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Getting Started with the Items API

This guide describes the simplest way to embed an assessment into your application using Learnosity's Items API.

We'll set up a simple example page that demonstrates a standalone assessment activity, then look at the code in detail.

Time to complete: 10 minutes.

  • Basic PHP, JavaScript and HTML knowledge.
  • A PHP-enabled web server, installed on your local machine. (To set this up, follow our environment setup guide.)

Note: this quick start's server side code is written in PHP, but you can access this same tutorial for other languages; Python, Node.js, ASP.net, Java and Ruby.

 

If you haven’t done so already, download the Learnosity quick start examples using the link below, unzip them and configure your web server to use quickstart-examples-php/www as its document root directory. We'll assume that your web server is available at http://localhost:8000.

Download Quickstart Examples, or visit our PHP GitHub repository for other options such as "git clone", or installation via Composer.

The quick start example package includes:

  • The Learnosity Software Development Kit (LearnositySDK).
  • The quick start example code files.

Note: There are some additional configuration steps in our README guide, follow the instructions there relating to your installation method.

Once set up, you can load the examples index page at http://localhost:8000/index.html.

Now view the standalone assessment example at http://localhost:8000/assessment/standalone-assessment.php (or select the Standalone assessment example from the index page).

This page is a basic example of an assessment delivered by Learnosity's embeddable assessment player. You can answer the questions in this demo assessment to experience the types of Questions that can be provided.

StandaloneAssessment.png
 

How it works

Let's walk through the code for this standalone assessment example. The source file is included under the quickstart folder, in this location:

.../learnosity-sdk-php/docs/quickstart/assessment/standalone-assessment.php
The first section of code is PHP and is executed server-side. It constructs a set of configuration options for Items API, and securely signs them using the consumer key. The second section is HTML and JavaScript and is executed client-side, once the page is loaded in the browser. It renders and runs the assessment functionality.

 

We start by including some LearnositySDK helpers - they'll make it easy to generate and sign the config options, and unique user and session IDs.

<?php
    require_once __DIR__ . '/../../../../bootstrap.php';
    use LearnositySdk\Request\Init;
    use LearnositySdk\Utils\Uuid;
    $user_id = Uuid::generate();
    $session_id = Uuid::generate();

Now we'll declare the configuration options for Items API. These specify which assessment content should be rendered, how it should be displayed, which user is taking this assessment and how their responses should be stored.

    $request = [
        'user_id'        => $user_id,
        'activity_template_id' => 'quickstart_examples_activity_template_001',
        'session_id'     => $session_id,
        'activity_id'    => 'quickstart_examples_activity_001'
        'rendering_type' => 'assess',
        'type'           => 'submit_practice',
        'name'           => 'Items API Quickstart',
    ];
  • user_id: unique student identifier. Note: we never send or save student's names or other personally identifiable information in these requests. The unique identifier should be used to look up the entry in a database of students accessible within your system only. Learn more.
  • activity_template_id: reference of the Activity to retrieve from the Item bank. The Activity defines which Items will be served in this assessment.
  • session_id: uniquely identifies this specific assessment attempt for save/resume, data retrieval and reporting purposes. Here, we're using the Uuid helper to auto-generate a unique session id.
  • activity_id: a string you define, used solely for analytics to allow you run reporting and compare results of users submitting the same assessment.
  • rendering_type: selects a rendering mode, assess mode is a "standalone" mode (loading a complete assessment player for navigation, as opposed to inline for embedding without).
  • type: selects the context for the student response storage. submit_practice mode means the student responses will be stored in the Learnosity cloud, allowing for grading and review.
  • name: human-friendly display name to be shown in reporting, via Reports API and Data API.

Note: you can submit the configuration options either as a PHP array as shown above, or a JSON string.

Next, we declare the Learnosity consumer credentials we'll use to authorize this request. The consumer key and consumer secret in this example are for Learnosity's public "demos" account. Once Learnosity provides your own consumer credentials, your Item bank and assessment data will be tied to your own consumer key and secret.

