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Learning Layers at ECER’14 – Part 3: The German-Dutch workshop on Interactive Research

September 9th, 2014 by Pekka Kamarainen

In my previous posts on the contributions of the Learning Layers (LL) project to the ECER’14 conference in Porto, Portugal,  I have reported on the Opening Colloquium of the VETNET network and on the LL symposium “Construction 2.0”. This third post will give insights into the joint German-Dutch research workshop on the theme “Interactive Innovation Research in VET and Working Life: Lessons from Dutch and European Projects”.

The background of this workshop was a similar session in the ECER’13 in Istanbul in which three Dutch research groups presented parallel interactive research projects and experiences with boundary-crossing practices in educational innovation projects. This triggered the initiative to prepare a similar session between a merged Dutch research group and the LL research team of ITB. We agreed to present an update on one of the earlier Dutch project and a new project. From the German side we presented the LL development projects “Learning Toolbox” and “Captus – the Learning Exhibition”.

In the workshop session we started with a joint Power Point, presented by Aimée Hoeve (HAN University of Applied Sciences). She gave insights into the key concept “Interactive research” by Per-Erik Ellström (VETNET keynote speaker at ECER’08) and into the framework of Akkerman and Baker for analysing boundary-crossing practicies in innovation practices. Based on these conceptual impulses the Dutch colleagues had developed a poster format to present complex interactive projects with focus on the following points:

  • Brief description of the innovation context;
  • Characterisation of the interrelations between the activity systems ‘Research’ and ‘Practice’;
  • Characterisation of boundary-crossing practices in the project work;
  • Reflection on lessons learned.

After the brief introduction Aimée and Loek Nieuwenhuis (also from HAN) presented the two Dutch project cases:

1. The Hybrid Learning Environment project that was carried out in two sectors Catering and Construction, see

2. The Better Learning in Practice (BLIP) project that is being carried out in several vocational schools, see

In a second round of discussions I and Joanna Burchert presented the two LL project cases from Germany:

3. The LL development project Learning Toolbox carried out in the training centre Bau-ABC, see

4. The LL development project Captus carried out in with the Network for Ecological Construction work, see

In this context it is not appropriate to try to go into more detailed discussion. (We have jointly written an article that will be published in a short while.) However, we are pleased to report that this workshop format – even in the lecture theatre -shaped room – served the purpose of bringing the audience into active interaction with us. Also, via this mode of communication we got a better understanding of each others’ projects and agreed to continue this kind of cross-project dialogue and knowledge sharing. As the next milestone we agreed to organise a joint contact workshop with more detailed information on each others’ projects. We also agreed to invite a newer Norwegian project to this cooperation.

More blogs to come …



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