DeSILA (Designing and Sharing Inquiry-based Learning Activities)

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Welcome to the DeSILA project.

DeSILA was an evaluation research project funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) as part of its Design for Learning programme. The project explored the use of an e-learning tool called LAMS (Learning Activity Management System) for inquiry-based learning in higher education. DeSILA was an 18-month project, carried out between May 2006 and October 2007.

DeSILA was based at the University of Sheffield, led by CILASS, the Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences, in partnership with the University´s Learning Development and Media Unit (LDMU). CILASS was a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

LAMS is an easy-to-use tool that is designed to support collaborative, `activity-centred´ learning. At Macquarie University, Australia (where LAMS is being developed) and in the UK, early research has indicated that LAMS is effective in engaging students with participatory learning activities that encourage them to take control of their learning and build knowledge together through group-work and interactions with digital resources.

DeSILA worked with academic staff who trialled LAMS in their teaching during the academic session 2006-7 and helped explore its value for inquiry-based learning at the University of Sheffield and beyond. Because of the particular focus of CILASS on teaching and learning in the Arts, Social Sciences and Law, the project was especially keen to encourage the participation of staff in those Faculties. However, staff from other disciplines, who are also using inquiry-based learning in their teaching, are also included in the project.

The final project report is now available - please see 'Downloads' on the right for the full report in .pdf format.

LAMS Screenshot