    $consumerKey = 'yis0TYCu7U9V4o7M';
    $consumerSecret = '74c5fd430cf1242a527f6223aebd42d30464be22';

(of course, you should never normally check passwords into version control)

Here, we construct security settings that ensure the report is initialized on the intended domain. The value provided to the domain property must match the domain from which the file is actually served.

    $security = [
        'domain'       => $_SERVER['SERVER_NAME'],
        'consumer_key' => $consumerKey
    ];

Now we call LearnositySDK's Init() helper to construct our Items API configuration parameters, and sign them securely with the $security and $consumerSecret parameters. $init->generate() returns us a JSON blob of signed configuration parameters.

    $init = new Init(
        'items',
        $security,
        $consumerSecret,
        $request);
    $initOptions = $init->generate();
?>

We've got our set of signed configuration parameters, so now we can set up our page content for output. The page can be as simple or as complex as needed, using your own HTML, JavaScript and framework of choice to render the desired product experience.

This example uses plain HTML on a PHP page for simplicity. The following example HTML can be found at the bottom of the standalone-assessment.php file.

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
    <head><link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="../css/style.css"></head>
    <body>
        <h1>Standalone Assessment Example</h1>
        <div id="learnosity_assess"></div>
        <script src="https://items.learnosity.com/?v2022.1.LTS"></script>
        <script>
            var itemsApp = LearnosityItems.init(
                <?php echo $initOptions; ?>
            );
        </script>
    </body>
</html>

The important parts to be aware of in this HTML are:

  • A div with id="learnosity_assess". This is where the Learnosity assessment player will be rendered to deliver the assessment.
  • The <script src="https://items.learnosity.com/?v2022.1.LTS"></script> tag, which includes Learnosity's Items API on the page and makes the global LearnosityItems object available. The version specified as v2022.1.LTS will retrieve that specific Long Term Support (LTS) version. In production, you should always pin to a specific LTS version to ensure version compatibility.
  • The call to LearnosityItems.init(), which initiates Items API to inject the assessment player into the page.
  • PHP echo dynamically sends the contents of our signed JSON blob of $initOptions to JavaScript, so it can be passed to init().

The call to init() returns an instance of the ItemsApp, which we can use to programmatically drive the assessment using its methods.

This marks the end of the quick start guide. From here, try modifying the example files yourself, you are welcome to use this code as a basis for your own projects.

Take a look at some more in-depth options and tutorials on using Learnosity assessment functionality below.

 

Next steps: additional documentation

SDK reference

See a more detailed breakdown of all the SDK features and examples of how to use more advanced or specialised features on the SDK reference page

Additional quick start guides

There are more quick start guides, going beyond the initial quick start topic of loading an assessment, these further tutorials show how to set up authoring and analytics:

Learnosity demos repository

On our demo site, browse through many examples of Learnosity API integration. You can also download the entire demo site source code, the code for any single demo, or browse the codebase directly on GitHub.

Learnosity reference documentation

See the full documentation for Learnosity API init options, methods and events on the Learnosity reference site.

Technical use-cases documentation

Find guidance on how to select a development pattern and arrange the architecture of your application with Learnosity, in the Technical Use-Cases Overview.

Deciding what to build or integrate

Get help deciding what application functionality to build yourself, or integrate off-the-shelf with the Learnosity "Golden Path" documentation.

Key Learnosity concepts

Want more general information about how apps on Learnosity actually work? Take a look at our Key Learnosity Concepts page.

Glossary

Need an explanation for the unique Learnosity meanings for Item, Activity and Item bank? See our Glossary of Learnosity-specific terms.

License

The Learnosity PHP SDK is licensed under an Apache 2.0 license. Read more.

Usage tracking

Our SDKs include code to track the following information by adding it to the request being signed:

  • SDK version
  • SDK language
  • SDK language version
  • Host platform (OS)
  • Platform version

We use this data to enable better support and feature planning.

Further reading

Thanks for reading to the end! Find more information about developing an app with Learnosity on our documentation sites:

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