users can donate any amount of their choice. When a particular project resource achieves its fundraising target, DonorsChoose supplies the resources to the educational institution that requested it.
It is an API that helps educators and learners to organize their files. It assists programmers to connect to every Student Information System (SIS) and every Identity Provider (IdP) used by schools. Users of this API can save a lot of time they would have to otherwise spend on managing multiple data pipelines. Additionally, the API also provides options for data analysis, integration, organization, and security of student information, as well as data recovery functionalities.
The logos and colors are customizable so that you can match them with your UI. It also allows real-time collaboration through comments. Users can underline or highlight notes and leave or reply to comments visible to all other users. The revolutionary technology of this API also allows users to work offline. It enables automatic syncing of annotations and documents when there is network availability.
Canvas’ grade book APIs help users manage grade book history, grade book periods, and grade book changes. Learners can assort and organize their assignments and courses with the help of this API. With this API, course content creators can present information in a visually appealing way with tools like visually logical structures, iconography, etc.
This API helps teachers to customize tests for their students with features like video and audio, real-time test result exports, multiple choice questions, integrated user IDs, and so much more. It is an easy-to-use, customizable online testing solution for business, training & educational assessments.
The API is secure, web-based, and highly professional. Enterprises also use this API for pre-employment assessments, online certifications & compliance, recruitment, health & safety quizzes, lead generation, GDPR & CCPA compliance, etc. With this API’s secure and advanced testing tool, embed exams in WordPress & Google Sites, set time limits, provide instant feedback, etc.
This API enables school assessments to go beyond later grading. Its main goal is to bring more personalization into the educational system. It has a “branching feature” which makes it simple for educators to design tests and quizzes through “configured paths.” It enables them to meet the individual learning needs of every learner.
There are also other helpful features, like sample answers, flexible scoring, hints, etc. Course content creators will gain access to easy-to-use authoring tools that help to improve content quality, support smarter workflows, and improve productivity.
It also has actionable insights that help in quick decision-making, improve learner outcomes, etc. It is also compatible with multiple platforms that make the learning experience more interactive through feature-rich, embeddable interactives.
Typeform enables educators to create friendly forms that they can use for assessing their students. It has three kinds of APIs- Create, Responses, and Webhooks that provide seamless integration for websites or apps and a high level of customization. With Typeform, you can easily create, update, delete, and customize type forms.
It is ideal for assessing the language and comprehension skills of students. One question appears at a time. It enables the students to write more thoughtful answers. With their APIs and developer tools, you can easily change themes and add new images to your account. You can even use the Hidden fields to retrieve responses on demand and customize forms.
With this API educators and business professionals can easily create customizable quizzes and exams. It also enables automated grading processes to make the student assessment task easier for faculty members. It also has features that prevent online exam cheating, such as setting time limits for answering each question, randomized questions, private links to avoid unauthorized access, etc.
It allows users to register new users in the classroom, track the progress of every student and enable classroom user authentication. API allows users to capture learners’ data for a database of websites. Educators can upload any documents including videos that can be referred to before taking the scored quiz students.
The API you select for your institution should have all the characteristics that make it fit for integration. Some of these characteristics are modification timestamps, paging, sorting, JSON support, authorization via OAuth, and good documentation. Let us go through all of these aspects one by one to understand better:
You should be able to search datasets by a certain criterion (significantly date) in a good API. It becomes convenient when you can easily access all the changes (updated or deleted information) since the last synchronization.
The easiest way to fetch this data is to set filters of the time limit and ask for the changes within that period. So you can specify a date as a reference, and send a request for data that has been coming in since this date. So it is crucial that a good API provides timestamps and allows searching by criteria.
If you set particular criteria and the API overloads you with all the data that fits that specification at once, you will never be able to find the exact data you are looking for. A good API will always limit the amount of data that can be received in one go. It will also set the frequency of requests for data. It will help you efficiently deal with the data, page by page. Paging is a useful feature when dealing with large amounts of data.
A good API along with paging should also allow the sorting of data. It is because even if you have already received the data from a particular page if the API cannot sort the data according to the time of modification you will receive the same set of data twice.
So for instance, if you only order the data after May 2020 and only the first page of it, a good API should be able to sort all the pages and timestamp them to avoid confusion.
REST APIs are stateless. So if you need to indulge in a lot of back-and-forths messaging, a REST API is considered the best option. For instance, if your upload is interrupted due to connectivity issues, you can easily retry the process with REST APIs. SOAP makes this possible too but with much more effort.
REST APIs also offer higher compatibility with the web and are lightweight as they use simple URIs for communication. REST APIs also support multiple formats like TXT, JSON, CSV, and XML. So as a developer, you will have a lot of choices, and you can go for the one that fits your purpose.
OAuth provides better stability and usability for the application users/developers than any other method. So this is undoubtedly one of the criteria of a good API. The OAuth authorization is also considerably faster.
You only need to click on a button confirming the access grant. Any other method of the authorization will hamper the user experience. However, though OAuth is great for authorization, it might not be the safest option for authentication.
Though this is the last one on the list, good, extensive documentation is by default a crucial feature of a good API. There are several well-designed APIs that are poorly documented. It is not enough to describe the API’s methods, functions, endpoints, and possible response options.
Great API documentation must always be written in a way that the client or the user who has zero knowledge about the API can comprehend it. Solid documentation in an API reduces the project implementation time and cost involvement.
Choosing the correct API is a massive process. You need to consider several factors, evaluate your options, and finally reach a decision. Reach out to the respective vendors to get more information on their products and services.