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JISC publishes the final report of the LAMS Practitioner Trial

Christina Smart
Last modified 13 Jun, 2005
Published 13 Jun, 2005
The report finds that the system can provide benefits in terms of teacher reflection and learner motivation in certain situations.

JISC funded a practitioner trial of the LAMS (Learning Activity Management System) with 40 practitioners from HE, FE and ACL (Adult and Community Learning) between July 2004 and March 2005. The evaluation team focused on the question: ‘Does the use of a learning design tool such as LAMS support effective practice in designing for learning?’, and used a combination of methods to gather data, including questionnaires, feedback on the EPED-LAMS mailing list, as well as observations of LAMS in use.

In relation to this question the study found (Executive Summary):
i) LAMS is capable of supporting range of pedagogical approaches, in that designers can select those activities that match their preferred style……

ii) LAMS appears neither to have compromised learning outcomes in comparison with the existing learning environment nor to have resulted in dramatic improvements in achievement. However, using LAMS to raise the level of learning outcomes was not a prime consideration for practitioners. Rather, they perceived its benefits to lie in increasing learner’s motivation and in encouraging participation by more reticent students.

Feedback obtained directly or indirectly from learners suggests that some appreciated the independence and freedom to work at their own pace, while others did not like the linearity of LAMS sequences or wanted more direct feedback on their progress.

iii) Several participants engaged in some form of reflective activity either while designing a LAMS sequence or afterwards….

Some participants encountered technical problems that hindered their use of the system including some usability issues, location of the LAMS server and institutional specific problems.

The report authors, Dr Liz Masterman and Dr Stuart Lee conclude that (p 41):
‘We can position LAMS as a tool which practitioners can profitably add to the repertoire already at their disposal – promoting motivation and participation in some circumstances and with some groups of learners.’

In terms of the more widespread use of LAMS the authors conclude (p41):
‘Whether this potential will be realised on a wider scale depends in large part on the commitment of higher authorities to support and promote the use of LAMS. This trial has, we believe, persuasively demonstrated that teachers are committed to making LAMS work for the benefit of themselves and their students.’

A pdf version of the full report is available for download

 

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