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Learning Layers – What kind of transition phase are we going through in our fieldwork (Part 1: Transitions on many fronts)

August 25th, 2013 by Pekka Kamarainen

Quite some time has passed since my latest blog postings on the Learning Layers (LL)  project. This doesn’t mean that the project would have gone quiet or that there would not have been anything interesting going on in the fieldwork. On the contrary – there were a lot of activities going on before the holiday break and the same has been the case after the holiday break. Thus, we (from the ITB team) have had to put a lot of effort to get the events and the activities and events documented with internal notes and reports. At the same time our Pontydysgu colleagues have been busy with development work and with documenting their work processes. (See the recent blog postings on Rapid Turbine and Reflect by Graham Attwell and his colleagues on the Wales-Wide-Web.)

Looking back at the my earlier postings from May and June I see a gradual transition in the way that we have worked. In our workshops and joint meetings with apprentices, company representatives and trainers we were looking for possibilities to launch participative design processes. We were working with storyboards and user journeys, getting insights into critical situations or everyday life innovations in which use of digital media and web can play a role. In the interviews, working meetings and reflection sessions we got feedback on the uses of web tools and applications by professionals in construction sector.  This all has been very valuable for getting a better understanding, how to get participative co-design processes working. (And we are not necessarily saturated with such material yet.)

However, from a certain point on our work started to have other characteristics. The collaboration of ITB, Pontydysgu and Bau ABC started to focus more closely on using digital media and web resources in selected working and learning projects. This was the step forward from the overarching design idea “Sharing Turbine”  – digitalisation of the White Folder (see the earlier blog of Graham) and the related training/learning processes. Whilst this overarching perspective needs to be kept on the agenda, it was necessary to start more focused pilot activities on the ground. For this purpose a particular area of construction work was chosen, – building pipelines for water supply and sewage (Rohrleitungsbau). This initiative was named “Rapid Turbine” to emphasise that it is a quicker pioneering exercise within the larger agenda.

With the following blog postings I try to give some insights into our recent fieldwork activities during the period that we have been working with the Rapid Turbine initiative and with complementary activities. My own impression is that we have been going through a transition from preparatory measures towards a real participative co-design process. Indications of such transition can be seen in our workshops with apprentices and trainers, in the design work itself and in related preparation of training models and in the rethinking of our research agendas in the LL project.

I think this is enough for an opening statement. There are a lot of issues to take up in the forthcoming postings.

To be continued …

Acknowledgements. This work is supported by the European Commission under the FP7 project LAYERS (no. 318209),


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