Archive for the ‘workinglearning’ Category

Learning Layers – Learning lessons from prior projects – part 1

November 29th, 2012 by Pekka Kamarainen

At the moment several contributors to Learning Layers project (from Pontydysgu, ITB, CIMNE, Bau ABC and Agentur) are participating in Online Educa Berlin. Pontydysgu will keep us updated on their contributions via live radio program (Sounds of the Bazaar),  podcasts and via Graham’s blogs on Wales-Wide Web.

While the travel team is busy over there, the home team is doing some stock-taking on lessons to be learned from prior projects. As a first contribution I have collected some links to video interviews that I produced as the ITB partner for another European project (Coop-PBL in VET).  As you see from the list below, the interview partners (from Pontydysgu and ITB) discussed issues that are relevant for the Learning Layers project as well:

  • The interviews with Graham Attwell (four videos) focused on the development of European projects on ICT, Web and learning (in SMEs).
  • The interviews with Jenny Hughes (two videos) focused on the experiences of two TACCLE projects in supporting teachers to create and share user-generated web contents.
  • The interviews with Joanna Burchert and Sven Schulte (three videos in English, parallel versions in German) focused on the experiences with the German project expertAzubi that developed an interactive online platform for apprentices, workplace trainers and vocational teachers in the Bremen region.
  • The interviews with Ludger Deitmer (four videos in English) focused on regional cooperation between vocational education providers, partner enterprises and different innovation programs since the early 1990s to present day.

It is not our intention to dwell in the past. But we do understand ourselves as part of a living tradition of innovation research and part of that ‘living’ is the ability to look back how certain ideas and cooperation patterns have developed. It is interesting to see new issues coming up in Graham’s and Ludger’s overviews. Moreover, it is interesting to see, how dynamic cooperation culture has developed in rather short-lived projects (as Jenny and Joanna & Sven tell in their reports of recent projects).

The story goes on …

Acknowledgements. This work is supported by the European Commission under the FP7 project LAYERS (no. 318209), http://www.learning-layers.eu.

Learning Layers – the role of competence centres as multipliers of innovative practice

November 22nd, 2012 by Pekka Kamarainen

Yesterday I wrote two blog articles based on the videos that the ITB team and the partners in Leeds produced at an early stage of the Learning Layers project. Now the project has officially started and we are going through several meetings, flashmeetings and skype meetings. In this phase we are learning more of each other and – as a consequence – we have to broaden our picture of the users, their expectations and their possibilities to contribute to the project.

So far my first blog article has discussed individual users (medical doctors in Leeds and craftsmen in electric installations in Bremen) as the starting point. My second article shifted the emphasis from individual users (and their workplaces) to their professional communities or networks and to enrichment of shared knowledge.

With this article I want to shift the role to “competence centres” (in German Kompetenzzentrum) and to their role as multipliers of innovative practice. Here I refer to the ideas that have been presented by Melanie Campbell who represents Bau ABC (one of the application partners of the LL project). I am aware that Melanie is preparing a more elaborate presentation for the Online Educa Berlin but I want to draw attention to some ideas already at this stage.

Firstly on the role of Bau ABC in the construction sector. It is easy to get a false impression that it would only be a more advanced vocational school or college (for apprectices) or a training centre (for adult learners on short courses). In this respect the range  of training activities of Bau ABC is wider and it caters for different target groups. In the initial vocational education it serves as an inter-enterprise training interface (Überbetriebliche Ausbildungsstätte). In the continuing vocational training it serves as a provider for different competence-giving and certified programmes. For this purpose it has huge training sites in which advanced training programmes (for various occupations) can be implemented in circumstances that are similar to real construction sites (instead of retreating to mere classroom simulations). And altogether, it serves as a nodal point for continuing professional development and as promoter for knowledge transfer from training contexts to everyday life practice.

For the Learning Layers project it is interesting to note what kinds of target groups can be approached via such competence centre and what kinds of working, learning and transfer processes they can bring into picture. (Here I am referring to the ideas that Melanie and other discussed freely in our skype meeting, we need to discuss this further.)

