The UK government has launched a £1.9 million digital e-learning scheme to develop next generation learning systems for UK schools.

Project Silver is being led by an association between Bridgeman Education, The Open University's Knowledge Media Institute and Lexara, aiming to deliver next-generation Web 2.0 interactive learning technologies to schools and other industries.

The goal is to set up systems in order that teachers and trainers can collect, organise, experiment and interact with multimedia assets.

For example, a history teacher can assemble multimedia assets related to changing perspectives on the right to vote since the nineteenth century. This will allow users to create different learning routes through the resources, understand interdependencies between historical events and create and test hypotheses regarding the long term impact of particular events or people.

Part-funded by the Technology Strategy Board, chief executive David Evans said: "The UK is well known for its cutting edge science, technology and innovation. We are working with businesses to develop the marketable products we'll need in the future. And we are keen to focus on fast growing areas such as the services sector and the creative industries. That's why we're supporting this project, which aims to deliver a new approach to the use of multimedia assets in schools, further and higher education and in the workplace."

Lady Bridgeman of the Bridgeman Art Library observes: "We all know that our brains are most receptive to learning when an idea is brought to life - not just through written words but through images and sounds, and when we are encouraged to interact with a subject."

The core software will be independent of any specific subject domain and will offer ‘preloaded’ content relating to learning outcomes set out in the National Curriculum.

The project will also explore new ways of delivering and visualising the knowledge content on a wide variety of devices, including whiteboards and mobile devices.