What is LAMS?
LAMS, Learning Activity Management System, is a new tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities.
It provides an intuitive visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities. These activities can include individual tasks, small group work and whole class resource based or collaborative activities. LAMS is particularly suitable for combining traditional classroom work with online activities. The innovative feature of the web-based tool is that it moves away from the prevailing emphasis on delivering content and shifts the emphasis to the process of learning. LAMS has extended the range of tools in learning design and facilitates the manner in which activities can be sequenced into coherent teaching and learning interactions. Its 'drag and drop' interface makes it very easy for tutors to use, as well as facilitating the sharing and re-using of learning sequences.
LAMS was made available as Open Source Software in 2005 so that its code can be used by anyone in the education community. A new version of LAMS (1.1) offering enhanced functionality to practitioners and a refigured architecture for open-source integrations and tool development will be released in 2006.
The LAMS Review
The Final Review Report has been published on Becta's site through their research channel and can be linked to and read here. This report details a profile of LAMS use over the pilot period, objectives and achievements at institutional and individual level, an examination of classroom pedagogy teaching with LAMS, the pupil view of LAMS and case studies of LAMS sessions observed by the review team.
Between November 2004 and August 2005 a research team from CRIPSAT was commissioned by the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), in partnership with the Specialist Schools and Academies Trust (SSAT) to review and examine the achievements and innovative pedagogies arising from practitioners' use of LAMS in SSAT schools piloting the software. CRIPSAT, Becta and the SSAT further worked in partnership to help support schools participating in the pilot through a range of activities including running LAMS practitioner workshops, supporting a LAMS mailing list and disseminating LAMS information and practical advice during review visits. The group worked closely with teachers, building on the expertise that has already been established and to learn as much as possible about the use of the system in SSAT schools.
Becta has further commissioned CRIPSAT to review the extent to which LAMS is being used this academic year (2005-06) following the end of the official pilot period. Pilot servers are being kept open by the SSAT for the original pilot schools and the review aims to catch-up with practitioners who are developing their teaching practice with LAMS in the light of this opportunity. This work will help inform the direction of any possible future LAMS research.