  • Meister (Masters of craft) who are in charge of training in special occupational areas (e.g. die Brunnenbauer). Here we can assume that there are no markets for highly commercialised learning materials. Therfore,  training and learning processes have to rely to a major extent on  work process knowledge gained through work experience. How can this kind of knowledge best be mobilised and shared?
  • Apprentices (Auszubildende) that select special areas of construction work tend to be highly interested in their occupation and try to adopt the role of explorers (asking for interpretation why things are done this way and putting the ‘normal practice’ in question). During their apprenticeship they attend in regular cycles Bau ABC and can be addressed at different phases of their learning careers.
  • Skilled workers in Meister training programmes (or in other similar programme) are also going through transition in their career and are acquiring new competences. During their training they are confronted with challenges, how to organise group work and mutually linked work processes. Also they attend Bau ABC in different phases of their training.
  • Pioneers in using ICT, Web and new media – here we are talking of individual trainers and guest instructors in different occupational areas. In the beginning phase of the project it became clear that there are already several pilot initiatives that have been tried or implemented in small scale. However, there is neither an overarching coordination nor a technical infrastructure (system architecture) that would enable good synergy across different initiatives. Therefore, inquiries on users’ needs or expectations should also take into account such developments.

I stop my list here. As I already said, Melanie Campbell will give more precise information and insights to these issues in the coming days (in particular via her contribution to Online Educa Berlin). Yet, I considered it appropriate to discuss the potential role of Bau ABC as a major regional competence centre as multiplier of innovative practices. As we have discussed it, we see different possibilities to go further but we have to start from the beginning steps.

This was an addendum to the issue “user stories”. But we are not through. The story goes on …

 

Learning Layers – Remarks on the role of professional networks (communities) of users

November 21st, 2012 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous post I presented in a nutshell two ‘user stories’ that were produced as videos to support the proposal for the project “Learning Layers”. The partners from Leeds recorded a video in which John Sandars reflects his work as medical doctor (General Practitioner) and how he could benefit of the web support provided by the project. The ITB team from Bremen produced several videos in which the head of the trade guild for electric installation (Elektroinnung) Mr Siever presented similar views, how his technicians could benefit of the project in making their ‘work process knowledge’ transparent and shared across the company.

At this point it is worthwhile to raise the question, are we only talking of individual users (GPs) or individual companies as target groups and potential beneficiaries. Here it is worthwhile to note that neither John from Leeds nor Mr Siever from Bremen were speaking only for themselves. They both had a view on their professional communities (or networks) and on more general patterns for knowledge sharing.

Firstly, we know that in the area of Leeds there are active networks of GPs who have already been developing cooperation and knowledge sharing with each other and that public health authorities have supported this development. Also, we know that the GP practices have the obligation to revalidate themselves and the doctors have to provide evidence of their professional development. In this context the perspective of making the work process knowledge of doctors transparent across the community helps all of them to fulfill their obligations and to benefit from each others’ observations and findings. Here, it is worthwhile to note that the GPs are well aware of thew confidentiality issues and do not want to share sensitive details without anonymising the cases.

Secondly, we know that the trade companies in electric installations are competitors to each other. Yet, Mr Siever emphasised that most problems and problem-solving strategies to be treated by the ‘living system’ should be treated as a common possibility for the trade guild to promote the competences of the member companies and their employees. Altogether, the guild has an interest to raise the profile of the occupational field (both regarding client enterprises and young people who may be interested to choose the trade).

Here again, interesting parallelities could be seen between the two occupational fields and the respective professional communities. However, this is not yet the whole picture of the ‘user stories’. On the contrary, these were the starting points. Already at this stage the first meetings and skype conferences have brought forward more issues and ideas. Thus, the story goes on …

Learning Layers – Insights into the views of (individual) users

November 21st, 2012 by Pekka Kamarainen

Graham Attwell has already reported of the kick-off meeting of the EU FP7 project “Learning layers” in his blog article “The Learning Layers project scales up informal learning at the workplace” on the Wales-Wide web.  Graham gave an overview on the key issues and presented several views of partners with different roles in the project.

My intention is to continue the discussion on the Learning Layers project with further insights into users’ interests and expectations. ITB (Institut Technik & Bildung) is involved in this project as a research partner with focus on promoting learning in organisational contexts. In particular ITB has the task to facilitate cooperation with partner enterprises in construction industry and related trades. At the same time ITB has a keen interest to study work process -oriented learning within the networks and communities of medical doctors (General Practitioners – GP).

During the preparation of the proposal the ITB team and the partners from Leeds produced quick video interviews to illustrate potential users’ needs, ideas and expectations regarding the work of the project and possible benefits. Here I would like to draw attention to the parallities between the users’ statements.

In the video produced in Leeds John Sandars presented a user’s story from the GP point of view. He referred to the complex prolems he has encountered in his work as GP with patients that each have a unique set of health problems. For GP it is vital to make quick but well-informed diagnoses. For this purpose it is of little help to overload the GPs with access to massive documents or guidelines. Instead, GPs are more interested in being able to share their notes on individual cases and get feedback of their fellow colleagues (taking into account the confidentiality and the need to anonymise the data). In this way the Learning Layers project is expected to provide facilities to store, share and enrich the work process knowledge that is generated by GPs in their work processes. Moreover, regarding the GPs’ obligations to provide evidence of their professional development (for the revalidation processes), the project can provide a cumulative knowledge resource for the individual doctor, for the GP practice and for the network of GPs.

