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Learning Layers – How can we take our initial design ideas further? (Part 1)

March 8th, 2013 by Pekka Kamarainen

Earlier this week the Learning Layers (LL) project was assembled to its first Design Conference (DC)  in Helsinki, hosted by the LL team of Aalto University at Arabia Factory. The event was organised as a “creative space” (or – if you allow me the expression: creative spaceship) to work out initial design ideas to be taken further by design teams that will start their work in the coming period. Some of the design ideas had a specific local flavour, whilst others can be seen as more transversal. The challenge for the project is now: How to take these ideas further and make them work “on the  ground”?

The initial design ideas will soon be presented in detail on the LL wiki. Therefore, it is not worthwhile to recapitulate them here. I would rather raise the question: What can we learn from the whole set of design ideas and from the process of developing them in the parallel working groups at the DC? Below some preliminary observations and remarks on the design ideas as they were presented by the respective working groups:

 a) “Learning funnel – Making sense of bits and pieces”

This working group focused on the process of preparing an e-portfolio for health professionals to collect evidence of their learning and professional development. The driving force is the fact that these professional have to go through a regular revalidation to be authorised to continue in their profession. From this perspective the group simulated the present pattern of the professionals to file experiences and useful bits of information to boxes. Then, with the help of the prepared storyboard, the process of making use of such information (filed digitally) was reconstructed. Much emphasis was given on the ideas of “protected learning time” and for the phase of “sensemaking” in order to structure the bits and pieces as evidence within different learning paths. This all was happening with a focus on health care but every now and then the relevance for construction sector was discussed (e.g. in terms of  “Erfahrungssammler” for SMEs and their trade guilds).

b) “Captus – capturing knowledge and experience”

This team took as its reference point the plan of the Network for sustainable construction work (NNB) to prepare a “learning exhibition”. The working group drafted frameworks for the mapping the knowledge to be brought together by such approach. In addition, the group discussed specific ideas, how to use new media for capturing the essentials of practitioners’ experience to be presented. As an extension to the topics of the previous group, this group raised the issue, how to overcome cultural barriers and reservations regarding the use of new media.

c) “The sharing turbine – the learning cycles across training and workplace learning”

This team took as its reference point the idea of Bau ABC to develop specific “open learning centre” or “self-learning space” to support the domain-specific training and professional development with support for using multimedia. The group developed s contextual map, how the training centre could serve as “turbine” for learning and knowledge sharing in several cycles (including initial and continuind training as well as personalised learning). Here it is also worthwhile that the group discussed different kinds of learning curves and the implications for scaffolding.

d) “Pandora – the living local guidelines”

The fourth working group discussed the need to complement the nation-wide guidelines of the National Health Service (NHS) with “living local guidelines”. The working group had a similar exercise as the previous one and it raised several questions, how its approach to “local guidelines” could be relevant for the construction sector.

I think this is enough for the moment. (I probably need to make some amendments after all the results of the working groups are presented on the wiki.) However, I hope that this is helpful for the further work. In my next post I try to present some thoughts, how the preliminary ideas can be “grounded” and adjusted to our working agendas on our home grounds (in the case of the ITB in North Germany and in the cooperation with our application partners).

To be continued …

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

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