James Dalziel, of the LAMS Foundation, is leading a project that I think is the “next big thing” in e-classroom technology. Basically, LAMS is a tool that describes not content, or people, or processes, but the interactions between all of them that make up the learning experience. Unlike a traditional content management system like Moodle, or a collaboration system or chat system or school information system like SchoolTool, the LAMS goal is to construct the “workflows” that make up a learning module.
So with LAMS, you design a “digital classroom experience” to convey a certain skill or knowledge. You find and link to content (that could come from Moodle, or the web generally, or just be embedded in the LAMS object). You figure out whether you want the learners to read, or discuss, or write essays, or vote, or have forums-style discussions, etc. And you sequence all of that and set it up that you can track the work done by each participant in each stage of the process.
Best of all, these LAMS objects are content in their own right, can be published under open content licences, and shared and improved with open-source style processes so that over time we can create a body of learning experiences that is interlinked and ever-improving. I think these general principles will serve us very well in this first stage of the TSF analytical skills development initiative.
So I just want to say a big thank you to James and the LAMS team for helping to invent something entirely new and very special. I’m sure there will be other, similar frameworks, but it takes a remarkable bunch of people to envision and build something different. Well done.