In the video produced by the ITB team the director of an electric installation company and the head of the trade’s guild (Elektroinnung), Mr Siever makes similar points on the needs and expectations to support workplace learning in his trade. He also referred to the work situation of a technician doing repair or maintenance work with very little information of a problem and with little help of standard manuals or massive handbooks. In such situations (when the client is impatiently waiting for solution) the most likely option is phone call to colleague or to the boss (if they happen to be available). Moreover, if the problem is successfully solved, this may be documented by snapshots with mobile phone camera and some notes. Such storage and sharing of work process knowledge is very fragile and hardly leads to knowledge development. Therefore Siever was  in favour of a living system for documenting problems, key information and possible solutions in the way they have been encountered, tested and documented in critical work situations.

To me it has been striking that the videos that have been recorded in different countries, with different languages and with focus on different professions/occupations have raised similar points regarding the problem-relevance and usability of knowledge from the perspective of practitioners. for both kinds of user stories the emphasis is on the ‘living system’ of knowledge resources.

However, these were the opening statements. The story goes on …

Working & Learning back in Picture with the Learning Layers Project

November 16th, 2012 by Pekka Kamarainen

The Working & Learning blog is now actively contributing to the start of the Learning Layers project (EU FP7). In the forthcoming posts there will be insights into the Learning Layers projects and into the tasks we (ITB and other partners) are carrying out to support workplace learning, work processes and professional development with the help of web applications, services and learning technologies.

However, in order to get new insights there is also a need to look back what has been achieved with prior (European and country-specific) knowledge development. So, there is a need to keep lessons from the past in picture while looking for new findings. Let us see what we find while we are working and learning in the new project …

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    News Bites

    Zero Hours Contracts

    Figures from the UK Higher Education Statistics Agency show that in total almost 11,500 people – both academics and support staff – working in universities on a standard basis were on a zero-hours contract in 2017-18, out of a total staff head count of about 430,000, reports the Times Higher Education.  Zero-hours contract means the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours

    Separate figures that only look at the number of people who are employed on “atypical” academic contracts (such as people working on projects) show that 23 per cent of them, or just over 16,000, had a zero-hours contract.


    Resistance decreases over time

    Interesting research on student centered learning and student buy in, as picked up by an article in Inside Higher Ed. A new study published in PLOS ONE, called “Knowing Is Half the Battle: Assessments of Both Student Perception and Performance Are Necessary to Successfully Evaluate Curricular Transformation finds that student resistance to curriculum innovation decreases over time as it becomes the institutional norm, and that students increasingly link active learning to their learning gains over time


    Postgrad pressure

    Research published this year by Vitae and the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and reported by the Guardian highlights the pressure on post graduate students.

    “They might suffer anxiety about whether they deserve their place at university,” says Sally Wilson, who led IES’s contribution to the research. “Postgraduates can feel as though they are in a vacuum. They don’t know how to structure their time. Many felt they didn’t get support from their supervisor.”

    Taught students tend to fare better than researchers – they enjoy more structure and contact, says Sian Duffin, student support manager at Arden University. But she believes anxiety is on the rise. “The pressure to gain distinction grades is immense,” she says. “Fear of failure can lead to perfectionism, anxiety and depression.”


    Teenagers online in the USA

    According to Pew Internet 95% of teenagers in the USA now report they have a smartphone or access to one. These mobile connections are in turn fueling more-persistent online activities: 45% of teens now say they are online on a near-constant basis.

    Roughly half (51%) of 13 to 17 year olds say they use Facebook, notably lower than the shares who use YouTube, Instagram or Snapchat.

    The survey also finds there is no clear consensus among teens about the effect that social media has on the lives of young people today. Minorities of teens describe that effect as mostly positive (31%) or mostly negative (24%), but the largest share (45%) says that effect has been neither positive nor negative.


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

  • Twitter

  • RT @YvetteTaylor0 Sneak preview of illustrated report on student estrangement - coming with me to ⁦@genderanded⁩ conf. @cristinacost#StrathEstrangement pic.twitter.com/vJ9qrkJhTI

    Yesterday from Cristina Costa's Twitter via Twitter for Android

  • Sounds of the Bazaar AudioBoo

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Upcoming Events

      There are no events.
  • Categories