Identifying the Gold Standard of Interoperable Solutions

by | Dec 1, 2017 | News

Recently, I attended the IMS Global Quarterly Meeting & Analytics Summit. As the Senior Product Manager at, it was a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with members of the EdTech community. We were able to share experiences and knowledge about how to leverage and exchange learning data, including patterns and trends, to allow suppliers and institutions to make educated changes in near real-time that will help improve student performance as technology is more deeply integrated in classrooms.  A few months ago, I wrote about the Importance of Interoperability in the Digital Classroom to speak to the interoperability experience for educators, administrators, and students. Now, having learned so much from the summit, I wanted to further define the ever-growing characteristics of interoperable solutions here to better equip all those involved in navigating the path for success.

The Journey to Interoperability

”In education, interoperability is a term that describes the ability of different information technology systems and software applications to communicate, exchange data, and use the information that has been exchanged. For example, if a district’s student information system (SIS) is interoperable with their learning management system (LMS), data is shared in both directions.” Leo Brehm, Learning Evolution Officer.

But, why is this sharing of data so important? By exchanging information in such an eco-system, educators are providing more opportunities to improve student outcomes in order to prepare them for the demands of high school, college, and the workplace.

Heading Toward a True North

The True North Concept is an organizational theory introduced by the Toyota Motor Corporation that encourages continual process improvement and stream-lining as a means of navigating from point A to point B without getting lost.  The idiom suggests your focus be on what should be done, not what can be done. It represents an ideal or a state of perfection that you should be continually striving toward.  It is a journey, not a place.’s True North is to help students excel in a digital world by delivering exceptional Digital Literacy solutions in the easiest, most effective ways our district leaders, educators and students expect to find and use them. Having interoperability is one profound way to represent that ideal.

Interoperable Solutions: The Gold Standard

Chosen for their importance, efficacies, and time-saving features, here are seven characteristics to help you identify an exceptional interoperable solution.

  1. Digital Literacy content can be found, assigned, and used through any learning system utilizing the most applicable and effective methods
  2. All content, regardless of type, is fully usable with one-click—seamless integration
  3. The student learning experience and features available are the same regardless of how the student accesses the content
  4. Institution roles are supported and provide the most appropriate experience to help improve student learning
  5. Scores and grades are automatically transferred from one system to another
  6. Content access, use and learning analytics are trackable and traceable regardless of launch origin
  7. Solutions leverage industry standards as the primary means of interoperability


Interoperability is a progression; the Gold Standard is a moving target. I was reminded of this again at the summit when Tony Hunter, Chief Information Officer of Broward County Schools articulated his hope for the future would be  “…that we are able to focus on the teaching and learning; while we are all so involved in technology, and technology is part of everything we do, at the end of the day, when the classroom door closes, the focus should be on instruction and not the technology and the only way that happens is that the tools themselves are so easy to use and the information that we are providing to the end user is so easy to interpret […] and informs what happens within the classroom. I do believe we can get there….”

We have embarked on an important journey to bring schools and districts tools that are easy to use and help save time. If you’d like to learn more about how can help support your digital literacy efforts, click here.

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